In February 2012, our team embarked on a five-day dental/medical mission trip to the
Dominican Republic. For most of the poor who live in rural villages in the DR, basic
health and dental care is unavailable or financially out of reach. Many are in urgent
need of dental care, especially young children. Partnering with the local church, and a
small group of dental professionals from Santo Domingo, our goal was not only to treat
as many patients as possible during our 5 day visit, but to begin to lay the foundation
for a regular program that will lead to impoved health in the future.
Upon arriving in Catalina, the team quickly began setting up the clinic and making
preparations for the hundreds of patients who were expected to take advantage of the
free dental and/or medical care. Within hours, patients were lined up, streaming into the
clinic from the nearby villages. Young and old, they came. Single moms with babies in
their arms. Young children. Teens. A 100 year old man.
Each was greeted at the check-in table where cases were assessed, patient info was
recorded, and a number was assigned and given to the patient on a slip of paper - pink
for the medical clinic, blue for the dental clinic. The check-in process was organized,
efficient, and welcoming.
The team worked tirelessly, for 12 or more hours at a time, to care for each and every
patient. The doctors and nurses in the medical clinic treated everything from skin
infections, to allergies, to high blood pressure, to diabetes and other ailments. More
than one child was diagnosed and treated for pneumonia. Meanwhile, in the dental
clinic, there were extractions, fillings, cleaning and more. Toothbrushes and
toothpaste were distributed. Medication was dispensed to those who needed it (thanks to
our generous donors who donated thousands of dollars in medications). Instruction was
given on proper brushing and oral hygiene. In all, nearly 1000 patients were treated.
Diane Grabon, dental hygienist, shares her perspective below -
"Going to Catalina for our dental mission trip, I was hoping to make a difference by
touching people’s lives. I never expected that one of those lives being touched would
be mine. I would like to share the story of a young woman that I saw during our trip.
She was a young beautiful woman very much pregnant with 3 small children with her. On
the day she came to the clinic, she and her children were seen by the medical doctor.
I am not sure what they were treated for but I did see that the doctor prescribed
medications for her family which she got from our “pharmacy table”. Having her bag
filled with medicines, she made her way over to the dental side of the clinic. There,
her children had their teeth cleaned by the hygienists and 2 of the children were
treated by the dentists.
As a mom myself, I can only imagine how that woman felt that night as she lay in bed
thinking about that day.......
Her family was taken care of!
To know that her children were cared for in a way that she is not able to provide had
to be an incredible feeling for her. When I think of my trip to Catalina, I think of
that mom-and I cry.
What a wonderful experience! I am so grateful that I was a part of it!"
Diane Grabon, RDHS
HOH is planning future dental/medical mission trips and we hope to soon have our
equipped to provide regular dental care. If you are interested in
supporting or participating in a future medical mission trip please contact us for more
Visit our Photo Gallery for additional photos.