Project Healthy Child

by Cantlen Forni on April 14th, 2015 at 2:35 am

I am a senior at Cardinal Newman High School and with the help of my mentor, Dr. Leslie Jue, I organized a free dental clinic for uninsured children between the ages of 3 and 18 living in Sonoma County. The clinic was held on Sunday, January 25, 2015 in the Race Science Building at the Santa Rosa Junior College. With the help of six dentists, five hygienists, and six volunteers, we provided care for twenty-four children, totalling up to over $10,000 of free dental care given away. The clinic was the main event of my Community Based Service Learning mission, Project Healthy Child. Without the volunteers, my mentor, the Santa Rosa Junior College, and Dr. Ezbon Jen and Pam Rosell for supervising, I would not have been able to meet my goal of having the clinic. Additionally, I greatly appreciate and thank the Henry Schein Cares Foundation for donating a majority of the dental supplies needed to able to treat the children. Thank you everyone so much for all support!! Cantlen Forni Project Healthy Child


by Dinah Mooney on April 7th, 2015 at 4:36 pm

"How to properly brush your teeth!"

“How to properly brush your teeth!”

"Teaching proper dental hygiene"

“Teaching proper dental hygiene”


Waiting to be seen

Waiting to be seen



Dental Clinic

Dental Clinic


Treating Patients

Treating Patients


The first EthiopiaSmile dental mission trip was in the Fall of 2010, and began as a group of friends came around the idea of using dentistry to love the people of Ethiopia. In a country of 80 million people with under 100 trained dentists in the entire country, dental needs are rampant to say the least. Dental prevention and basic oral hygiene are not a part of the national culture. Morbidity and even mortality, directly related to dental infection, is a common occurrence, especially among the millions living in extreme poverty.

This past December, EthiopiaSmile V, consisting of eight dentists, 2 hygienist, and a pediatric doctor were joined by over 30 other non-dental volunteers in traveling to the capital city Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and six hours south to the mountain village of Dube Bute. Partnering with local ministries and churches, we were able to care for those most vulnerable. Just under 1,000 patients were assessed and treated.  In light of the Biblical passage of James 1:27, we focused on caring for orphans, widows, the elderly and those children with obvious dental infection.

Keeping with the mission to love the people of Ethiopia as we felt Jesus would, we had a “buddy system” in place. Non-dental friends partner with a patient and walk them through the various stations as they receive treatment. Holding hands, rubbing their backs and stroking their hair broke down the language barrier and calmed their fears as most of them had never seen a dentist before.

Another unique aspect of our trip is the sterilization process that has been developed. A dear and talented friend reconstructed a large pressure cooker into a fully functional autoclave. We used three, continually running, butane-heated autoclaves to keep sterile instruments available.

Because of the generosity of many friends, families and organizations like the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, we are able to take very necessary dental and medical supplies to serve the needs of the dear people of Ethiopia.

Multiple things impact the lives of those that participate in EthiopiaSmile trips.  The joy that radiates from faces of the patients we treat, in spite of their dire circumstances, is infectious. The team of almost perfect strangers operating together, with a common purpose and goal is inspiring. It’s a beautiful thing for a dentist to step in, graciously care for patients in a less than ideal setting with limited resources to do what he or she knows how to do. It’s just as beautiful seeing an engineer, stay-at-home mom, salesman, grandmother or teenager work outside of their comfort zone as an assistant or patient buddy. All in the spirit of love, being the hands and feet of God to these dear people.

Traveling to Ethiopia has a way of changing you, putting the stresses and cares of this world in perspective, helping break out of the small world we live in to see a larger world full of needs, needs we have been blessed to be able to meet – at least in some small way.

Helping Detroit’s homeless population

by Suzanne Ross on April 1st, 2015 at 4:02 pm

We have a meet-up group that goes to MLK and 3rd street in Detroit, MI and we pass out items to the homeless.  On our most recent trip we were able to pass out hygiene kits to many of our “street peeps”.  The hygiene kits are very often their first request above food or anything.  With the generosity of the Henry Schein Cares foundation we were able to add toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss to our kits.  We rely on the goodness of companies like this to help the less fortunate.  Thank you so much for your donations and additions to our mission!!!

