Honoring dentists for international volunteer service
February 14, 2014
Dr. Bob Meyer, a dentist in Colorado Springs, Colo., is a role model for dentists who volunteer internationally.
After retiring from 32 years of service in the Army, where he served as commander of the only airborne dental unit in the world, Dr. Meyer has been in private practice for 14 years. During that time, he and his wife Diane have spent their vacations leading 40 or so overseas trips to more than 35 countries. They even authored the books, "Truth, Teeth, and Travel Vol I and Vol II," which describes their adventures and motivations, and offers advice for aspiring volunteers.
Not only has Dr. Meyer received the ADA Certificate for International Volunteer Service many times, as president of the Christian Dental Society, he has nominated the dentists who have accompanied him on his trips.
"The ADA Certificate is a prestigious, appropriate and significant recognition for those who use dentistry to make a substantial impact in the world," said Dr. Meyer. "I thank the ADA for applauding dentists who step out of their comfort zone to use their own time, talents, resources and energies to help the less fortunate here and abroad."
As a dental mission leader and coordinator, Dr. Meyer finds that nominating dentists who volunteer with his programs is an effective recruitment and retention tool.
"There is great adventure and wonderment as we travel and experience the world's cultures, achievements and beauty," Dr. Meyer said. "It sets an example of service for family, friends and our community. It increases our appreciation for what we have and decreases our dependence on material things. It builds friendships and relationships here and abroad. There is a professional exchange of information as we interact with other dentists and medical providers. It is a practice builder."
The Committee on International Programs and Development, a standing committee of the ADA Board of Trustees, honors international volunteers annually. Nominations for the 2014 certificate are due April 1.
Dental society officers and dental school deans can nominate active, life, student or retired ADA members who have served abroad for a minimum of 14 days in a given 24-month period.
Application forms and award guidelines can be found online. For more information on how to nominate a candidate, call the ADA Division of Global Affairs at 1-312-440-2726 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on global volunteer opportunities, visit the ADA's International Volunteer web page: internationalvolunteer.ada.org.