The first time she traveled to Kenya to spend a few weeks volunteering at a World Health Dental Organization (WHDO) clinic, Dr. Katie Vincer Sears admits she was nervous. In the Oct. 16 episode of the ADA’s Beyond the Mouth podcast, she remembers thinking, “What am I getting myself into?”
Veterans are a special population that has unique dental care needs that are not being met. Although veterans receive free medical care for life from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), lifetime dental care is only given to those who are 100% disabled by their service, former prisoners of war or have a dental disability caused in service.
Volunteering abroad can be a great chance to contribute to the advancement of global oral health. However, did you know that service trips could potentially do more harm than good? Before you pack your bags, make sure that you are prepared to volunteer responsibly. Set yourself up to be an ethical advocate of global health by reviewing these important topics.
This year, ASDA continued the growth of the National Outreach Initiative, which was established in 2017 and brings attention to the oral health needs of underserved populations. The special populations highlighted this year included geriatric individuals, displaced populations and veterans.
In 2012, my brother and I established an annual summer camp designed for 11 to 14 year olds from underserved neighborhoods in Contra Costa County, California. The theme for last year’s camp was “Mind-Body-Spirit,” an intensive, holistic health session centered on the importance of finding a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit, as well as strategies to develop their potential and contribute to society. This encompassed fostering a positive outlook on their oral and overall health.
Hurricane Florence made landfall south of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on Sept. 14. Classified at its peak as a Category 4 hurricane, the storm’s winds reached speeds of 130 mph. It caused 53 casualties and at least $12.7 billion worth of damage from flooding to the area in its path, according to an Oct. 24, 2018, Engineering News-Record article. The hurricane might be over, but flooding remains. In some areas, it may take years to rebuild from the damage.
Outreach has always been a pillar of organized dentistry. Because of this, in 2017, the Council on Professional Issues spearheaded the launch of ASDA’s National Outreach Initiative (NOI). This year, the council plans to maintain the momentum generated by NOI’s inaugural year, while continuing to promote various events and opportunities for involvement throughout 2018 and 2019.