Dr. Besler has had a passion for overseas dental mission work for a long time and is currently a member of Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO). HVO, which has the support of the American Dental Association , has a focus on helping with the training of medical and dental professionals in developing countries. Dr. Besler plans to use her vacation time to support mission projects throughout the world.
Dr. Besler partnered with Spanda Inc., an organization that shares a similar passion for helping in the training and support of medical missions throughout the world. Spanda Inc., founded by Dr. DeAnn Fitzgerald, established a healthcare clinic in Kipkaren, Kenya in 2006. Malnutrition has caused severe dental decay and most villagers do not have a toothbrush. Instead, they use “bottle brush tree limbs” to brush their teeth. Obtaining a dental chair and supplies became a much needed priority for the clinic. In 2009, Dr. Besler’s dental assistant, Carla Mulneaux, and nine other volunteers traveled to the Kipkaren Clinic. Carla helped over 100 children from the Children’s Home receive dental cleanings, fluoride treatments and new toothbrushes. Most of these children have been orphaned due to HIV/Aids.
Carla says, “When I had the opportunity to go on the mission trip in 2009, it was hard to see how little these people have. It truly humbled me to realize how blessed we are. I then wanted to make a difference and find a way to help. Those children gave me more than I ever gave them. There are so many great opportunities to volunteer right here at home or across seas. I would highly recommend you check out Spanda. It will not only change lives of others, but yours as well.”
When Carla returned from Kenya, she and Dr. Besler worked toward raising the needed funds to equip the dental clinic. But before dental equipment could be operational, clean water was needed. Spanda partnered with Metro North Rotary here in Cedar Rapids and raised funds to have clean water pumped into the clinic. On Sept. 18, 2010, Dr. Besler partnered with Spanda to host a dental banquet and succeeded in raising the funds needed to equip the Kipkaren dental clinic that serves over 32,000 villagers. For more information visit www.spandainc.com.