This is an archived article. For the latest news, go to the Advance Homepage.
For more archives, go to the Advance Archive/Search Page

UConn dental students to run clinic
along the Amazon River
March 1, 1999

Imagine providing basic dental care under the searing tropical sun without any electricity or modern equipment. That's exactly what 16 dental students from the UConn Health Center will do this month when they spend a week running clinics for underserved people in villages along the Amazon River in Peru.

Students will be accompanied by faculty members from the Health Center. They will stay in a small Peruvian village, Tamshiaycu, and travel down the river every day to different villages, where they will provide critically needed dental care to local residents in makeshift clinics - without any electricity or high-tech equipment.

All participants are paying their own expenses, and will receive academic credits for their work.

"The trip will give students a different perspective of dentistry from what they are used at the Health Center," says Howard I. Mark, associate clinical professor of oral and maxiofacial surgery, who is one of the coordinators of this year's trip. "Every day, the students will perform a worthwhile service for the native population, and at the same time, they will develop confidence in their skills and learn about a new culture," he says.

Along with Mark and his wife, Sheila, who is a dental hygienist, students will be joined by Michael T. Goupil, assistant professor of oral and maxiofacial surgery at the Health Center; dentists Albert Natelli and Douglas Burbach; and surgical assistant Rosalyn Loss. They will leave for Peru on March 8.

This the fourth year UConn Health Center dental students have traveled to Peru to run the clinics. The dental school has a long tradition of service to underserved communities in Connecticut, and abroad.

Thanks to the generosity of donors, including Adolph Bushell, a dentist in West Hartford, the Health Center delegation will be bringing dental supplies with them. Donations are still being sought, however, for antibiotics, oral medicines and other supplies. For information, call Goupil at (860) 679-2583.

Maureen McGuire