International Dental Volunteering: Get Involved
It is often the case that truly successful dentists stay dedicated to the profession by exploring other opportunities in the field. Volunteering your time, skills, and services for the betterment of others is one way to revitalize, strengthen, and sustain enthusiasm in your career.
As a dentist or dental hygienist, your talent is quite portable. With the aid of some basic equipment and instruments, a rudimentary dental clinic can be set up anywhere in the world. Although international volunteers tend to be practitioners in their middle years or close to retirement, those in the early years of practice, teaching, or even those still in dental school can gain a lifetime of satisfaction by getting involved. International colleagues in many developing countries are eager to learn from their U.S. counterparts as well as share their own techniques. In working closely and collaboratively with them and the local people they treat, professionals like you can do a great deal to educate people in other countries about the true nature of Americans.
While international volunteer work can be quite challenging, successfully managing and learning from these challenges makes getting involved in these unique opportunities so worthwhile.
Use the ADA's International Volunteer Opportunities Search to find a program that fits your needs.
The ADA sponsors the oral health programs of Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO). These programs build the local capacity by providing health care professionals in resource-scarce countries with the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to address the health care needs of their communities. There are currently five ADAF/HVO programs in Haiti, Laos, Nepal, Peru and Tanzania. www.hvousa.org
Are you new to volunteering with HVO or are you early in your career as a dentist? The ADA Foundation has funded a fellowship just for you. Qualified dentists (a dentist who is a first time HVO volunteer and/or a dentist who graduated from dental school within the last five years) can receive funding up to $1,500 to defray some of their travel related expenses to volunteer at an HVO oral health program site. Visit the HVO fellowship and funding webpage to learn more and apply for the HVO-ADA Foundation Volunteer Fellowship.
Learn How to Get Involved