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Bolivia – 2020


BOLIVIA:  First trip of the year was led by Dr. Steven Roser of Emory University in Atlanta, GA to Santa Cruz, Bolivia January 10 -18, 2020.  Dr. Roser led the medical team for cleft lip and palate and Dr. Diane Ede-Nichols of Nova Southeast University in Florida led the dental team. A speech and language pathologist, Ysabella Hincapie-Gara, MS Ed, MA CCC-SLP also provided her services. The team was accompanied by team administrator, Patrick Bullot.

The teams had a bumpy road prior to departure. Political unrest in Bolivia led to a Travel Advisory Level 4 and a roller coaster of situations – will it change?, is it safe?, are we going?  situation.  Thankfully the advisory dropped to a Level 2 and discussions with the Embassy in La Paz led to the forming of an on-going relationship with the consul there.

The contacts Dr. Roser made at the embassy in La Paz visited Dr. Roser and team in Santa Cruz, remarked: “The work your team is doing is truly inspirational and an example of our best.  We will be here through mid-2021 so we might get a chance to see you folks in action again next year. Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can be of any assistance. Safe travels.”

There were 65 cases awaiting the teams’ arrival.  Upon arrival, the team screened 150 children and operated on 60, all being primary lips and palates, no revisions and all under the age of 4!  The mayor of Santa Cruz came to see the team mid-week.

The dental team led by Dr. Diane Ede-Nichols had many of her dental team members  drop out but she decided to go with a much smaller team. They set up at a community based primary school in Santa Cruz where they screened 235 patients.  The patients received exams, cleanings, fluoride varnish, restorations: amalgam, composite, glass ionomer, extractions, sealants, and silver diamine fluoride. 

Sent in by Karen Ann Simmons – Our wonderful PACU Nurse, Fran Buono. Fran just loves caring for our little patients:


Our wonderful teacher, Kris Gawthorpe, preparing gift packages
for our patients.
Each child receives gifts from the team: new clothes, coloring books, crayons, books, toys, puzzles, balls, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes
 and teaching dental care.


Kris Gawthorpe in her “classroom”, playing with older patients and their sibling, working with puzzles, crayons, coloring books.
A great relief for parents who are waiting anxiously for their child in surgery.


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