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Outreach Program Extends Beyond Patient Care

July 15 marked the halfway point for the Foundation for Endodontics and Henry Schein Cares Foundation Outreach Program progress in 2017. Since the beginning of the year, two Foundation teams have traveled to Jamaica to provide the highest level of endodontic treatment to the rural community of Treasure Beach.

Since the Foundation expanded its mission to include access to care and public awareness in late 2016, four of these weeklong projects have occurred. However, each trip is unique and brings an abundance of lessons learned by all those involved and personal experience gained by the volunteers. Each Foundation team consists of one endodontist, who serves as a mentor, and two endodontic residents. The Foundation team accompanies other teams of general dentists and predoctoral students, where together, they provide dental care at the Helping Hands Clinic, established by the Christian Dental Society. The organization has welcomed our endodontists with open arms, and the Foundation is grateful for their knowledge, experience and inclusiveness.

Foundation staff worked closely with the Henry Schein Cares Foundation to facilitate a partnership for support. In the spring, the organization agreed to donate $100,000 of support to the program. Each year for five years, the Henry Schein Cares Foundation will provide $12,000 in monetary support and $8,000 in donated equipment. The agreement was signed in late spring, and the team in Jamaica from July 9 – 15 was the first to utilize the in-kind equipment donation. Have a fully stocked supply kit and necessary equipment made working conditions much easier. In comparison, the first Foundation team that traveled to the clinic in March 2016, had a small kit of donated equipment and no microscope.

The Foundation is also extremely grateful for the microscope loaned by Seiler Instruments and Mfg., Co. for each trip since October 2016.

The most recent outreach team included Drs. Katie A. Divine, a first-year resident at the University of Minnesota, Ehsan Farrokhmanesh, a first-year resident at Lutheran Medical Center and Scott E. Levy, an endodontist in private practice in Philadelphia. They met for the first time when they landed at the airport in Montego Bay. Little did they know, they were about to form a bond that few endodontists will share.

Upon their arrival in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Drs. Ehsan Farrokhmanesh, Scott E. Levy and Katie A. Divine (l-r) found a few moments to relax before their whirlwind week at the Helping Hands Clinic.

Mid-week, Dr. Levy contacted Foundation Trustee Dr. Daniella S. Peinado (Dr. Levy’s co-resident from their days as residents at Albert Einstein, and the individual who encouraged Dr. Levy to participate in the program as a mentor) to let her know what a beautiful experience the week had been. He thanked her for her encouragement to participate in the program and updated her on the impact they were making.

Dr. Divine shared that beyond the personal gain from providing patient care to the population in Treasure Beach, the experience of providing endodontic exposure to a large group of dental students was extremely beneficial.

“We had valuable interactions with dental students who were interested in learning more about what endodontists do,” she explained. “They also observed and assisted us, and we showed them what the microscope was like as well as other intricacies of the specialty.”

Many of the predoctoral students expressed these experiences are not always available to them at their dental school due to the busy setting and demands of the school environment. Providing an open and comfortable atmosphere to ask questions and express interests and concern was a wonderful way to leave an impression on future general dentists.

“They felt comfortable asking us questions and some even expressed a change in thoughts on endodontics, endodontists and perhaps even wanting to pursue the specialty themselves,” said Dr. Divine.

Since beginning the Outreach Program in March 2016, 12 Foundation volunteers have performed 147 root canal treatments. During that time, the Helping Hands Clinic volunteers have seen nearly 1,700 patients.

Drs. Ehsan Farrokhmanesh and Scott Levy worked side-by-side, providing endodontic treatment in the non-air conditioned clinic in the July Jamaican heat.

Dr. Katie Divine was amazed by the resilience of the Jamaican patients she treated. Many times, they walked several hours to the clinic, where they waited a few more hours for treatment. They were extremely patient and gracious for the services our volunteers provided.

In the second half of 2017, the Foundation will pilot a domestic outreach program, which will tap into the philanthropic spirit of residents in their communities.

Thanks to all of the corporations that made supply contributions during 2017, including Henry Schein Cares Foundation, Brasseler USA, Obtura Sparta and Seiler Instruments and Mfg., Co.