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International Humanitarian Outreach

Contribute your expertise and talents to better the oral health care of people in developing countries. ADA members can support the ADA international humanitarian outreach efforts through volunteer service. Learn more about the impact these ADA programs are having around the world and how you can get involved.

2014 Volunteer Symposium

The 2014 Symposium – Volunteer: The World Outside your Office will take place on October 8 in San Antonio from 8am-5pm. Breakfast & lunch will be served. Attendees can register today for the symposium by selecting course #4102. Course is limited to 50 participants.  Drs. Kevin Hardwick, Chris Holmgren and Bella Monse will teach participants to recognize diverse and specific global oral health concerns, understand the importance of appropri­ateness and sustainability in volunteer programs and understand how successful primary health care programs use scientifically based public health principles. New dentists and students receive a 20% discount on the course fee. The symposium is underwritten by a grant from the Academy of Dentistry International and presented by the ADA Division of Global Affairs through the ADA International Development Subcommittee. The 2014 ADA Humanitarian Award recipient, Dr. Raymond Damazo will be a guest speaker. Registration is now open online for ADA 2014 and this course. 

Volunteer Opportunities

Interested in volunteering overseas and helping change lives? Please visit the ADA International Volunteer website for information on selecting a program and location, how to prepare for your trip and what to expect upon your return home. More than 125 organizations are listed and can be searched by location and program type.

In addition, the ADA produces the publication International Dental Volunteer Organizations: A Guide to Service and a Directory of Programs. To request a free copy, email international@ada.org.

The ADA supports the oral health initiative programs of Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) to improve the availability and quality of oral health care in developing countries. These efforts focus on training and education of local health care providers in order to build ongoing capacity that will benefit the population long after volunteers depart. All volunteers must be members of the ADA or the Canadian Dental Association, and assignments range from one to four weeks. Volunteers are responsible for all expenses incurred, though some program sites offer housing. Visit the HVO website for more information on opportunities to volunteer at these program sites.

For more information on these programs, contact Barbara Edwards, Project Associate at HVO, at 202.296.0928 or b.edwards@hvousa.org.

International Impact

Rebuilding Practices in Haiti
Through the ADA/HVO Adopt-a-Practice Rebuilding Dental Offices in Haiti campaign, ADA members generously supported the rebuilding and equipping of nine dental offices in Haiti, following the destructive January 2011 earthquake. Read more about this rebuilding effort in the ADA News.

Aid for Japan Disaster
In order to assist Japanese dentists affected by the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis, the Division of Global Affairs created a campaign that raised nearly $63,000 for the Japan Dental Association (JDA). This includes funds from dental professionals and the public, the Japanese American Dental Society Henry Schein Cares Foundation, the ADA Foundation, and the ADA and staff. A total of 562 JDA members were affected by the disaster. Nearly 1,700 dentists assisted as dental forensics identifiers, including 592 sent by the JDA and 1,104 dentists from devastated areas who volunteered to help. The JDA also sent 84 dental professionals to provide dental treatment in devastated areas.

Dental Public Health Training in Southeast Asia
The ADA/Health Volunteers Overseas Southeast Asia Dental Public Health Training Program, an ADA/HVO Oral Health Initiative program, trains and educates local oral health care providers by creating and implementing diploma and masters courses for dental public health at the University of Health Sciences in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam; the University of Health Sciences in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and the University of Health Sciences of Laos (formally the National University of Laos) in Vientiane, Laos. Master's degrees have been awarded to students in all three countries. From the onset, the International College of Dentists and the ADA Foundation have supported the programs. The programs are managed by the ADA International Development Subcommittee through the ADA Division of Global Affairs.

Health services and training in these countries are very limited. Oral health, particularly in young children of poorer families, is poor, and there is a growing consumption of sugary foods. The planning, organization, implementation and evaluation of preventive oral health programs in these countries have been seriously neglected. The ADA and HVO have concentrated efforts on working with the dental schools to train dental public health officers, which is now a recognized priority of the respective countries' Ministries of Health.