Notes from Honduras – June 2023

June 29, 2023

In the early 2000’s a visitor to El Hogar from the United States, Dr. Jim Campi started the work to equip an area in the academic building on our elementary campus as a dental clinic so we would be able to offer free dental services to our students.  In 2015, Advent Health Sharing Smiles accepted an invitation from Dr. Campi to join in partnership with El Hogar to create a fully functional and sustainable dental clinic.

Over the years, Sharing Smiles and El Hogar have been working together to develop a first-class dental clinic that, under the leadership of Dr. Nora Nuñez, offers restorative and preventative dental care to all of our students, free of charge. Both organizations share the dream that if we can change the way our students view oral hygiene and overall wellness, we can improve their wellbeing and quality of life.  We believe that by working together we can achieve this dream. Dr. Nora is a visionary and is leading our dental clinic to an exciting future, with plans to run the clinic under a model that helps us become more self-sustainable while providing much needed dental care not just for our students, but also for members of our wider community.  Dr. Nora is also passionate about creating educational and professional opportunities for aspiring young adults as they graduate from El Hogar. 

This month, we held our inaugural dental assistant training certification program.  The experiential 25-hour training introduced participants to the basics of oral health and the basic functions of all aspects of a dental clinic, and more specifically, the invaluable role of a dental assistant.  The curriculum was developed and presented in partnership by two dental assistants from Sharing Smiles, as well as Dr. Nora and Dr. Victoria and Dr. Carlos, two dentists from a local university completing their social service at El Hogar. The training was a great success, with four graduates and a plethora of opportunities to enhance dental care in Tegucigalpa and beyond. 

As we develop this program and offer it again in the future, we will offer spots to our 12th grade students as a way for them to explore different vocational opportunities especially if they are interested in entering the health field. 

In Honduras, there is no official dental assistant training program, so we believe that this program will not only open doors to potential employment opportunities for our students, but also make an impact on dental care in Honduras.   We are excited about the possibility of including the dental assistant training program in the curriculum of nurse assistant programs in Honduras and partnering with local dentists to improve their practices and patient experience during dental visits.

Thanks to El Hogar’s partnership with Sharing Smiles, and a team of passionate Honduran professionals, we are making a difference in the smiles of our students and dental care in Honduras. 

Next time you are visiting El Hogar, consider making an appointment in our dental clinic, maybe one of our graduates will be assisting Dr. Nora!

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