Humanitarian work and pediatric dentistry is a great combination, and one that naturally fits. It´s one of the easiest areas to find opportunities in, too.
A couple of pediatric dentistry decided to go on a pediatric dental mission to the Zavkhan Province of Mongolia with KIDS (Kids International Dental Services). They treated 2016 children in 6 days. Here are photos and a video of their adventures.
KIDS´ mission is to provide pro-bono dental care to impoverished children in developing countries and a platform for young dental professionals to perform community service worldwide.
The Humanitarian Foundation´s Grottoes of North America
The Grottoes of North America Humanitarian Foundation is a nonprofit organization that brings “Special Smiles” to children with special needs by providing them with much-needed dental care.
The program helps cover the costs of dental treatment, including hospital and anesthesia costs where needed, for children with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and related neuromuscular disorders, kids with intellectual disabilities, and dental treatment for organ transplant recipients.
To find out if there is a way to get involved locally if you´re in the U.S. here.
Inspiring Pediatric Dentists
Midlothian pediatric dentist Nick Lombardozzi, DSS, participated in a humanitarian dental clinic held in the village of Las Camelias, located in Izabal, Guatemala in 2011.
The clinic was organized by Global Dental Relief in conjunction with a local partner, the Behrhorst Partners for Development. The clinic was held in a local elementary school in the remote village, which was named for the striking camellia flowers that bloom there in the summer.
Working away in three small concrete rooms of the elementary school, a group of four dentists, two dental hygienists, and eight non-dental volunteers collaborated to provide 512 children with care over a five day period. The children ranged from 6-14 years old. The kids received examinations, cleanings, fluoride, sealants, and restorations and extractions as needed.
While many people would like to get involved with organizations like Global Dental, family and job constraints often get in the way.
The inspiring story of GDR’s former Dental Director Dr. Tom Grams (who was killed during a terrorist attack while working for a different humanitarian group in Afghanistan in 2010), was the motivating force behind Dr. Lombardozzi’s decision to leave his normal life for 10 days and participate in the Guatemalan mission.
“I have always wanted to do something like this. When I read about Tom Grams, who sold his practice to devote his life to helping others, I knew I had to volunteer,” said Lombardozzi.
Clinics like the one set up in the village of Las Camelias are vital for the maintenance of the dental health of Guatemalan children. Volunteers provide a lifeline for sustainable dental health, especially when they are able to teach during their mission.
Dr. Lombardozzi received his DDS from the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and a Certificate of Pediatric Dentistry from the University of Kentucky. He has been a pediatric dentist for 20 years. He´s a member of the Virginia Dental Association, the Richmond Dental Society, and a Fellow and Diplomate at the American Academy of Dentistry.
There´s a good chance that someone will be writing about your humanitarian work to encourage others to do the same in the near future. But maybe writing your personal statement is more often on your mind right now. If you´d like some help with that, please do get in touch with us. We´d be delighted to make a start on your personal statement as soon as possible.
Pediatrics is all encompassing. It is a field whose definition of quality care expands beyond office visits and parental counseling, to a career focused on patient advocacy. Pediatrics is a field where learning and teaching are endless, so that each patient brings new experiences. As far back as elementary school, when my aspirations changed from President of the United States of America to Veterinarian as quickly as every two weeks, I can remember my mother always reminding me that the goal of a career is finding something you love doing, so that getting paid becomes a perk. Later in life, I found my favorite author, Maya Angelou, who has never ceased to inspire, and her words above remind me of my Mother’s life lesson.
I have always enjoyed working with children and spent the majority of my service and leadership activities working with youth of all ages. Third year of medical school has been such a wonderful sampling of clinical experiences, and although I had an idea that I was interested in pursuing a career in pediatrics, it became very apparent on my first few weeks of the pediatric clerkship that it was a perfect match. After full days of floor and clinic work, evening and night calls, I realized that day after day I wasn’t going home drained and tired, but full of new knowledge, stories if interactions with patients, and plenty of topics to research. The time at the hospital passed by effortlessly and at each day’s end, a smile was left on my face with motivation to meet the morning’s challenges. I am a student, a teacher, and an advocate for others. Medicine is full of questions with yet undiscovered answers, but the academic setting of learning by doing and from those with experienced perspectives is inspiring and something I hope to be a part of for life. The team approach to pediatric medicine and the broad scope of possibilities is what I find most appealing. I want to teach my patients and their families and will always expect to learn something new from them. Working with youth is an opportunity for healing, creativity, and becoming part of an individual’s support system and growth. In medical school I expanded my involvement in leadership and community service with a student-run free clinic administrative role, which provided the chance to view community health issues from a provider’s prospective. Writing curriculum for and piloting a healthy lifestyles youth program was an avenue for inspired passion from a small-seeded idea at a first-year medical school conference. Pediatric medicine, I am certain, will continue to provide ample opportunities for motivation and advocacy. I am looking for a path that challenges, encourages, and allows for a wide array of opportunities. My drive and dedication are balanced by genuine passion for my chosen career. I hope to work hard and as Maya Angelou states, “become truly accomplished”, for no other reason than because I love what I do.