USC Endodontics Resident Provides Care in Thailand
Dozens of patients in Thailand received free dental care from first-year Ostrow School of Dentistry Endondontics resident Sue Suh during her December 17-25 trip to the Southeast Asian nation.
Assisted by Daniel Lee and Jane Lee, her nephew and niece, Suh treated 137 people throughout the weeklong trip. It was her third time traveling to Thailand to provide dental care since 2009.
“During my first trip, it was very rudimentary,” Suh said, referring to the limited amount of basic dental equipment she was able to bring with her on her initial journey to Thailand. “This time, I was able to bring a portable dental unit and an x-ray machine. I was able to do most everything, including preventive care, extractions, root canals, restorations and more.”
During the latest trip, Suh mostly provided care in schools in the cities of Bangkok and Chumphon, treating students, their families, and school personnel. She said that in Thailand, personal dental hygiene supplies and professional dental treatment are often prohibitively expensive, and many go without care. Suh, who said she is deeply committed to providing humanitarian dental care, hopes to return to Thailand in April and eventually establish a permanent dental clinic there.
“Here, we’re all really blessed to have access to opportunities, education, and freedom of expression and faith,” Suh said. “We need to share that with people who don’t have the opportunities we do.”
One of the most gratifying moments of the trip for Suh came when she was treating a young patient who then asked her how she could become a dentist or doctor.
“You’re helping people, and at the same time you are challenging them to help other people,” she said.
Suh added that she was thankful for all of the support she received for the trip, including dental equipment and supplies, from dentist colleagues Jan O’Dell and Carol Daderian and Ostrow School of Dentistry Undergraduate Endodontics Director Thomas Levy.
“Dr. Levy is very encouraging and supportive,” she said. “I’m very grateful.”
Levy said he is proud of the Endodontics students who serve those in need outside of the School, whether elsewhere in Los Angeles or halfway around the world.
“We are charged by Dean Sadan to give back to the community,” Levy said. “This is one way that the Endodontics section gives back.”