So you’ve probably heard about our Jamaica Dental Outreach Program. We’ve written articles about our experiences throughout this website, as well as published numerous articles HERE.
Here’s what you need to know if you want to participate this year (keeping in mind that priority is given to past volunteers, so you may be put on a waiting list):
Next Steps: contact me (Michael@dentistlawyers.ca | 647.680.9530) and I’ll give you additional details and answer any more questions you have. If we are full (and we’re almost there), your name will be put on a waiting list.
I’m pleased to share with you my article about last year’s Jamaica Dental Outreach Trip, which is being published in the January edition of Oral Health magazine. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the stories (some funny, some sad). If you’re interested in coming down later this year, shoot me an email and I’ll put you on the possible list for next year. We do have a lot of interest already and preference is given to past volunteers. The dates for 2018 are looking like September 1-9 (to be confirmed).
Click HERE to read about our 2016 Jamaica Dental Outreach trip.
Click HERE to read all of our publications.
I’m pleased to announce that our 2017 Jamaica Dental Outreach Program is ready to start registering participant. Hands down, and to steal the words of another volunteer, “It’s the best 10 days of the year for me. And I look forward to coming every day!” Last year, we had another fantastic group come down; they met as strangers at the airport in Toronto, but after 10 days of hard / rewarding work, eating together, swimming together, and having fun together, they came together as friends for life. “Out of Many: One People” – the Jamaican national motto.
WHAT TO EXPECT: to learn more about how the program came to be, click HERE. If you want to know what to expect, you can read this article HERE. There are also lots of blogs on this website that go into further detail. Or you can just call me (647.680.9530) and I’d be happy to chat.
So with that said, here are the details for the 2017 program:
REGISTERING: first and foremost, contact me (647.680.9530 | email@example.com) and tell me you’re interested in participating. After that, you’ll need to REGISTER with Great Shape! Inc. (more about them below) and confirm your flight by contacting Maria Ines (more on her below). That’s it! It’s best to have 1 or 2 more people come down with you (for rooming / accommodation), but it’s not necessary.
WHEN: Saturday, September 2, 2017 to Monday September 11, 2017
WHERE: Sandals Negril (note: this is an adults-only resort; previously, it’s been at Beaches, but it was switched this year to Sandals). Now, just a quick note on the resort. It’s a 5* plus, all inclusive luxury resort. In the past, dentists were able to bring their families (because we were staying at a Beaches resort, which is the family-friendly version of Sandals, owned by Sandals). I was a little disheartened to hear that I could not bring my family down, but my wife (Paris) is very supportive and is letting me come down (away from her and the 2 kids for 10 days) to help run this program I love so much. I owe her big time. And for those dentists with young families who were hoping to come down this year, all I can say is: we are very grateful to the Sandals Foundation for all that they’ve done in the past 14 years for running this program and perhaps they’ll allow us to do it at a Beaches in future years!
FLIGHTS: I’ve secured flights (group rate) with WestJet through Maria Ines of Flight Centre (she’s awesome! I’ve been using her to book flights / vacations for my family many years and I always follow her recommendations). Cost is ~$620 (taxes included) roundtrip airfare. Participants will need to contact Maria and give her their name (as it appears in their passports) and payment details. Here’s Maria’s contact info:
Maria Ines – Assistant Team Leader | Flight Centre FC Groups at Heartland
6045 Mavis Road, Unit 2 | Mississauga, Ontario L5R 4G6
(Phone) 905-290-0235 | (Toll Free) 1866 291 5753 | (Email) firstname.lastname@example.org
Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00am-6.00pm
PROJECT FEE: Each volunteer is required to pay a project fee to Great Shape! Inc. (the U.S. not for profit that makes the program possibly by setting up the dental practices, dealing with transportation, training, and helping us do what we need to do). The fee this year is USD$850. Note: it’s typically 3 people to a room and we only have 11 rooms, so if you’re a couple, you will need to pay for the THIRD PERSON not to be there. So 3 project fees, even if you’re only 2 people.
OTHER COSTS: there are no other costs other than paying for your flight and project fee(s).
SUPPLIES: dentists and hygienists are asked to send / bring enough sundries / disposables to allow them to treat about 75 patients for the week. To make things easier, if you’re able to get the supplies to my office, I can add to our large shipment container (which Henry Schein, Patterson and K-Dental have donated generously in the past for). Dentists can bring their favourite handpieces; hygienists can bring their favourite scalers (although they do have cavitrons down there).
Note: Priority will go to past volunteers; if you’re a new volunteer, please contact me about participating.
I look forward to seeing you all down there; doing good work and having too much fun.
I’m pleased to announce that Oral Health Office magazine has just published my article entitled “Mission 2 Jamaica”, which talks about our 10-day dental outreach program in Jamaica this past September (3-12). You’ll see some pics, read some stories about how we were better prepared to go down this year, and you’ll also read (and maybe tear up or laugh out loud) about what happened at the clinic and back at the resort. Enjoy:
FYI, you can read all of our published articles HERE.
This is the third blog about our second dental outreach trip to Jamaica. Here’s the first blog, wherein I mainly talked about preparing to go down and how much better we were at it (compared to 2015!). Here’s the second blog, wherein I talked about clinical set up, equipment failures, and how we adapted to make the best of the situation. Now, in this blog, I’m going to be sharing only a LITTLE bit of the some of the fun we had at the clinics and back at the resort. In the next blog, I’ll talk about some of the shock and awe that we saw at the clinics. And in the final blog, I’ll discuss reverse culture shock.
Having Fun… Perhaps Too Much Fun!
I can’t divulge everything; you’ll just have to come down to experience the fun yourself. I do recall Dr. Mille Calko saying it was the funniest 10 days of her life and that she’s never laughed so hard!
