Because of the political unrest in Nicaragua, regrettably, the Foundation had to cancel the 2018 trip. If the problems aren't resolved in Nicaragua, we are making contingency plans to go elsewhere.
On October 15, 2016, Dr. Tom Rogers, the Board of Director’s Chair, opened the annual meeting. Doug Piper, one of the original founders of the Foundation, joined us for the meeting. The following is a recap of this gathering.
Elections: The current board and officers were unanimously re-elected. Brandon Woodruff, developer of the Foundation’s “Quick-Reference Guide” for our diabetes training initiative, was unanimously elected as a new board member.
Treasurer's Report: Jose Luís Mendoz presented the financial report and it was unanimously accepted.
Nicaragua 2016: During this year's 4-clinic days, approximately 800+ patients were treated. At Colegio Bautista, our oldest and largest clinic in Nicaragua, Drs. Hank Mercado, Tom Chen, and Ed Ko, had 8 treatment chairs staffed by hygiene and dental students from LLU and UNICA dental schools.
At the Mission of Hope Clinic, under direction of Drs. Paul Theilen and Tom Rogers, 7 chairs were filled 8-hours each day. This year, a sun screen was improvised over the treatment area to reduce the effects of intense sun experienced during past trips.
The Nathan Project continues to give dramatic results for special needs children whose dental care requires general anesthesia. Under a collaborative arrangement, Drs. Lenny Naftalin and Mike Mashni (anesthesiologists) and Drs. Mamiko Kuriya and Isabella Piedra (pediatric dentists) once again provided much needed treatment to these children at the Metropolitano Hospital in Managua.
The Sealant Study called "Nicaragua Smiles,"administered by UNCA’s dental students at Esquipulas, is a collaborative effort between UNICA and Dr. Brian Novy of DentaQuest Institute. Eight patients can be treated in the same time it would take to do one amalgam filling. A complete photographic record is kept for each of the 463 patients. So far, more than 3000 teeth have been sealed. The study has been very positive, demonstrating the value of caries prevention. The results of this ground-breaking study may be published by 2017.
Cura Coffee Company (cura.com): Cura continues to market for the Tierra Nueva Cooperative through its online sales and the Cura Coffee Club. Proceeds from the Coop's sale of coffee beans to Cura Coffee help sustain dental care for the Tierra Nueva community in Boaco. Cura recently entered a contract to become Point Loma Nazarene University's coffee supplier starting January, 2017, and hopes to develop additional contracts with other universities in the area. Cura is also opening “Cura Cafe,” a 1000-square-foot coffee shop in the Point Loma area, featuring Cura coffee.
Diabetes Initiative: We are proposing a 2-year collaborative project called “Two Drops for Hope” to determine if Type I diabetic children can be successfully treated with a 2 strip-a-day monitoring protocol in the poorer areas of Nicaragua where affordability of personal medical supplies is a critical issue. Essentially in these areas, diabetic children go untreated and suffer an early death. Our test would involve 100 diabetic children in 5 different, outlying areas. Components to the study would include: Education, Nutrition & Exercise, Psychological Support, and Study Documentation. We are also proposing that this study would be coordinated and led with the Ministry of Health, Dr. Narvaez (an endocrinologist at the national children’s hospital), a Nicaraguan parent association representative, a representative from UNICA and the Foundation.
The Foundation will help raise funds to build a clinic facility in Managua at the country’s children hospital campus. The Foundation has already begun providing much needed education to healthcare specialists throughout the country. The Foundation’s second educational trip is scheduled for November 7th, 2016.
Fund Raising Efforts: Last January, our appeal letter for the Diabetes Initiative donations was very successful. This made it possible to hire a grant writer to develop a proposal to build a 3500-square-foot Outpatient Pediatric Endocrinology Clinic on the children’s hospital campus in Managua. This clinic will be the focal point of the diabetes education and training initiative for juvenile diabetes treatment in Nicaragua.
Domestic Activities: Our Compassion Clinic at the Blessing Center in Redlands, California, is unique in that it is student-run, supervised by faculty from Loma Linda University’s School of Dentistry. Dental students from Loma Linda University’s Dental School do an extraordinary job, serving annually over 1000+ patients. This year, with the help of a prosthodontist, the clinic was expanded to include dentures.
On April 2nd, board members Drs. Jordan Buzzell and Thomas Fitzpatrick provided a free dental clinic as part of the Point Loma Nazarene University’s (PLNU) Festival of Health. This year's 17+ volunteers included general dentists, dental hygienists, and an oral surgeon who provided free dental care the underserved community. For the second-year, all portable dental equipment, chairs, and instruments were provided by the Foundation. Five PLNU undergraduate students provided a total of 50 hours of community service in the planning and operating of this clinic.
Drs. Fitzpatrick and Buzzell, through Cura Coffee's non-profit initiative, “Cura Smiles,” are seeking funds to develop a City Heights’ Dental Clinic in two empty rooms adjoining the space already occupied by Point Loma Nazarene University. They've raised $15,000 to date, and still need an additional $10,000. Dr. Fitzpatrick's private practice has donated two dental chairs.
