Cavities Prevention Through Community Action

Thanks to donations and support from Premier Dental Supply, Americares, and the Western Kentucky University Study Abroad Program, the Dr. Rankin Skinner Dental

Team, consisting of Rankin, Ruthi, Roberta and Donnie spent January, February and March of 2012 in a continuation of their decade-long dental program in Ecuador. The Study Abroad students from WKU brought in Premier’s Fluoride Varnish with ACP, and  toothbrushes. Ruthi and I provide the community outreach for their program.

Dr. David  Coffey and Dr. Kristie Guffey lead two study abroad programs each year from WKU, in January and March. After an initial training program the students go into the schools and orphanages to place fluoride varnish on kids’ teeth and distribute toothbrushes. The students work in several different communities throughout Ecuador, and are having tremendous successes concerning the dental health of the children in those areas

After the first group of students returns home to Kentucky, we continued to work in several communities on the coast because their school term ends on January 20, due to the oncoming rainy season and flood risk. In these communities we recruited volunteers from local civic clubs, Red Cross, local public officials and dentists in private practice.

After completing our coastal programs we returned to Quito where we worked in local schools Tarqui and Guapalo (our Quito neighborhood), and the public schools in Latacunga. Thanks to all the support we have had and all our great volunteers, we were able to place 16,000 units of fluoride varnish and distribute 8,000 toothbrushes.

This is just a brief overview of our very extensive and complex program. In the near future we will do short reports on some of the activities in the individual communities that we visited.

by Rankin Skinner