Local dentists provide care in the Dominican Republic
Five local dentists and three dental assistants headed to the Dominican Republic on April 30 to provide basic dental care to the impoverished. They went to the mountain region south of Puerto Plata while working in the Leon/Laroche clinic.
Included in the group were Dr. Brian Whisler from St. Croix Valley Dentistry, Dr. Ben Fravel, Dr. Allen Lepinski, Courtney Myhr and Lindsey Zemke from River Heights Endodontics, Dr. Regan Brown from The Oral Surgery Center and Dr. Dan Connors and Stephanie Thompson from Spring Valley Dentistry.
The Leon/Laroche clinic is a unique facility that was established in 2009 on the North coast of the Dominican Republic to deliver medical and dental care to the low-income inhabitants of the region. The mission is especially unique in the sense that it is self-sustained through its affiliation with an ecotourism and zip-line adventure park called the Monkey Jungle.
The clinic consists of four dental operatories along with several medical treatment rooms and a pharmacy where care is delivered by volunteer teams.
The Monkey Jungle depends on volunteers to provide medical and dental services as well as the donated dental supplies that they bring, to allow them to maximize the number of patients that they can care for. Since opening its doors in 2010, the clinic has served over 10,000 patients.
In addition to the zip lining adventure, Monkey Jungle does, in fact, have a monkey habitat where guests can have up close interactions with 36 squirrel monkeys.
More information on the organization can be found at http://www.monkeyjungledr.com.
The group of local dentists helped a number of people while they were in the Dominican Republic. They treated 75 young girls from the Mariposa Center for Girls, 30 children from a Haitian educational shelter, and over 100 local residents who came seeking a combination of urgent and routine treatment needs over a four day period.