History of the Outreach Mission
HealthCare International originated in 1991 when Dr. Noel Brown, a graduate of New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD), started the outreach as a community service to Jamaica, his country of birth. He realized that in rural areas of the island there were communities with little or no access to health care, because of distance to the nearest clinic or lack of finances to receive the necessary care.
Prior to starting HealthCare International (HCI), Dr. Brown had traveled to Jamaica with a volunteer group, to provide dental care to indigent communities and schools in the rural areas of Jamaica. However, this group was not able to serve his community, and he recognized the great need there. Dr. Brown contacted dentists with whom he was acquainted, including faculty at NYUCD and members of the Student National Dental Association (SNDA) to join him on a one-week volunteer mission to Jamaica. Dr. Moses Page Snead, an Oral Surgery Faculty from NYUCD at the time, accompanied the students on the first and subsequent trips to Jamaica. The NYUCD students were the first participants in HCI's outreach. It was realized that senior dental students would be able to enhance their clinical experiences in Restorative Dentistry and Oral Surgery, while working in this environment. The cost of the outreach was financed by the individual students at that time. Dr. Brown contacted the Rotary Club of May Pen for assistance, and they viewed this as an avenue through which they could serve and assist the community more. The Rotary club agreed to assist.
To honor Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy, HCI choose the week of his birthday to serve the Jamaican people.
As the group grew larger the logistics of workers arriving in time at the various outreach stations in Jamaica became more difficult. It was then decided that a central location for all members of the outreach team was necessary. The Versalles Hotel in Clarendon was chosen because of its location and the security provided.
Earlier groups of volunteers consisted of dental care only. As we have grown, the volunteer team now consists of various specialties, such as Dentists, Medical Doctors, Surgeons, Anesthesiologist, Nurses, OB/GYN and Optometrists.
Over the years, HCI has donated computer equipment, training and books to schools and libraries, and has been instrumental in securing medical treatment in the USA for patients who were unable to have such treatment in Jamaica.
Deadline Friday, Oct 2, 2009