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Dental volunteers needed for U.S. Navy mission trip

May 31, 2019

By Mary Beth Versaci

Group photo of humanitarian mission participants
Helping hands: Members of the University of California San Diego Pre-Dental Society Non-Governmental Organization gather with partners from other nations and organizations during a humanitarian mission aboard the USNS Comfort hospital ship. Photo courtesy of University of California San Diego Pre-Dental Society Non-Governmental Organization.
The University of California San Diego Pre-Dental Society Non-Governmental Organization is seeking health care professionals for a U.S. Navy-led humanitarian mission in response to the Venezuelan political crisis.

Between mid-June and November, Enduring Promise 2019 will visit Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago while aboard the USNS Comfort hospital ship. Participants do not need to volunteer for the entire five months.

"This is a great opportunity to work with so many countries to provide help in an international crisis aboard a U.S. Navy hospital ship. This will make a difference in global humanity and save lives," said Dr. Irvin B. Silverstein, UCSD Pre-Dental Society director. "Previous volunteers on these missions have described it as a life-changing experience."

The society is looking for dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, physicians, pharmacists, optometrists, nurses, medical assistants, medical and lab technicians, pharmacy technicians, translators and any other health-related professionals and technicians to participate.  

In 2018, more than 26,700 patients –– including more than 3,200 dental patients –– were treated during the 11-week mission to Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras and Peru. Volunteers also distributed dental hygiene kits and taught citizens about oral hygiene.

Space for civilians on the mission trip is limited. Those interested in volunteering should email missionsteam@ucsdpds.org or dsilverstein22@cox.net.