Weather Forecast


Local dentists provide care in the Dominican Republic

Outdoor examinations were performed by Dr. Ben Fravel and Dr. Brian Whisler on patients from a small town called Congrejo. (Submitted photos)1 / 6
Dr. Brian Whisler is shown with a young girl from a Haitian Educational charity called Sugar Kids.2 / 6
The team included, from left, Dr. Regan Brown, Dr. Dan Connors, Camille and Prue (MJ staff members), Courtney Myhr, Dr. Ben Fravel, Dr. Allen Lepinski, Stephanie Thompson, Dr. Brian Whisler and Lindsey Zemke.3 / 6
Dr. Regan Brown is treats a girl from the Mariposa Foundation.4 / 6
This is the area where the patients arrived prior to receiving care at the dental clinic.5 / 6
Courtney Myhr enjoys a moment in the monkey habitat feeding one of the over thirty squirrel monkeys.6 / 6

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

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.