Spring Valley dentist offers services in Dominican Republic
SPRING VALLEY—Dr. Dan Connors of Spring Valley announced last week he’s joining a team of other dentists on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.
Connors and his assistant, Stephanie Thompson, were to leave Wednesday for Cabarete, where they were to donate their time, expertise and services to the people for five days. Connors was on a similar mission to the Dominican Republic last year and, in 2012, he was among a group of health care professionals offering their services to the people of Nicaragua.
This is the first year dental assistants are traveling with the dentists. Connors was quoted as saying he anticipates they’ll make the job a lot easier, helping with the patient flow and assisting with procedures. There will be an increased ability to see more patients and efficiency will improve with their help.
Connors was to be based at a clinic in Sosua, which he’s described as relatively well-equipped for a Third World country with four dental chairs. The clinic was set up by a multimillionaire from Tennessee who wanted to give back and, after visiting the Dominican Republic, fell in love with the people there. To raise funds, he created a tourist spot called the “Monkey Jungle,” offering opportunities for visitors to see spider monkeys in their natural habitat and try zip lines.
The group from Wisconsin was to mainly help young women through The Mariposa Foundation, an organization dedicated to equipping them with life skills outside prostitution. One day was to be scheduled for services to be offered anyone coming to the clinic.
Thompson said she expected to be shadowed, along with the other assistants, so they can teach people from the Dominican Republic about sterilization procedures, how to sanitize instruments and infection control techniques. The assistants were also to go into local schools to teach students about oral health and how to correctly brush their teeth.
Connors and Thompson agreed they feel called to help others and such trips are energizing. He plans to continue taking them for the rest of his career.
The Spring Valley Lions Club and WESTconsin Credit Union have donated toward their trip. These donations have helped pay for the airplane flights.