Dr. Diego Andrade provides oral hygiene instruction to a young child, a common practice during his mission trips. Many of the children he serves have never seen a toothbrush.
The Columbia University College of Dental Medicine (CUCDM) has an active “Global Health Externship Program” (GHE) in which more than 40% of the DDS students participate in a service mission to underserved countries such as Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Cambodia, and Philippines at some point during their enrollment. They can also participate in underserved communities in the US through the Indian Health Service (IHS). CDM faculty and residents accompany the students on these trips partnered with service organizations such as K.I.D.S. (Kids International Dental Services), Somos Amigos, and the IHS to provide necessary oral care to these underserved areas. A total of over 2500 patients are seen annually on these missions.
The goals of the CUCDM GHE Program include:
• Establishing a global presence at these locations
• Providing continuity of service for these communities
• Creating an awareness of and an appreciation for “dental philanthropy”
• Partnerships with strong philanthropic organizations with years of experience abroad
• Developing student cultural competency
• Providing care where access is difficult or non-existent
• Developing Professional Judgment and Self-Confidence