Queens Dentists Prepare for Cuba Humanitarian Dental Trip



New York– The Fialkoff Queens Dental Study Club, a monthly study club which provides continuing education credits to attending practitioners, is planning a Humanitarian Dental Trip to Havana, Cuba in February/March of 2012. Organized by Dr. Bernard Fialkoff, Founder of the study club, and Meghan Fialkoff, Director of the Cuba Humanitarian Dental Trip, the attending dental practitioners will provide pro-bono dental work and dental education to the Cuban lay and professional community. Born and raised as a child in Havana, Cuba, Periodontist, Laser Surgery Specialist, and Dental Implantology Specialist, Dr. Fialkoff has chosen the University of Havana Dental School in which to do these pro-bono services to the Cuban community.

The Study Club comprises dentists from the five boroughs, Westchester, and Long Island. Each month the group congregates in Queens, receiving lectures on such topics as "Evidence Based Shade Taking – Achieving the Superior Cosmetic Restoration," "Periodontal Plastic Surgery," "Sleep Apnea and Snoring – Diagnosis, Prevention and Treatment Methods," "CPR Training," and others. The attending dentists, staying in-the-know on the latest advances in their field and overlapping fields, will utilize this knowledge in their humanitarian trip next year.

Dr. Fialkoff, born and raised as a young child in Cuba, has always yearned to go back to the island to revisit the culture, the people, and give back with the trade he knows best: dentistry. So, in the beginning of 2011, Dr. Fialkoff announced to the study club the idea of traveling as a group of dental professionals to Havana, Cuba to provide free dental work to the Cuban community. Dentists and other specialists were happy to hear about the trip as well as participate in providing pro bono work. In fact, at this very meeting, several dentists originated wanting to help on eliciting donations of dental supplies from dental supply companies, planning the trip itself, providing connections to the country and advices on how to obtain travel licenses, etc.

Dr. Fialkoff says, "From that point forward, the Cuban Humanitarian trip was no longer an idea, but has come to fruition in that the planning, sign-ups, and steps to finalizing the trip are in forward motion."

Meghan Fialkoff, Director of the Cuba Humanitarian trip for the study club, has spoken with many dentists who have conducted similar trips in the past. Dr. Loren Taple, past professor of the University of Minnesota, who traveled to Cuba with several dental students, was eager to provide information on the trip and process of obtaining a humanitarian license from the US Treasury Department. Dr. Taple’s trip was coordinated through the United Jewish Fund in New York. That trip provided free dental work not only through the University of Havana’s Dental Clinics, but also for the Jewish community in Havana. The oldest and most popular synagogue in Havana, Patranato, and its president at the time, Dr. Miller, worked with Dr. Taple and his group to also deliver free service to this community.

Additionally, Dr. Johnson, a dentist in Illinois, of The Clinical Research Institute (www.cri-net.org) is also providing advices to the group on how to plan such a trip. As a visiting dentist of the University of Havana, Dr. Johnson and The Clinical Insitute have conducted and coordinated numerous humanitarian trips in the past.

The Fialkoff Queens Dental Study Club will meet next Wednesday, August 10 and will sign up dentists to participate in the trip. The group anticipates 30 dentists and dental staff to travel to Cuba to deliver this pro-bono dental work in February or March of 2012.