For CDP dentists across Texas, summer means enjoying the full variety of everything our state offers. What could be better than hiking, kayaking, or surfing to celebrate a Texan summer? For many CDP dentists, summer also means a life-changing opportunity to provide much-needed dental care to underserved communities abroad. Our 2022 humanitarian aid trip to Mérida, Yucatán, was another resounding success!
Humanitarian Aid Trips Give Us the Chance to Live Our Values
CDP is an organization founded on 9 Pillars of Culture that guide the way we practice. We take principles like compassion, gratitude, and humility very seriously. One of the best ways to exercise those values is by providing care for patients who otherwise cannot access dental healthcare.
Our annual humanitarian aid trip takes us to regions where patients struggle to access healthcare, including dentistry. Our trips have brought us to various locations in Honduras and Mexico, but we focus consistently on the same few locations to build deeper relationships with the patients and clinics in those areas over time. That’s why we were eager to return to Mérida again this year!
Dr. Gilbert Bautista, who will join CDP as a traveling doctor, said, “Service to others, building strong relationships, and a commitment to do good. This trip encompasses everything that CDP stands for and puts into perspective how fortunate I am. Our ability as doctors to impact the lives of those less fortunate like the people of Mérida is why I became a dentist and decided to join the CDP family.”
Mérida, Yucatán in Mexico, has been a fantastic destination for our trips over the past few years. Like last year, our team provided much-needed dental healthcare to patients in remote and impoverished areas in and around the city.
Mérida is the capital and largest city in Yucatán state. Not far from the Gulf of Mexico, its population of over one million people live a rich but polarized culture. The city has enjoyed economic growth in the past several years. It boasts museums, art galleries, and plenty of amenities. However, a significant portion of the populace lives in poverty. The sharp disparity between rich and poor in Mérida manifests in many ways, not least of which is the lack of dental care for its poorest citizens.
Our team also traveled outside the city to a small town called Hoctún. This tight-knit community of just six thousand people sits about thirty miles outside the city. Dental care is nearly nonexistent for citizens of Hoctún.
Changing Our Patients’ Lives
Including patients in Hoctún, our team served about one hundred patients during our week in Mexico. This was their first time seeing a dentist for many of these patients. Many patients came to us in pain and with severe infections and advanced pathology. We provided a range of services, including endo, third molar extractions, fillings, dental wellness exams, and stainless-steel crowns, all under the fantastic guidance of some of the industry’s best pediatric, adult, and oral surgery doctors.
Our team helped patients cope with dental fear and hesitancy to get their needed care. By providing compassionate patient care, our doctors hone the chairside skills to make them exceptional when they start regular practice back home. It also allowed us to get patients out of pain, protect them from worse health outcomes, and improve their oral health.
Dr. Gerry Flores, who will join Gloss Dental in San Antonio, says the trip was deeply meaningful. “This humanitarian trip was such an amazing experience. I am incredibly grateful for joining the CDP family and doing my part in improving the world.”
Kali Pahalah, who is part of our Commerce team, agrees. “It was such a blessing to meet some of the team and develop relationships while serving this amazing community and learning from all of them!”
Becoming a Team Through Works of Service
This yearly trip is a key component of our orientation process for new team members. Just as much as mentorship with experienced dentists, shadowing, and learning where the supply closet is in the office, our humanitarian outreach trip is central to becoming a CDP dentist. It’s a perfect chance for new team members to get to know each other and work side-by-side to improve lives.
“It was a pleasure to meet the rest of the team in person and to serve others,” says Dr. Ashkan Ershadi, who will join CDP in Nacogdoches. “The best part of the week for me was the camaraderie we built.” Every year, our volunteers forge strong bonds that follow them home and enhance their work lives. New dentists will gain vital experience and gain confidence in their skills before going into regular practice. Even experienced practitioners benefit from the perspective they can gain by helping less fortunate patients.
Not only do our team members get to work together, they also get the chance to explore and enjoy their time together! The team often spends their time off together exploring ruins and archeological sites, enjoying museums, and learning about the culture of cities they may otherwise never have seen.
“What an incredible trip to be part of! This trip made me realize how important it is to cherish life’s simple pleasures and how fast time goes when surrounded by amazing company. So happy to have joined CDP!” Dr. Ruby Carrillo, another of our traveling doctors, says.
Humanitarian outreach trips are just one of the ways we help our team excel. Dental volunteerism is a precious experience that can change your lives and improve the lives of your patients. Schedule a call with a Hiring Manager to learn more about joining the CDP team on our next adventure!