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American Student Dental Association chapter to help dental patients in Guatemala

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July 20, 2018

A group of 20 dental students from Detroit Mercy’s chapter of the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) will travel to Guatemala at the end of July to help patients with important dental care needs. But to get there, they need some assistance. 

The Detroit Mercy group consists of dental students, dentists and a hygienist who will make the trip to provide free dental care to an underserved community in Guatemala. To this end, the group seeks assistance from the community to help support this trip and ensure that patients in the town of Chichicastenango, Guatemala, receive critical dental care.

Chichicastenango is located in the Guatemalan highlands and is plagued by hardship and severe poverty. The Detroit Mercy ASDA group anticipates caring for 300 pediatric and adult patients. Many arrive at their clinic location with excruciating tooth pain that hinders their ability to eat and sleep. The group will provide pain relief, cleanings, fluoride treatments and extractions. In addition, they will visit nearby schools to spend time with students and educate them through oral hygiene instruction. Everyone they meet will receive toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss.

Detroit Mercy Dental students must fund the entire cost of their trip through their own means. Trip costs include the flight, transportation and lodging, as well as supplies. Through this crowdfunding effort, the community can make a donation of any size toward the $2,000 goal by July 31, 2018. Thus far, the group has raised $1,045 through several donations. 

For Dental students, this opportunity is one not available to most students in the U.S. who are studying dentistry.  

Megan Width, a third year dental student, has participated in a previous trip and finds it to be extremely impactful.

“I have learned that this overall experience is very heartwarming and that these communities are exceptionally grateful for the services that we provide,” she said. “I am so thankful for this wonderful opportunity to gain hands-on experience, see the world and impact communities in need, one smile at a time.”

Fourth year dental student Nicole Hsieh agrees. This is her second trip to Guatemala.

Since coming home from last year's trip, I've been looking forward to the next. Our ASDA team provided care to hundreds of patients, many of whom have never been to a dentist. As mission trip chair, I got to bring together another group of amazing students and faculty. They are some of the most caring, hardworking people I know. Together, we aim to make a positive impact on people's lives and improve the oral health of this underserved community. In less than two months, we'll be back, and I'm feeling very grateful for this opportunity to continue serving the people of Chichicastenango.”

For those interested in supporting the Detroit Mercy ASDA students traveling to Guatemala, please visit https://impact.udmercy.edu/project/10570 to learn more about how you can help.

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