Jamaica Externship Cultivates Future Leaders

(l-r) Bobby Lynn and Paul Nardi enjoying coconuts in their down time
(l-r) Bobby Lynn and Paul Nardi enjoying coconuts in their down time

Bobby Lynn and Paul Nardi, both DMD 13, travelled to St. Mary, a small parish in northeast Jamaica, on an educational and dental mission with the Jamaica Awareness Association of California (JAAC) June 2–7, 2013. Their preceptor was former GSDM faculty member and longtime JAAC volunteer Dr. Gregory Stoute.

Dr. Stoute, who is now executive vice dean at Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry in Nashville, offered the volunteer opportunity to several third-year pre-doctoral students at Meharry, who also attended. GSDM and Meharry students enjoyed the chance to work together and Dr. Stoute noted that GSDM students were well prepared and equipped to advise the younger Meharry students as needed.

The dental group saw patients ranging from infants to elders. Entire families waited in line all day to see the dentists. The team worked with basic instruments and supplies, sometimes doing extractions in beach chairs. They became local celebrities during their time there, being interviewed on a local radio station and receiving fanfare from locals.

“The trip was rewarding and enlightening,” said Nardi. “If you can handle working with limited resources you will learn a lot and become a better dentist.” He added, “Dr. Stoute was a wealth of knowledge and it made for great fun and learning.”

Both Lynn and Nardi hope to return to Jamaica and visit new sites now that they are doctors. They also hope to take on leadership roles on future missions.

JAAC was founded in Los Angeles in 1987 with the goals of increasing educational opportunities for talented, economically at risk young people who might not otherwise continue their education; developing effective healthcare delivery in Jamaica; and assisting the needy in the local community to experience a better quality of life.

Photos are available on Facebook and Flickr.