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Oasis Podcasts Professional Issues

Volunteering Dentistry: El Salvador Humanitarian Dental Mission

Combined pic JC & DBPodcast Icon SmallDr. John O’Keefe interviewed Drs. Jack Cottrell and Donna Brode about their recent experience with a humanitarian mission in El Salvador






Listen to the Audio Interview


Interview Highlights

  • The goal is to see everybody in line regardless of their condition and to practice the best dentistry we were taught in dental school and learned over the years.
  • It’s the most exhilarating experience: when we see these patients waiting for us in huge line ups, you look at the need in their eyes and feel that’s probably the thing that gives you the most exhilaration and if there was happiness that’s it; being able to help that person at that point of their life. 
  • There is nothing more meaningful than helping and showing children love and showing them that if they grow up with love, they will be able to give love in return and that is important for their future and how they look at life as they go on.
  • Dentists should be able to look at individuals in extreme need, extend a hand, and help them. These actions can start in one’s own backyard, with one’s own patients, one’s own community……the results are contagious!!!
  • Dentists who are interested in volunteerism could start with Speroway or the International College of Dentists which have a broad base of countries and missions.
  • Organizations like the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) could communicate better what is going on in terms of volunteerism, how dentists could get more involved.
  • It is important to think of dentistry as not just a silo onto itself, but that we are dealing with the individual’s overall health.


View the video of the El Salvador Humanitarian Mission

Read blog entries for the El Salvador Humanitarian Mission (PDF)

For more information on Speroway, click here

For more information on the International College of Dentists, click here.


  1. Elizabeth Vella Caruana April 30, 2014

    Awesomeness! You are awesome Dentists.

  2. Richard Ehrlich April 30, 2014

    Very interesting. I volunteered with International Health Outreach where we had a similar clinic in Belize, but on a smaller scale. We actually had it equipped with air/water abrasion, ozone systems etc as well as suction and compressors. We worked like crazy, putting in 12-14 hour days, but it was very rewarding to give back and do dentistry for people with a real need and real appreciation. Some had been on a bus for 5 hours and waited 8 hours for their appointment. I think 3 of us restored 2100 teeth and extracted about 90 in 5 days.


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