What does it mean, nowadays, to be a true dentist? I’ve always thought that in our profession, adding to the love of science, the challenge for innovation and the incredible feeling we get from helping change things for the best, we should be guided by another high value: solidarity.
Today, I’d like to mention two institutions I consider to be a perfect example to justify the title of this article. At the organization’s invitation, both institutions were recently present at SENAME International Dental Congress, in Estoril to address the international community and speak about their projects.
Operation Smile was founded in 1982 by Dr. William P. Magee and his wife, Kathleen, an American surgeon and a nurse who noticed the prevalence of children with cleft lip and palate on their trip to the Philippines. In Italy, my friend and a wonderful professional, Marina Sammartino, MD, has been directing this institution over the years, and this year she was in Estoril to share with us the amazing story of how she treated more than 10,000 people whilst on her humanitarian mission in China, or how 11 teams of this organization were in Haiti, after the 2010 earthquake, helping with medical care and building hospitals.
At a national level, Prof. Gil Alcoforado brought us the example of Associação Mundo a Sorrir, a company I’ve been in contact with for many years now and for which I have an enormous affection. With the motto CONTRUÍMOS SORRISOS DO TAMANHO DO MUNDO! [WE BUILD SMILES AS BIG AS THE WORLD] this Association has been performing humanitarian action and missions both in Portugal and in more developed countries, with a strong presence in PALOP for the promotion of Oral Health and Global Health as a universal right.
Like so many others, these Associations do not let us forget that unfortunately, in the 21st Century, help is needed more than ever. From my part, absorbed in the solidarity spirit these presentations triggered in me, I pledge myself to the strong commitment to go on a mission. More developments to be announced soon, here in my channel!