This past winter, a team of two physician assistants (PAs) and a PA student traveled to Guatemala. We arrived in Guatemala City and then traveled on a four-hour bus ride up and down over speed bumps in small towns, around hairpin turns and then ascended to a small town 5,000 feet above sea level called Santiago Atitlan. We set up base camp at the Posada de Santiago, a charming hotel overlooking the majestic Lago de Atitlan.
Once we arrived, we partnered with an emergency medicine physician and her team to provide pediatric health and dental screenings, fluoride varnish application and education to local children who were also taught about disease prevention through hand washing and dental caries prevention via tooth brushing and flossing. We examined more than 239 children, identifying conditions such as heart murmurs, congenital abnormalities, otitis media and scabies. Our team also screened for dental disease and applied fluoride varnish to 115 elementary school students. Our trip was generously sponsored by the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, who supplied us with toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, personal protective gear, dental mirrors and other supplies for our trip. This generous donation allowed us to provide dental care to such a large number of children. We hope to travel back to Guatemala in six months to continue to screen and treat these children.