Meet Global Dental Relief’s non-dental volunteers


Every Nepal Volunteers+Kids 01linic works because non-dental volunteers join the team and devote their talents to keep the clinic functioning.

In Nepal, Karen Emerson, a nurse in real life in New York, works non-stop sterilizing and restocking the dental instruments – an orchestrated task that takes a fine sense of timing.

Theresa Tran, a hygienist Nepal Karen Emerson 01from Denver, signed up for the trip after all the dental slots were filled. But she came anyway, and loves pitching in on the non-dental side helping with the sterilizing and giving a fluoride treatment to the 1000 plus kids passing through the clinic – -that’s a lot of fluoride!

Carole Witka, a retired administrator from Denver keeps the patient records – carefully noting the work done on each child and keeping charts organized for future visits. Record keeping is critical – consistent charts mean we can MCM 2014_10 GDR Nepal Carole Witka 04track each child over the years to monitor and enhance their oral health.

Joanne Ditmer, a Denver Post columnist, checks each child out of clinic – making sure they get all their work done for the day and overseeing the important moment when each child carefully selects a colorful sticker to take home. Joanne distributes scarves donated by Knitting4Peace. These are carefully awarded to children who had extractions or seem particularly in need of a special treat.

And finally, Michael Maher joins the team as our official photographer. Michael spends his days taking the amazing photos shown throughout GDR’s publication. He helps us tell our story and inspire new volunteers to join this work. Thanks Michael!

Non-dental volunteers provide essential work in each Global Dental Relief clinic yet many people think they need a dental skill to join our teams. “You do not have to be a dentist to volunteer.”

As Karen,Theresa, Joanne and Carole will attest – – while the dentists and hygienists are working head down at the dental chair, non-dental volunteers have the special task of interacting with each child – teaching them brushing, caring for their anxieties and sharing in those special moments when two cultures meet in the smile of a healthy child.

Global Dental is always in need of more volunteers! Come join us for the experience of a lifetime helping kids.

Where in the World Is GDR?

Posted on October 15, 2019. Each year, Global Dental Relief works with 400+ volunteers to bring free, comprehensive dental care to more than 25,000 children around the world. GDR has nine different clinic locations in five countries. Volunteer teams provide treatment to children who otherwise have no access to care,... Read more »

We Have an Adventure for YOU!

Posted on September 23, 2019. Each year, Global Dental Relief hosts 27 to 30 clinics in five different countries – Kenya, Cambodia, India, Nepal and Guatemala. In each clinic, GDR aims to provide an experience that is enjoyable for everyone, from the well-seasoned traveler to the first-time flyer, while focusing... Read more »

It’s Time to Party!

Posted on September 10, 2019. Each year, as the leaves start to turn, we come together to reflect and celebrate all that GDR has accomplished. We gather together as a GDR family, reflect on memories from each clinic, and celebrate the thousands of children worldwide who now live with healthier... Read more »

Delta Dental Employee Volunteers at Dental Clinic in Nepal

Posted on September 6, 2019. In March 2019, Jennifer Swaney – a Delta Dental of California employee – spent time volunteering at a dental clinic in Kathmandu, Nepal. Swaney worked alongside Global Dental Relief (GDR), a Colorado based non-profit, to bring free dental care to children in need. “I had... Read more »

Cranberry USA and GDR: Paving a New Path for Dental Students

Posted on August 20, 2019. If you’ve previously visited our blog, you may have read about our ongoing partnership with Cranberry USA, a generous Global Dental Relief (GDR) sponsor. Over the past three years, Cranberry USA has made it possible for students pursuing a career in the dental field to... Read more »