Nicaragua Stony Brook Physician Assistant Program Mission 2015

by Froylan Moreno on March 30th, 2015 at 4:48 pm

Our group was based in Chacraseca, Nicaragua but we ended up serving multiple communities in the area of Leon, Nicaragua. This was due to the fact that the clinic in Chacraseca had recently received help and supplies from another medical mission group, and other clinics were in more desperate need of aid. On Monday we drove about an hour to a small community clinic in the town of Puerto Sandino, where we saw 54 patients and provided medications we possessed or recommended ones we did not have in stock.  Many of the patients had hypertension so new reliable blood pressure cuffs were invaluable in checking BP’s. The clinic was very poorly supplied and it was very valuable having both large adult sizes as well as small adult and pediatric cuff sizes to allow us to obtain accurate blood pressures. Other common problems we came across were upper respiratory infections, where the otoscopes were also invaluable as we encountered many ear infections as well as some cases of strep throat. Many of the patients were diabetics and the physician and PA’s who traveled with us used the ophthalmoscopes to check for diabetic changes occurring in the retina and taught us what we should be looking for. Unfortunately access to medications and health care is very limited in Nicaragua so we were limited in what we were able to do for patients suffering many complications from chronic problems such as diabetes.  We tried our best to educate these patients about their various diseases and what they could do to improve their health. Our second day we traveled to a community church in La Gloria outside of Puerto Sandino where we saw another 50 patients with similar health ailments. On Wednesday we returned to the clinic in Puerto Sandino and saw another 40 patients. On Thursday we traveled even further to another community church in Miramar to provide healthcare to a population of patients who had very limited access to healthcare, where we saw 66 patients, again with ailments similar to previous days such as diabetes, hypertension, URI’s and UTI’s. Many of the patients we saw were malnourished so we provided adult or pediatric multivitamins to most patients we evaluated. On our last day we traveled to another community clinic outside of Leon in La Leona, where we evaluated 78 patients, many of whom were pediatric patients as the clinic was located very close to a local school.  Neither of the health clinics we visited had functioning thermometers so the thermometer you provided was extremely helpful as we were able to accurately determine whether our patients were febrile, as most people felt warm and diaphoretic in the 95-100 degree heat. The clinic we worked out of in Puerto Sandino on Monday and Wednesday was the most poorly supplied, so that is where we donated the medications, otoscope/Opthalmoscope, and other suppliest. On Friday morning we were able to go to a school near the clinic and worked with a local dentist to  teach kids about dental hygiene. They were so excited. A toothbrush makes a huge difference for them and having dental floss and toothpaste was an irreplaceable gift to them. All of the supplies provided were invaluable in providing medical care to communities around Leon, Nicaragua, and will continue to aid health care workers in providing much needed health care to the underserved population of Nicaragua.

College of William & Mary Global Medical Brigades Goes to Honduras

by Maren Leibowitz on March 26th, 2015 at 2:33 pm
From March 8 to March 14, 33 students from the College of William & Mary were accompanied by two doctors and an oral surgeon for a medical brigade in rural Honduras. Over our three clinic days, we were able to treat over 720 patients in the community of Mata de Plátano, Morocelí.  Mata de Plátano is a small village in the mountains of central Honduras.  The road really can’t be considered a road; it’s more of a dirt and rock path.  There were multiple times during the week when our bus couldn’t make it up a hill and we had to hike for a bit.
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Our clinic wasn’t a normal clinic, either.  We set up every day in the village school – each classroom was a station.  The ailments we treated ranged from the common cold to untreated diabetes or hypertension to needing multiple teeth extracted. Most of the time, though, these people were just trying to get medicines like ibuprofen or acetaminophen for joint and muscle pain that they could use now or in a couple months. We also had a gynecologist on our team who provided check-ups and Pap smears to women who opted to see her.  The dental station included fillings as well as extractions.  Our entire team was busy the entire day helping take care of our patients and also running the children’s health education program.  Whenever I needed a little break, I would go over to the children’s charla and help them learn about brushing teeth, eating healthy, and washing their hands.  It is really incredible how happy these kids are to receive something as mundane to us as a toothbrush, and how excited they were to receive fluoride treatments.
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One of the parts of this trip that differed from others is the amount of time we were able to interact with different communities.  We visited two different communities, Buena Vista and Tomatin, at the beginning and end of our week.  Buena Vista is farther along Global Brigades’ Holisitic Model and is currently in the process of completing public health projects in multiple houses in the community.  Tomatin has just started with Global Brigades and is working on building up their community bank.  The idea of microfinance was completely novel to me, but after visiting Tomatin I am firm believer that community banks are an incredible resource for these rural, poor communities.  After capitalizing their bank (which only took 550 USD), the board of the bank in Tomatin was able to give out loans to its community members to help them grow beans and corn and begin to make a living.  The community bank has also enabled them to keep an emergency fund that can be used to get a sick neighbor to the hospital, or extend a loan to a suffering family.  These were people who had so little yet were working so hard to improve the lives of themselves and their neighbors.  It was humbling in the best way.
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Honduras is a beautiful country with even more beautiful people, inside and out.   It was an incredible opportunity to work with and interact with the people of Mata de Plátano to help improve their health.
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