The Project Turquoise Health Care committee led by Dr. Forough Yazdani, & Dr. Neda Kalantar are passionate about empowering young healthcare providers & organizing missions locally & internationally. As we all know, the Syrian Refugee Crises is one of the most horrific, humanitarian disasters in the world today. Thousands and thousands of innocent civilians have been violently and abruptly uprooted from their homeland and cast to a state of survival. To stay true to Project Turquoise’s mission, our team decided that we needed to respond and help as many families as our bandwidth would allow. After much research, it was decided that we would concentrate our first dental mission on Camp Zaatari and Camp Azraq in Jordan. In the fall of 2016, an exploratory trip was organized by Project Turquoise in partnership with Relief International to assess where we could make the biggest impact. During this trip, it was determined that there was a dire need for oral health care especially for preventive and emergency services. There was a 80% caries rate amongst the youth and oral pain was prevalent and for the most part untreated in the adult population. The camp had a 2 month wait for dental appointments and the wait was on average 4 hours. Once it was determined that the population was underserved in the deliverance of oral health care, the Project Turquoise Dental mission was born.
In the Fall of 2017, a group of us dentists from the Washington DC area, including general dentists, endodontists, a pediatric dentist and oral surgeon travelled to Jordan for our first ever PT Dental Mission. As a result of a partnership with the University of Jordan Dental School, each American dentist was partnered up with a dental resident to accompany them in clinical care, serve as translators and enhance their dental skills. During our short trip, we treated over 154 patients across two clinics. We also donated over $20,000 worth of dental supplies to the dental team in Jordan. By the end of our mission, we realized that we couldn’t even begin to address all the oral problems, but we wanted to leave the kids with a preventive program that would have a lasting impact. During day 5, over 600 kids were given oral hygiene instructive care, nutritional advice and preventive fluoride varnish applications. The older teens were trained to lead the sessions and became oral health care ambassadors. We left them with ample supplies to continue the program once we left the camp. Our genuine hope is that by empowering the teens to lead and educate the younger kids, we have them left them with knowledge that will improve their overall health.