Dentists for humanity
Dr. Sandy Lor believes that community service and giving back to your community is very important. She has a passion for helping others and making this world a better place, one tooth at a time, one person at a time. Dr. Lor feels that through her dentistry, she can help patients find their confidence, improve their quality of life, and ultimately help patients lead healthier lives. Throughout her dental career, Dr. Sandy Lor has volunteered with Dentists for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that offers dental services to underserved populations in the world (https://www.dentistsforhumanity.org), on their mission trips to Haiti in 2017 and 2018. Dr. Lor has plans to continue to volunteer with Dentists for Humanity in the future.
Dr. Lor recalled her time in Haiti with Dentists for Humanity in the following passage:
“My colleagues and I have prepared all year for our mission trip to Haiti. We had taken global service courses, presented to our peers about our goals and outlines of our trip, and learned some dental terminology in Haitian Creole. It was hard to imagine what life in Haiti would be like and how our dental set up would be, but before we knew it, as soon as we landed, our service team was informed we would start treating patients right away. As our van pulled into the driveway, we were met by a line of local community members and groups of orphans from orphanages that waited all day for our arrival. Each day each member was assigned a role on a rotating schedule to assure efficiency and ease of our workflow. Many local members traveled near and far to receive dental treatment with Dentists for Humanity. At the end of the day, every member of the team sat together for team dinner and reflection time with discussions led by Dr. Soo Woo Kim and Dr. Carol Yun.
Communication played a huge role in our days in Haiti, as it plays a huge role in our daily lives. It was very important that providers communicated with one another and asked for help when help was needed. Although providers and patients spoke different languages, there were interpreters available that helped with triage, translation, and post operative instructions. I was impressed by how quickly my colleagues and I were able to pick up some of the native language in a short amount of time. I saw the appreciation and comfort in my patients’ eyes when I spoke to them in their native tongue. It was beautiful to see how we were all able to connect through body language and emotions, even though we could not speak the same language well.
While our team was there to help the community, it occurred to me that this community was also here to help us too, personally and professionally. One of the most important things that I was reminded of was that we are all human. Regardless of where we were born, how we were raised, or which culture we identified as, we all had more in common with each other than we thought.
I cannot control many things in life, but there are some things that I can control and that is how I treat people. During this trip, I learned that kindness goes a long way. I have always wanted to be a better global citizen and help address public health concerns locally and globally. Being caught up in day to day activities left little time to reflect and plan how I could become a better global citizen. I see how practicing kindness to those around me and those in need will make a difference in the lives of others. Through my interactions with my patients in Haiti, I knew that I had a positive iimpact in my patients’ lives and I could feel that my patient knew that they too, impacted my life as well.
I am inspired by Dr. Yun and Dr. Kim’s commitment to serve globally and locally. Dr. Carol Yun and Dr. Soo Woo Kim are daily reminders that it is possible to be a compassionate health care provider, a friend, a mother, father, sister, brother, and a good human being all at the same time. My dental service trips with Dentists for Humanity are timeless to me. Although the team members are different every year, we have the same goal and mission and work ethic. This trip will always be special to me and has helped me see my own potential impact on the world.”