Community Dental Partners is an organization built on strong values. We are passionate about areas such as Humility, Compassion, and Outreach. For us, they’re not just concepts; they’re actions. That’s why we organize dental volunteer programs both in our local neighborhoods and abroad.
About CDP’s Humanitarian Trips
CDP organizes regular humanitarian trips to underserved communities abroad. We’ve visited a variety of locations in Honduras and Mexico. These trips allow us to actively practice our belief in providing access to dental care to those who need it most. They also give us opportunities to deepen relationships between doctors and grow as a team.
Participating in outreach can be a truly transformative experience. Giving back has been shown to improve job satisfaction across many industries, and dental volunteer programs are no exception. Participating in humanitarian outreach as a healthcare provider lets you see first-hand just how much your skills are needed in the world. Connecting with patients whose lives can change dramatically thanks to your work will ignite your passion and energize your enthusiasm for this amazing career.
We try to organize these trips yearly, and they are a key part of our orientation process and fulfilling our mission to serve the underserved. It also gives new dentists amazing opportunities for on-the-job learning. If you would like to learn more about our current humanitarian efforts we are always available to share more about these opportunities.
Prior Outreach Trip
Our team traveled to Mérida, Yucatán in Mexico. Mérida is the capital and largest city in Yucatán state. It is located near the Gulf of Mexico and has a population of just over one million people. The city has a rich history stretching all the way back to the Maya. During Spanish colonization, many carved stones from the ancient city were used to build Spanish colonial buildings. You can still see these ancient stones in the buildings today.
Mérida is a cultural center of the state with museums, art galleries, and plenty of amenities. However, the city also sees high rates of urban poverty in many areas. While the city has experienced economic growth well above the national average for Mexico, the sharp disparity between the rich and poor residents leaves many areas without regular access to dental care.
We were also able to travel to Hoctun, a small town nearly thirty miles outside the city. Here, we visited families and gave out humanitarian goods such as staple food items, clothing, and basic necessities after seeing patients. With a population of only about six thousand people not only is dental care nearly nonexistent but so are these amenities.
To see our doctors in action and peek into our service, check out our trip to Mérida, Yucatán!
Dental Volunteer Programs Are About the People We Help
During this amazing trip, our team was able to serve 125 patients without regular access to care. Many of the people we helped had never seen a dentist or had any professional oral care in their lifetime. We even had the opportunity to provide care to a woman in her eighties with her very first dental treatment.
For people in these areas who have never experienced professional dental care, the experience can be overwhelming. There are many unknowns such as unfamiliar people, languages, processes and oral health procedures. Fortunately, our team’s strong values of Compassion and Humility served us well. We had great success helping our patients overcome their anxiety and get the care they needed.
Most of our work on this trip focused on two things: improving oral hygiene and resolving pain. We provided general oral care and cleanings, as well as setting patients up for better home care habits. The restorative work centered largely on fillings and extractions including third molars. For many of these patients, timely extractions may save them from severe infections, abscess, and even systemic health impacts.
How Outreach Trips Improve Our Team
Dental volunteer programs give vital experience to new doctors. They give the doctors a common goal and significant shared experience and solidify bonds between team members. Participating in this deeply rewarding work not only helps us serve the underserved, but it can also change each clinician’s outlook on their place in the world. As Executive Director of Clinical Recruiting Jackie Brown put it:
“The humanitarian trip was one of the most amazing opportunities in my life. I felt a real sense of purpose and truly knew that we were impacting lives in a positive way! These were people who would have never had the chance to see an actual dentist and I was there working side-by-side with those doctors, serving those people. Not patients, but people. It’s so much more than just a job. This was the opportunity of a lifetime to fulfill my purpose in life – to serve others.”
However, the trips aren’t all work and no play! To decompress a bit between challenging days, the team took an afternoon excursion to Chichen Itza, a pre-Columbian city built by the Maya. The main attraction is an archeological site and the Temple of Kukulán. The team explored Maya ruins and learned about the ancient culture of the area before colonization. Many of the current residents in the area can trace their lineage back to these ancient roots.
Dental volunteer programs are a valuable activity that can help ensure career longevity and reignite passion for the calling. Wherever you land in your career, we hope you will seek out volunteer opportunities where you can. Schedule a call with a Recruiting Manager to learn more about joining the CDP team on our next humanitarian trip!