The New York Academy of Dentistry Humanitarian Mission Committee was formed as an ad hoc committee to determine the feasibility of establishing a connection between the Academy and a humanitarian relief agency on the national or international level. The Academy had just become a sponsor of the Donated Dental Services program which allowed us to serve a group in need from our hometown of New York City. The next logical step seemed to be to look farther afield for those in need who would benefit from our services.
What was found was that several Academy fellows were already involved in humanitarian endeavors and it became difficult to just single one out. So we have decided to share with you the organizations supported by Academy fellows and hope that one of them may catch your interest and stimulate you to volunteer for a mission. We will try to feature one of the organizations in greater depth on a monthly basis during next year.
“The object of the Academy shall be to uphold the dignity and honor of the dental profession, exalt its professional and ethical standards…and to encourage membership activity in community service…”
Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO)
Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving the availability and quality of health care in developing countries through the training and education of local health care providers. HVO was incorporated in Washington, DC in 1986.
Several Academy fellows have been involved in HVOs activities around the world. Frank Andolino and Arthur Hazlewood have served on its steering committee. David Gottlieb recently returned from a trip to Vietnam. Opportunities are available in many parts of the world with a focus on Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Academy Contact: Frank Andolino: [email protected]
Somos Amigos Medical Missions operates a medical and dental clinic in a rural area of the Dominican Republic. The organization’s mission is to bring medical and dental care to people living in under-served areas of developing countries. Their ?rst clinic, in Naranjito, Dominican Republic, serves more than 1,000 regular patients and was established in 1997.
All aspects of clinical dentistry are provided in a specially constructed clinic with 6 modern
dental units. Missions are planned for a six day period.
Recently, a collaboration between Somos Amigos and Columbia University College of Dental Medicine has been established and students and a faculty advisor recently returned from their first mission.
Academy contact: Jim Hudson: [email protected]
Mission International Rescue
La Romana Family AIDS Clinic
Fundacion MIR (Mission International Rescue) works to supply the Dominican Republic’s most marginalized people with a variety of life-altering services. Since 1990, it has served the women, youth and children of La Romana and the Eastern region of the Dominican Republic by partnering with and providing funding for social programs. The programs provide a home, medical assistance, education and technical preparation for the people that are most in need in our community.
La Romana Oral Health Initiative:
A collaborative effort between several New York area dental organizations has led to the establishment of yearly oral health outreaches to La Romana in the Dominican Republic. The outreaches have allowed for the provision of care to the 1200 children and families of the schools of Fundacion MIR, children from a nearby orphanage, and the patients from Clincia de Familia in La Romana.
In response to a “needs assessment” research project conducted in 2010 by Dr. Jim Hudson with the help of dental students from the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine and local dental care providers, the service outreaches were established.
With generous support from the New York Academy of Dentistry and in collaboration with Columbia; students from Columbia and residents of their endodontic PG program and residents from New York Presbyterian Hospital / Weill Cornell Medical College oral surgery programs have provided four outreaches to the area.
New York Academy of Dentistry fellows Dr’s Jerry Halpern, Yakir Arteaga, Stacy Spizuoco and Jim Hudson have sought to increase the scope of the program with each subsequent visit. The ultimate goal is to attempt to save teeth and support the children into early adulthood with good oral habits and dental care. From a tooth brushing program for the younger children, fluoride varnish applications performed three times a year, endodontic services, some nutritional modifications and counseling to the use of advanced restorative procedures a difference in the overall oral health and perceptions of the student body is already noticeable.
The ultimate goal is to create a year round sustainable clinic(s) that allow for the provision of the same level of care that would be provided in our offices in collaboration with our Dominican colleagues while providing education and research opportunities for students. The collaboration with Columbia’s College of Dental Medicine is ideal as it is situated in the Washington Heights section of the city whose population is over 70% Dominican. The outreach seeks to provide the dental students with some language and cultural sensitivity that will allow them to better care for the immigrant and local population that they serve in NYC.
NYAD Fellows Drs’ Joyce Johnson and Gabriella Lee have brought to bear their many talents on advancing oral health care with repeat trips. Dr’s. Corey Brick and David Oser , who came as students have continued their participation through residencies and into their own private practices.
If you have interest in participating in the outreaches or if you are able to arrange for donations, especially of digital xray sensors and units please let us know.
Academy contact: Jim Hudson: [email protected]
University of Guyana
School of Dentistry
Opportunities will exit shortly for volunteers to serve in Guyana, South America. They will be required to provide instruction to predoctoral dental students at the only dental school in Guyana, South America, currently in its third year of operation (approximately 15- 20 students total). Volunteers must be willing to serve 1-2 weeks. Housing will be provided. Guyana is the only English speaking country in South America. The climate is tropical and flight time from the USA is approximately 5 hours.
For further information: Interested parties may contact Dr. Arthur Hazlewood at
646-773-4982 or email: [email protected]
Kigali Health Institute
Another developing site is at the Kilgali Health Institute in Rwanda. Because there are less than a handful of dentists in Rwanda, most people have never had oral health care. Many are in distress from toothaches or periodontal disease. With proper training, health care workers will provide this much needed care.
Dr Jim Farer will be working with the Dental Department at KHI to prepare them to receive American volunteers for ongoing training, which includes classes at the Institute and actual clinical practice in the field.
United States of America
The Academy is exploring opportunities to provide volunteer service domestically but outside of the greater New York metropolitan area. If you have volunteered for such service or are very familiar with a well regarded program please contact the Academy.