The first comprehensive treatment dental mission took place in Cusco and Paucarbamba, Peru April 10-14. We were able to provide care to over 150 children and adults, utilizing new, portable dental equipment purchased with funds acquired after several months of fairly intensive fund raising. We were also able to treat so many vulnerable children and adults due to the expansion of our dental team.
This year, we welcomed two pediatric dentists from Sioux Falls: Dr. Mel Thaler and Dr. Craig Cooksley. They provided both definitive and palliative care to to the majority of the children we encountered utilizing skills that were simply awesome. Also allowing us to greatly expand the scope of care was the inclusion of three of my brightest and talented dental students from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry: Angela Cook, Addison Killeen, and Mellissa Guerreo. These students exhibited a compassion which was quite compelling and a level of treatment which surpassed expectations for students at this level of their dental education. I was very proud of them! Kathy Meyer, Sherry Lura, and Loo Thaler provided dental assisting and support which enabled us to extend treatment to so many under-served children and adults. George and Kathy Houk and several of their Desana volunteers and two Dentists from Cusco (Dr Tula Oros Camargo and Vladimir Oblitas Cuba) rounded out the mission team and provided us with invaluable support, as well.I truly feel that we made a significant positive impact on the needy yet very wonderful people in this area. We have tentatively scheduled next year's mission for March 11-18, 2011, and will attempt to regionalize and stabilize our dental care to a certain area of Peru. We hope to establish a dental home in Urubamba, thus providing us with the opportunity to not only treat new patients each year, but also to provide follow-up care to the patients that we have already seen. We hope to continually expand and enhance our mission and will subsequently be seeking additional funds and dental volunteers. Anyone who would be willing to contribute or serve, please contact me. You will be welcomed into our endeavor and will be provided with a rewarding and simply life-changing experience!