Website Development: This year, we developed a “branded look” to our website, stationery, and brochure. The new website is easy to navigate, has links to the student website, a blog section, and professional photography.
2017 Goals: The board agreed that the Foundation’s Diabetes Initiative in Nicaragua will be an important focus while continuing our other ongoing projects locally and abroad.
Janet Johnson, Administrative Secretary
On July 25, 2016, FWWH Board member Marcella Hardy-Peterson and Kim Robbins, a volunteer, departed for Managua, Nicaragua. The purpose of the trip was to commence the Foundation’s Type I Juvenile Diabetes education initiative in Nicaragua.
Our goal was to educate the country’s health care professionals (doctors, nurses, and para-professionals) and parents of juvenile diabetics on the various aspects of recognition and care of Juvenile Diabetes. We prepared a draft “quick reference guide” in Spanish to assist with this education initiative.
On July 26, we joined Dr. Frederico Narvaez, an endocrinologist from the country’s national children’s hospital, for an all-day presentation at UNICA for 50 parents of diabetic children.
On July 27, the same conference and topics were repeated for 45 attendees from Matagalpa and other outlying areas of Nicaragua.
We made a presentation to 100+ dental and medical students on July 28 at UNICA concentrating on disease recognition, hypoglycemia, and treatment options.
Traveling to Matagalpa on July 29th, we presented our program to 40 fourth-year medical students from UNAN-Managua, 8 parents, and 2 pediatric physicians about the psychological components and obstacles to treatment. We also discussed the prospect for a 'student-run, doctor led' clinic at Matagalpa similar to our New Hope Free Clinic run by dental students from Loma Linda University Dental School in Redlands, California, and led by doctors from our Foundation. Upon departing Matagalpa, we left them with some much needed, diabetic supplies.
We are proposing a 2-year collaborative project called “Two Drops for Hope” to determine if Type I diabetic children can be successfully treated with a 2 strip-a-day monitoring protocol in the poorer areas of Nicaragua where affordability is an issue. Essentially in these areas, diabetic children go untreated and suffer an early death. Our test would involve 100 diabetic children in 5 different, outlying areas. Components to the study would include: Education, Nutrition & Exercise, Psychological Support, and Study Documentation. We are proposing that this study would be coordinated and led with the Ministry of Health, Dr. Narvaez, Marcella Hardy-Peterson, parent association representatives, a representative from UNICA and others.
On July 30th, we returned to the United States with increased hopes of helping improve Type I diabetic care for children in Nicaragua.
Our next Nicaragua trip will November 7-13, 2016.M
Marcella Hardy-Peterson, DNP
This year’s trip was wonderful in so many ways. In spite of losing one dental clinic day due to supplies being held at airport customs, our clinics ultimately finished with great success. All our dental providers worked tirelessly to treat as many patients as possible. We met adversity with determination and love … and won! Our Diabetic Training Initiative made great strides and many doors were opened. The need and suffering is so great. If ever I have seen God orchestrating success, this initiative leaves no doubt. Every meeting ended with a special bond created. Brandon Woodruff and Marcella Hardy-Peterson worked tirelessly putting together diabetic training plans that were agreed upon by all participants. Their July 2016 trip already looks like it will be a great success. I would like to give a quick overview.
Colegio Bautista: Successfully operating since 2000, this is our largest and oldest dental clinic. We are now seeing the ‘children of children’ that we treated in the past. Under the direction of Dr. Hank Mercado, Dr. Tom Chen and Dr. Ed Ko, this year we saw several hundred patients. Our staff operated eight (8) dental chairs, two (2) by hygiene students and six (6) by Loma Linda University and UNICA dental students.
Mission of Hope: The clinic’s reputation among this under-served Nicaraguan community has increased under the direction of Dr. Paul Theilen and Dr. Tom Rogers. Seven (7) chairs were filled with patients eight hours-a-day. The heat is intense and much of the work is usually conducted in the direct sun. This year, the permanent mission staff had improvised a sun screen that worked spectacularly. Paul can attest to the wonderful relationship that he has with the staff that made this improvement a reality.
Esquipulas: The collaborative research efforts between Dr. Brian Novy and UNICA demonstrate the value of caries (tooth decay) prevention and are showing very positive results. Brian estimates that publication of this study is fast approaching.
Nathan Project: This clinic at the Metropalitano Hospital continues to show dramatic results treating “special needs” children requiring general anesthesia for their desperately needed dental care. Under the watchful eyes of Dr. Lenny Naftalin and Dr. Mike Mashni providing general anesthesia and pediatrics dentists, Dr. Mamiko Kuriya and Dr. Isabella Piedra, these special children received excellent treatment … a labor of love given by caring doctors.
Diabetic Initiative: Brandon Woodruff, RN, and Marcella Hardy-Peterson, DNP, led this initiative. They had a full schedule of planning meetings which kept expanding as the week went on. The enthusiasm of these two professionals was infectious. Everyone is looking forward to next month's (July) in-country diabetic training to over 100 Nicaraguan physicians and registered nurses.
