As a nation with the lowest GDP in the western hemisphere, and a highly vulnerable political and natural climate, Haiti is a country with great need. Related to dentistry, it is reported that approximately 300 dentists serve the entire Haitian population: upwards of 10 million individuals. Needless to say, dental student volunteers are extremely well received and are considered valuable assets for providing oral health care and education. With more than 35 years of combined experience serving Haiti, trip supervisors Dr. Carlson and Dr. Steele are invaluable in helping students understand how to best provide treatment to the local patients. Students are able to treat patients through the in-country sponsor, which has a medical and dental clinic in Vaudreuil with which we collaborate.
IUSD has even developed a strong working relationship with the North Haiti Dental Association, and annually shares a cross-cultural social and educational event with a group of Haitian dentists in Cap Haitien. The course’s favorable student to faculty ratio allows a high degree of interaction, teaching, and learning opportunities for trip participants. In addition, the course’s focus on direct clinic experience and implementation of a deeper understanding of Haiti’s rich history, language, and culture therefore grants students an immersive and life-altering experience.