USC Dental Humanitarian Club Headed to Colombia December 9-17
For the past three years, the USC Dental Humanitarian Club (DHC), a non-profit organization at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, has upheld an annual tradition of providing dental care to aid those who are less fortunate around the world. Last year, they made a difference in over 600 lives in underserved areas of Honduras.
This year from December 9-17, DHC President Sumeet Srivastava DDS ‘13 will lead a group of Ostrow dental students, dental hygiene students, and faculty with the help of local dentists as they travel to Cartagena, Colombia. The DHC is partnering up with the University of Sinú dental program to collaborate with local communities and foundations in order to serve more than 1000 people, including orphaned children, teens, and homeless adults.
“We will bring in pre-screened patients, provide proper oral hygiene instructions, and treat oral infections and extensive caries due to the lack of dental services and resources available,” Srivastava said. “It will be an international clinic that upholds the high clinical standards taught by the Ostrow School of Dentistry.”
Patients will receive full screenings, medical history examinations, treatment planning, radiographic examination, educational classes, full mouth scaling and root planing, and surgical and operative procedures, along with follow-up care.
“We have teamed up with the dental school at the University of Sinú, and they have guaranteed follow-up treatment to all patients we serve during our trip,” Srivastava said. “This way, patients who require further treatment such as space maintenance or root canal therapy will not be stranded without any access to care.”
By doing so, the DHC is assuring the absolute best quality and care to their patients, he said. In addition, the group plans to continue research that was started last year on analyzing the specific oral health care needs of the community, which will provide valuable information to future groups and demonstrate the impact of outreach efforts over time.
“Many of the patients we will treat will have never been to a dentist before, and we will be their only chance to fulfill dental needs to people who cannot afford care,” Srivastava said. “Volunteers will experience new challenges that will present the opportunity for both personal and professional growth.”
Due to the lack of resources in the area, the volunteers will bring the vast majority of necessary supplies into Colombia. The group is selling Oral-B and Crest products to help finance their mission and is also accepting donations.