Working Hard / Playing Hard
I don’t think there was a day when I went to bed before 1:00 a.m. And yet everyday I was up around 6:30 a.m., ready to get started on the day. I think I can speak for all of us: we were running on adrenaline every day. Some of us got sick after a few days because our bodies were tired and we were just pushing them to the extreme. I mean… think about it… during clinical days, we would get back to the resort around 5:00 p.m. and then go to the bar, grab a patty, hit the ocean, then go have dinner, and then hit the club, etc. Do that for a few days and you’ll understand why some of us were getting sick. We ended up loading up on soup and antibiotics to get us through the week. But it worked! Some of the volunteers got home and, when they finally gave their bodies a chance to recover from the adrenaline rush, their bodies turned against them and got them sick for a few days!
Here’s the tiny boat team Grange Hill (plus Dr. Jackie Geroche) took to Rick’s Cafe one evening. What a ride!
The World Famous Rick’s Cafe! Only Dr. Joseph Fava was brave enough to jump the 60 feet! Dr. Christina Bodea and husband Stefan Atalick jumped from the lower level.
And I don’t want you to think that there was a clear separation between work and play. We played on the way to and from the clinics. We also played at the clinics. For example, at Grange Hill, we played music on the van ride, played music at our clinic, and sometimes we took photos and posed with patients after a treatment. Our group theme song was…. Ghostbusters! Why? Because that’s what my son Michael currently loves as his favourite song. So I just kept playing it and we kept signing it.
Over at Little London, they were singing Christmas Carols like Let it Snow and Jingle Bells. Sometimes, while waiting for a patient, Dr. Irish Malapitan and Jazz Chohan would start doing ‘booty bounce’ dances at the clinic. All of these things made patients laugh and feel more comfortable. Here’s what it looked like
The official slogan for team Little London was Bar – Patty – Ocean. Here’s how it came about, as per Dr. Irish Malapitan: “We were on the bus; we were figuring out what we were going to do next. Oh no let’s go to the bar. No let’s go to the ocean. It was a time we could as a clinic group, think about the day and trouble shoot about how we were going to get better. By Friday we had it down to a science.”
We had fun, regardless of where we were of what we were doing. Back at the resort, we would do things together like play “Apples to Apples” at Cafe de Paris; go for a stroll by the beach late at night; hit the water park and go down the slides; hop on a boat and head out to Rick’s Cafe to jump 60 feet into the water (for the record, only Dr. Joseph Fava did this!).
I think we were having too much fun. But that’s what made it work. That’s what kept us motivated. To get through the hot days, poor ergonomic conditions, lack of available instruments and equipment failures.
We had a group of characters who would tell us incredible stories (like Dr. Mary Berkmortel or Dr. Jacqueline Geroche); we had funny nicknames for lots of people (like Candlestick for Stefan Atalick and Dr. Propa Touch for Utech dental grad student Tevin Carter). Sufficed to say, there was a lot of love in the air. And it all started from the beginning of the trip.
Some of the Nicknames
So apparently, “Irish” means potato in Patois. And that’s why a patient thanked “Dr. Potato” when referring to Dr. Irish Malapitan. Papa Joe explained at breakfast early in the week that Jamaicans referred to rustic potatoes as Irish and from that day it just stuck.
“My Man Child”
This name was given by Dr. Irish Malapitan to Jason Brown (Henry Schein sales manager). Basically, when team Little London was deciding on who was going to assist who, Dr. Irish said that she would take Jason Brown (a completely inexperienced assistant). “He’s my man child” said Dr. Irish.
According to Jason: “Dr. Irish and I clicked from the onset. Over the five days, I learned how she worked and what she needed. By the end of the week, we were able to practice four-handed dentistry. Doctor Irish was very patient and I have a lot of respect for her.”
Jason Brown (a.k.a. Dr. Irish Malapitan’s Man Child) and Dr. Irish Malapitan treating a patient at Little London
Dr. Potato (Dr. Irish Malapitan) with her Man Child (Jason Brown) and dental hygienist Jazz Chohan in the back
Dr. Propa Touch
So on the first day of clinic, I was going around and asking everyone how they were doing; whether they needed anything; how much time they thought they had left before I could bring them another patient. When I was talking to UTech Dental Grad Tevin Carter (which DMC LLP sponsored to be there), I asked him if that was going to be a difficult extraction. His response: “No. It just needs the propa touch”. And it was like a light shining over me: he would be called “Dr. Propa Touch”. I would henceforth introduce him as Tevin, aka “Dr. Propa Touch”. Everyone laughed.
Dr. Propa Touch (a.k.a. Tevin Carter) with dental hygienist Melissa Brunette and her mom Christine Martel
I’m sure the name will stick because… during our 2015 mission trip, when we were volunteering, we had a UTech dental grad student named Grantley Grant. I saw him spend over an hour with a difficult extraction. The cap had snapped and he was left with a bunch of roots. He asked me to bring him some instruments – east / west elevator, etc. I had no idea what he was looking for. I eventually brought him the right tools, which I called ‘a scooper’. And when “Dr. Scoops” (who was sweating it out trying to scoop out those roots using his trusted scooper) finally finished, everyone was overjoyed! “Dr. Scoops” or “Scoops” for short stuck with Grantley. Apparently, in St. Lucia in July 2016, Grantley was there. And he was still known as “Dr. Scoops”. Ha ha ha! Love it!
P.S. Can you feel the love?
Volunteers + Papa Joe going for a stroll at night at the resort.
Team Little London on the last day back at the resort.
Dr. Irish Malapitan, dental hygienist Jazz Chohan and dental hygiene student (Oregon) Sandra Busch out for a stroll in the rain after clinic.
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