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License to Serve

October 31, 2011

The whole brigade after dinner at the Mayor of Tocoa's house.

Teamwork: Dr. Mancewicz is doing a root canal as his son Steve (class of 2011), Ashley Green (class of 2014), and Andrew Baker (class of 2014) assist.

Dentistry is more than just a career, rather, it is a way in which we can serve our fellow brothers and sisters.  It is not an obligation, it is an opportunity.  The two most life-changing and inspirational weeks of my life have not been at the dental school, they have not been in Michigan, or even in the United States.  They have been in Honduras, with my classmates, providing dental care to the under-served in the name of Jesus.

This past February, 13 dental students, 1 hygiene student, and 2 spouses traveled to Tocoa, Honduras on our third annual “dental brigade.”  We drove 4 hours in the “Cristianos en Odontologia” school bus and set up our portable dental clinic in a school gymnasium.  It seemed as if everyone in the community knew we were coming.  They began lining up outside the clinic hours before we would arrive in the morning.  In four days of 10 hour clinics, we treated almost 800 patients, with care ranging from extractions and cleanings to fillings and root canals.  The gratitude of the community was quite apparent, we were interviewed on the national news and were invited to dinner at the mayor’s house for three consecutive nights.  He had a monkey, his name was Muñeco.

Students from the Christian Dental Association first began partnering with Medmissions  in 2009 to work alongside Honduran dentists and dental students.  We are now in the process of organizing our fourth annual trip.  Each year, students continue to give up their Winter break and devote their time off to serving those in need.  One would think that this may not be the most popular way to spend our breaks…think again.  With each consecutive year, this dental brigade seems to have more and more individuals who are interested.  What could these students possibly be thinking?  Long hours of back-breaking work instead of laying on the beach in Mexico or shredding some pow in Colorado?

I cannot speak to why other students would make this choice, but I can sure speak for myself.  There is nothing more fulfilling in life than giving from the bottom of your heart without expecting anything in return.  While this may not be the most successful business model for your dental practice, I believe that it is a great outlook to have in life.  Its not about doing free dental work, it is much bigger than that.  It’s about putting the needs of our patients before our own.

If you are interested in learning more about our upcoming trip, offering advice or support, donating dental supplies, or providing financial support to our group, please email

1st Peter 4:11

Luke Daining is a D4 and president of the Christian Dental Association, one of our many student groups. For more information, see:

One Comment
  1. November 2, 2011 12:47 am

    Students doing great job for the people, Really it feels good when you do work for others without expecting anything in return.

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