For CDP dentists across Texas, summer means enjoying the full variety of everything our state has to offer. What could be better than hiking, kayaking, or surfing to celebrate a Texan summer? For many of our dentists, summer also means a life-changing opportunity to provide volunteer dental support to underserved patients abroad. Our 2022 Humanitarian Aid trip to Mérida, Yucatán was another resounding success!
Humanitarian Aid Trips Give Us the Chance to Live Our Values
Community Dental Partners 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 we can exercise those values is by providing care for patients who would otherwise have no way to access dental healthcare.
Our Humanitarian Aid trip each year takes us to regions of the world where patients struggle to access healthcare including dentistry. Our trips have taken us to a variety of locations in Honduras and Mexico, but we try to focus consistently on the same few locations so that we can 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 be joining CDP as a traveling doctor, put it like this: “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 why I decided to join the CDP family.”
Mérida, Yucatán in Mexico has been a wonderful destination for our trips over the past few years. Like last year, our team provided much-needed dental healthcare to patients living 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. While much of the city has enjoyed economic growth in the past several years and boasts museums, art galleries, and plenty of amenities, 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 access to 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. For many of these patients, this was their first time seeing a dentist. Many patients came to us in pain and with serious 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 amazing guidance of some of the best pediatric, adult, and oral surgery doctors in the industry.
Our team helped patients cope with dental fear and hesitancy to get the care they needed. By providing patient, compassionate care, our doctors hone the chairside skills that will make them exceptional when they start regular practice back home. It also gave us the opportunity to get patients out of pain, protect them from worse health outcomes, and improve their overall oral health.
Dr. Gerry Flores, who will be joining Gloss Dental in San Antonio, says the trip was deeply meaningful. “This humanitarian trip was such an amazing experience. I am incredibly grateful for having joined the CDP family and doing my part in making the world a better place.”
Kali Pahalah, who is part of our Commerce team, agrees. “It was such a blessing to be able 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 members joining our team. 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 be joining 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; but they also get the chance to explore and enjoy their time together! The team often spend 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 an 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 deeply valuable experience that can change your lives and improve the lives of your patients. Schedule a call with a Recruiting Manager to learn more about joining the CDP team on our next humanitarian trip!