When I first heard the term global oral health, I started thinking about the parts that make up this term in the mindset of how we as a society are lacking health care services. Through my time here in DeRouen Center and my other volunteer services in the area, I’ve come to a realization that “global” starts from right where I am.
As one of the cities with the highest immigrant and homelessness population, Seattle is greatly suffering from a lack of health care services for these individuals that are need. I am grateful for DeRouen Center for allowing me to discover that my immediate neighborhood is part of the globe and there is just as much help is needed as there is in the other side of the globe. As one of the local efforts, the Seattle Refugee project at the center aims to connect the settling refugee population with permanent dental home for continuous services.
By volunteering at the Union Gospel Mission, a dental clinic in downtown Seattle, I’ve encountered with many that cannot afford basic care. This clinic, operated by volunteering dentists and student assists, provides care at little to no cost to hundreds every month. Even by working at my current employment, a local dental clinic, I’ve continued to see this dilemma. Furthermore, we see many patients that cannot visit different offices due to a language barrier. With this changing population and patient pool, we need diverse care providers to meet their specific needs.
I’ve also been volunteering at the Seattle/King County Clinic, an annual, free, volunteer-driven clinic event that serves over four thousand vulnerable and underserved patients every year. I have participated in this event for the past two years, both as a dental component assistant and translator for Mongolian and Korean languages. During this event, I have encountered numerous people who are new immigrants, homeless, or unemployed and in need of care.
I believe that global oral health is a necessity for our direct neighbors and the community that we live in. I would like to contribute for the efforts in reducing these health disparities in the region, and I am very grateful to be a part of this effort as a member of the DeRouen Center for Global Oral Health.
You can start by helping right now too. Show your interest, volunteer your time, or donate to the great cause to our center or other organizations that share the common value as you do. Thank you and please follow us for more news and blog posts for the future.