Jamaica Project at VCU
In April 1986 Dr. Mario Saravia led volunteer faculty and students from the MCV School of Dentistry down to the parrish of Manchester, Jamaica to provide dental care. His description of the venture was, "Improvisation at it's best".
That initial effort demonstrated what could be possible. Options were considered and after deliberation between people in Jamaica and the U.S. a second trip was undertaken in 1987. This time the parrish of Trelawny was targeted. The results were felt by all to be extremely successful. Relationships were formed and resources proved to be solid enough that efforts remained focused in that region. In 1988 Hurricane Gilbert damaged facilities in Jamaica. A planned trip was rescheduled and in January 1989 two successive groups provided dental treatment thru out Trelawny. In the fall of that year another two successive groups traveled down with encouraging results.
Since those early trips there have been well over 500 volunteers that have participated and over 40,000 patients that have been treated. It has been an annual occurrence in Trelawny that "the dentists" have traveled the local roads providing services in clinics and schools. It speaks to what can unfold when someone with a curious energy starts wondering,...... "What could happen if we,...."
You can read an article written by Mario about the early Jamaica Project trips in this PDF: Volunteer Dentistry In Jamaica