Having treated over 2,300 patients, this was another great trip even though we had many challenges.
Dr. Mark Carpenter
On Friday morning June 10th, at 8:30 am, the main contingent of our 2016 Nicaragua Team departed Redlands, California, enroute to LAX and then on to Managua, Nicaragua.
This year’s group is comprised of 13 dentists, including 2 dental anesthesiologists, 2 pediatric dentists, 13 dental students from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, 2 Registered Nurses, and 10 support and logistics staff. Joining our group of dentists and dental students will be 8 dental students from Universidad Catolica (UNICA) School of Dentistry in Managua. In total, we have approximately 46 people assisting the Foundation in this year’s effort.
Dr. Brian Novy, a Foundation board member and Director of Practice Improvement at the DentaQuest Institute, is traveling from Boston, Massachusetts, to continue his work at our Esquipulas Clinic on the outskirts of Managua. Dr. Novy, in conjunction with the Foundation, has taken the study of early childhood caries internationally. The chosen patient population is the children of the public school in Esquipulas.
This year’s trip marks an important milestone in Phase I of our Diabetes Initiative. Marcella Hardy-Peterson, DNP, and Brandon Woodruff, RN, are joining our travel party and will be meeting with one of our main partners, the Asociacion de Padres de Nino y Jovenes Diabeticos de Nicaragua (APNJDN) and their families.
In addition, Marcella and Brandon will be presenting their “draft” Type I diabetic educational material to Dr Frederico Narvaez, an endocrinologist and our point of contact at the La Muscota Hospital (the government children’s hospital) in Managua and other government officials.
After the review and approval process is complete, Marcella and Brandon will return to Nicaragua in late July to begin the training to approximately 100 Nicaraguan medical staff. Using the “train-the-trainer” concept, they will also train and their provide educational material to a small, select group of Nicaraguan medical staff so they can conduct further training throughout the county.
This year, the foundation had a booth at the convention. We had our banner as a backdrop, streaming pictures of Nicaragua and domestic free clinics from over the years, our brochures and a student to man the booth. It was a good first event for the FWWH booth. We will take advantage of other opportunities like it to share our message.
Dr. Mark Carpenter
On Saturday, February 20th, we participated again in the LULAC Clinic in Riverside providing dentistry for the under served. We worked with LULAC (The League of United Latin American Citizens) Riverside Council 3190 and Los Medicos Voladores. We provided chairs, portable dental unit, compressors, portable x-ray equipment and lots of volunteers. We had volunteers come on Friday to set up equipment and take them down after the clinic on Saturday. We had four dentists, three Registered Dental Assts. Expanded Function (RDAEF2), and a dozen or more dental students. It was a great success. Many miracles happened and all were blessed. There were many special stories, but the most meaningful to me was the story of a young lady whose brother is trying to come back from drug addiction. He was in great pain and was unable to get help in Arizona. She paid for his train ticket to come to this clinic hoping for help. His diagnosis was extraction of all his remaining teeth. We said that we would help and in walked Dr. Eric Chen, who is now an implant resident with excellent oral surgery skills. He extracted all the teeth, sutured the patient up after having contoured the bone to receive new dentures. His dentures will be made at New Hope Clinic when he returns to permanently live in Southern California. She was beside herself with joy … so were we!
Dr. Mark Carpenter
During our annual dental trip to Nicaragua in June 2015, the Asociacion de Padres de Nino y Jovenes Diabeticos de Nicaragua (APNJDN) introduced us to Rosa L. who is 23 years old. Rosa was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age eleven. Her mother has Type 2 diabetes and was diagnosed at the same time as her daughter.
Although her paternal grandmother died of diabetes, Rosa is the only one of her two sibling with diabetes. During our visit, Rosa was suffering with a severe infection - sores and ulcers all over her body. She cannot be hospitalized at the specialized children’s hospital, “La Mascota,” because she is a young adult and they only hospitalize children under 15 years of age.
Rosa medicates herself on a fixed dosage. She infrequently monitors her levels because she has no means to buy on her own test strips. She tests based upon how she feels and on how many test strips APNJDN can give her. Rosa’s mother cannot work and her father works in construction whenever he can find employment. Asked about her quality of life, she said she has mobility problems and is unable to find a job. (under “Projects, see Diabetes Initiative”)
Author: Gary Underwood
One month before our June 2015 interview with Erelis P. L., a 3-years old with Downs Syndrome child, Erelis was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. She lives in Madriz, a rural town in northern Nicaragua. Erelis’ mother has to walk 7 kilometers with Erelis to get to Madriz so they can a take a bus to the capital, Managua. The only available health facility that can provide Erelis proper care and insulin is in Managua. The hospital staff in Managua gave Erelis two jars of insulin that should last until her September return appointment. A close cousin of the mother also has diabetes. Erelis’ father is farm worker and the mother does not work. It is undetermined if Erelis’ family will be able to adequately monitor her blood sugar and adjust her insulin levels. (under “Projects, see Diabetes Initiative”)