ADA/HVO help out in Haiti
Program will help rebuild earthquake-damaged dental offices in Haiti
By Stacie Crozier
Moving from immediate disaster relief efforts to restoring dental infrastructure in earthquake-devastated Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the ADA Division of Global Affairs and Health Volunteers Overseas have joined forces to raise funds to rebuild dental practices.
The Bois Verna dental office of Drs. Geraldine Delince, Didier Blaise and Steve Williams was destroyed by the earthquake that rocked Haiti in January.
Starting over: The Bois Verna dental office of Drs. Geraldine Delince, Didier Blaise and Steve Williams was destroyed by the earthquake that rocked Haiti in January.
Through Adopt-a-Practice: Rebuilding Dental Offices in Haiti, the two organizations plan to raise $300,000 by the end of 2010 to rebuild or re-equip about 30 dental practices—nearly a third of the city's dental offices—that were damaged or destroyed by the earthquake in January.
"The efforts made by many organizations to address the immediate health care needs of the Haitian people following the earthquake were exemplary. And now, the Adopt-a-Practice initiative addresses the need to restore a sustainable system for oral health delivery in Haiti," said ADA President Ron Tankersley. "Because of the depressed economy in Haiti, even small contributions will go a long way toward putting dentists back on their feet so that they can resume their practices.
"Unfortunately, when practices are devastated in an area, dentists often seek other geographic opportunities for their practices," Dr. Tankersley added. "This occurred in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. A shortage of good dental care pre-existed the earthquake in Haiti. So, it is critical that we do what we can to help restore the country's dental workforce."
In meetings with Haiti Dental Association President Samuel Prophete at ADA Headquarters in February, ADA leaders and staff learned that without help, most dentists in Haiti would be unable to rebuild their practices on their own because dentists don’t have the protection of casualty insurance and their incomes are not comparable to those in more developed countries, Dr. Tankersley added.
"With about 350 dentists for a population of 9 million, Haiti has the lowest ratio of dentists per population in the Western hemisphere," said Dr. Samuel Prophete, Haiti Dental Association president. "Our biggest challenge actually is to try to do as much as we can to give the dentists who lost their practices after the earthquake the opportunity to rebuild and stay in the country in order to better serve their fellow Haitians. In the wake of the reconstruction efforts, our country will need all of its citizens and professionals, dentists included. We are very happy with the ADA and HVO initiative to help our colleagues get back on their feet, and we thank them for their compassion and solidarity."
The ADA's partner on this project, Health Volunteers Overseas, is a U.S. nonprofit organization that has been working in global health for the past 25 years, said Helen Cherrett, senior director of the ADA Division of Global Affairs. "HVO has worked with ADA for more than 20 years in developing oral health education programs that utilize the skills and experiences of ADA members as volunteers. HVO brings strong project management expertise to this effort."
Haiti Dental Association President Samuel Prophete and ADA President Ron Tankersley meet in February at ADA Headquarters to discuss Haiti dentists' short- and long-term needs.
Starting over: Haiti Dental Association President Samuel Prophete and ADA President Ron Tankersley meet in February at ADA Headquarters to discuss Haiti dentists' short- and long-term needs.
"Although many dentists may have already donated to initial disaster relief to Haiti, the Adopt-a-Practice program is an inspirational way for our profession to help rebuild permanent infrastructure for oral health services and support our Haitian colleagues," said Dr. Sally Hewett, member of the ADA Committee on International Programs and Development. "The Haitian dental practices that receive support for reconstruction will also be donating some of their dental services to a very needy population, so that many will be served. The Adopt-a-Practice program is a wonderful avenue for service and support within our own profession."
"I'm proud of the generosity that the ADA and its members demonstrate by helping dentists in other countries help themselves," said Dr. Tankersley. "This benefits the dentists, their patients and the oral health of their country."
A dental office in the capital city of Port-au-Prince is crumbling after the earthquake in Haiti.
Helping Haiti: A dental office in the capital city of Port-au-Prince is crumbling after the earthquake in Haiti.
Donors can visit the International Activities page on ADA.org (www.ada.org/goto/international) for information on how to contribute to the Adopt-a-Practice fund and a link to the HVO site. HVO will also accept donations by phone at 1-202-296-0928 and by mail to Health Volunteers Overseas, 1900 L Street, NW #310, Washington, D.C. 20036. Donation checks must be made out to Health Volunteers Overseas and the memo line should read: ADA/HVO Haiti.
The ADA Division of Global Affairs can also respond to inquiries about this Haiti initiative. Call toll-free, Ext. 2726.