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ADA, AAOMS collaborate

HVO launches new oral health initiative

Washington—Health Volunteers Overseas has launched its new Oral Health Initiative sponsored by the American Dental Association and the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

The new program is an example of cooperative efforts called for by ADA President Ronald L. Tankersley in his Oct. 6 address to the House of Delegates, said Helen Cherrett, senior director, ADA Division of Global Affairs. Dr. Tankersley encouraged the Association to collaborate with other groups that advocate for better oral health.

The initiative is designed to build on HVO's current activities in the field of dentistry, dental public health and oral surgery and is co-chaired by Drs. Sally Hewett and David Frost, both longtime HVO members and volunteers.

"I am very enthusiastic to work with Dr. Frost and the HVO oral and maxillofacial team," said Dr. Hewett. "The HVO Oral Health Initiative will increase the breadth and depth of our teaching and training programs in developing nations. By combining the programs of oral and maxillofacial surgery and dentistry, we will create expanded possibilities for sharing ideas with our international colleagues at our clinic and dental school sites."

Historically, the ADA and AAOMS teamed up with HVO at separate times and managed separate volunteer sites, Dr. Hewett added. "But what has become clear over the years is that the clinics and dental schools that we serve in developing nations would often appreciate both oral surgery training and general dentistry. By joining our committees, we are capable of offering more comprehensive oral health education and sharing organizational support."

Volunteers are encouraged to share their expertise in dentistry and oral surgery; give lectures and lead discussions; teach new clinical techniques to local health care providers; teach and mentor students and residents; and provide hands-on instruction in patient care.

Volunteers are needed for the following HVO Oral Health Initiative program sites:

  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia—Cambodia University of Health Sciences: Volunteers provide support, in conjunction with the Cambodian Dental Association, to the faculty, graduates and students. Areas of training include restorative dentistry, endodontics, prosthetics, orthodontics and implants, as well as other areas of dentistry. Volunteers deliver lectures and clinical demonstrations, in addition to providing practical dental student education in the dental school clinics. Assignments are two to four weeks.
  • Siem Reap, Cambodia—Angkor Hospital for Children: Volunteers focus on the treatment of cleft lip and palate patients including fabrication of obturators, nutritional counseling and surgical care, plus recognition and management of oral pathology and facial trauma. Volunteers are involved in daily classroom instruction and hands-on instruction in patient care and attend ward rounds, ward teaching rounds and the outpatient clinic. Assignments are two weeks. Volunteers must be board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons with training in cleft lip and palate disorders.
  • San Pedro Sula, Honduras—Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras in El Valle de Sula: This program provides assistance with didactic and clinical training for dental students. Volunteers will give lectures, demonstrate clinical procedures and techniques in general dentistry. Specialists may also provide training during specific clinical blocks. Assignments are two weeks. Housing is available at local hotels.
  • Vientiane, Laos—National University of Laos: Volunteers will provide clinical training to the dental students and faculty at the university as well as local dentists in Vientiane. Training will focus on basic clinical topics as well as infection control. Assignments are one to two weeks. Housing is available at local hotels.
  • Lima, Peru—EsSalud Hospital System: Training will be tailored to basic, intermediate and advanced levels focusing on areas such as maxillary bone and jawbone treatment of minimum complexity, post-operative handling of intermaxillary fixation patients, techniques for the reconstruction of jawbone continuity defects, diagnosis and treatment of existent maxillary and jawbone deformations with stabilization and post-operative handling of orthognathic patients. Assignments are two to four weeks. Volunteers must be board certified. Those with academic appointment as well as those in private practice are sought. Residents accompanied by a qualified attending physician are welcome.
  • Kigali, Rwanda—Kigali Health Institute: This program provides assistance to the faculty at KHI as they develop a teaching program for dental therapists. Emphasis will be preparing the students to teach preventive education, perform oral exams, basic restoration, oral hygiene and periodontal treatment, and help with the alleviation of oral infection and pain. Continuing education is also requested for the students, dentists and faculty. Housing is provided. Assignments are a minimum of two weeks.
  • Vieux Fort, St. Lucia—St. Jude Hospital: This program emphasizes the provision of basic dental care. Volunteers perform mainly exodontia. The three-chair dental clinic is open weekdays and stays open until all patients have been seen. After closing, emergency care is provided. Volunteers must hold a current license. Assignments are two to four weeks.
  • Dar es Salaam, Tanzania—Muhimbili University: Volunteers will provide chairside instruction and lectures to the Faculty at Muhimbili University and assist them with revising the current curriculum. Areas of focus are oral surgery, orthodontics, preventive and restorative dentistry. Opportunities are also available to provide continuing education at the annual meeting of the Tanzania Dental Association. Minimum length of assignment is two weeks. Housing is available at local hotels.
  • Hanoi, Vietnam—Institute of Odonto-Stomatology: This program provides education to orthodontists and surgeons. Volunteers will be expected to evaluate treatment plans and execute surgeries which should be used as hands-on training opportunities with one or more doctors or residents observing and assisting. Assignments are a minimum of two weeks. All volunteers must be licensed oral and maxillofacial surgeons and have experience in the areas of orthognathic surgery, bone grafts and/or dental implants. Because of the high patient volume at the Institute, staff is very skilled in basic oral surgery procedures (i.e. extractions, fracture treatment and pathology, etc.). Appropriate volunteers wishing to visit this site should be prepared and able to teach and train the staff in high-level, complex procedures such as orthognathic, bone grafting and implant dentistry.
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam—Faculty of Odonto-Stomatology and The National Institute of Odonto-Stomatology: Volunteers provide training and mentoring in orthodontic education to graduate students at two dental centers in Ho Chi Minh City. Training will emphasize diagnosis and treatment planning as well as case review. Training in other areas such as dental public health, oral surgery and restorative dentistry has also been requested. Prepared lectures are expected of all volunteers. Assignments are a minimum of two weeks.

HVO's Oral Health Initiative is sponsored by the ADA and AAOMS. For more information on the program or to volunteer, log on to "" or call Barbara Edwards at 1-202-296-0928.

For information about other international dental volunteer opportunities contact the ADA Division of Global Affairs at 1-312-440-2726 or