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Medical Teams International | Official Blog

Get the latest updates from our programs in the field internationally and here in the United States.  

  • Mobile Dental Success Story: Audra Makes Up for Missed Opportunities of Youth

    by Tyler Graf | Feb 26, 2015

    Over the course of her short lifetime, Audra estimates she's had seven cavities. But the 31-year-old isn't exactly sure. Can't be. She's no dentist, and some of those suspected cavities have been self-diagnosed.

    As she waited in Medical Teams International's Mobile Dental Clinic Feb. 25, located at the Good Neighbors Center in Tigard, Ore., Audra said she believed she had five in her mouth as she spoke. "One in the back and four in the front," she said.

    Audra blamed how she rarely, if ever, visited the dentist when she was a child. She didn't grow up with a lot of money, and her mother was averse to seeking public or private assistance. When Audra did see a dentist as a kid, her mom paid for the visit out of pocket. 

    Money has long been a problem for Audra, who spent time homeless and living at the Good Neighbors Center. Now she has her own apartment and is continuing to move in a positive direction.

    Still, she's anxious about seeing dentists, concerned that each visit will bring bad news.

    “I feel like every time I go to the dentist, it’s going to be awful," she said. 

    Audra's situation illustrates the importance of preventive oral health care among children. While oral health remains the nation's hidden health care challenge, studies suggest that the more exposure kids have to beneficial dental habits early on, the better off they are later in life.

    That's why MTI's Mobile Dental program places a premium on promoting positive childhood dental health. Mobile Dental provides thousands of kids with an easy-to-read brochure and a kid-friendly kit of basic dental supplies. MTI staff and volunteers also provide classroom instruction. This is work that can only be made possible through the generous gifts provided by our donors.

    Mobile Dental, MTI, Audra, tooth decay, Tigard, Good Neighbors Center
    Audra chats with volunteer MTI dentist Dr. Dale Canfield during a visit to a Mobile Dental Clinic on Feb. 25.

    Although Audra wishes she'd been exposed to the dentist more growing up, she's interested in making up for those lost visits. She's using available resources, such as Mobile Dental, to improve her life. Audra said she is thankful for the services provided by the Mobile Dental program and is happy she heard about them from the Good Neighbors Center.

    Your donations make a difference every day.
  • Mobile Dental Success Story: Impacted Tooth, Impacted Life

    by Tyler Graf | Feb 25, 2015

    Cheryl is a reminder that all it takes is one bad medical diagnosis to turn lives on their ear—or, in Cheryl’s case, a tooth.

    When her husband was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis two years ago, the family encountered massive setbacks. Faced with a degenerative condition, Cheryl’s husband was forced to quit a good job as a sanitation engineer. He took another one making mud flaps for cars and trucks, but the job doesn't pay as much and now it’s hard to make ends meet. With dad’s promising career up in smoke, the family was left without dental insurance.   

    It’s been three years since Cheryl last visited a dentist. Despite that gap in time, a reminder of that visit has remained lodged in her ever since: It was during her last trip to the dentist that a botched extraction left a shard of tooth wedged in her gums.

    That changed when she visited a Medical Teams International Mobile Dental clinic at the Good Neighbors Center in Tigard, Ore., on Feb. 25. The piece of tooth that served as a reminder of what she no longer had and how her life had forever changed was finally removed.

    MTI, Mobile Dental, success story, Cheryl, tooth extraction
    Cheryl, a Mobile Dental patient, hasn't had dental insurance since her husband was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and was forced to quit his job.

    The work has given her a more positive outlook on life. Cheryl said she just wants a healthier mouth. She wants to be able to enjoy the little things in life. It's been difficult over these years, she said, "not being able to eat the right food" because of the discomfort.

    Mobile Dental clinics, staffed by volunteer dentists and hygienists, serve thousands of patients from Oregon and Washington every year. These are people who either cannot afford dental insurance or don't have access to quality care. Your amazing support for the program is making a profound difference in the lives of thousands of people like Cheryl.

    She and her family thank you for making their lives a little easier, especially during these tough times.
  • MTI Photos: Timbers/Thorns Representatives Get a Kick Out of Distribution Center

    by Tyler Graf | Feb 25, 2015

    Recently, representatives from the Portland Timbers and Thorns soccer clubs stopped by MTI's distribution center in Tigard, Ore. They spent some time doing all the cool stuff, like walking through the Real.Life.Exhibit and taking a tour of a Mobile Dental van.

    But then we put them to work.

    Of course, one would be forgiven for mistaking this so-called "work" for being something else entirely: fun.

    The Timbers and Thorns reps didn't miss a beat; they jumped at the opportunity to pitch in. That's because, well, the secret is out: Soul-enriching activities have a way of being rewarding in ways that linger beyond the initial experience.

    That's what keeps volunteers coming back, day-in and day-out. After all, volunteers are the little engines that keeps the distribution center chugging along. And, for at least this day, many of the volunteers came bedecked in their futbol finery.

    They had to represent the team, after all; but after the experience, they now belong to two. Many thanks to them for joining our team, too.

    Check out these photos of the Timbers/Thorns reps at our distribution center.

    MTI, distribution center, Thorns, Timbers

    MTI, distribution center, Thorns, Timbers

    MTI, distribution center, Thorns, Timbers

    MTI, distribution center, Thorns, Timbers

    MTI, distribution center, Thorns, Timbers

    Great work everyone!
  • Field Photos: Safe Motherhood Practices in Cambodia

    by Tyler Graf | Feb 24, 2015

    A group from Medical Teams International recently arrived back to the U.S. after spending a week abroad in Cambodia. Thanks to your support, the team was able to travel to rural villages and document the work MTI conducts in the country of 15 million people.

    Much of that work is dedicated to maternal and child health. Acute respiratory infections are still relatively common among children in some of Cambodia's more rural municipalities. Inroads have been taken to bolster health services throughout the country, in part as a result of your generous contributions to the cause. Thank you for making a difference in the world!

    Check out these photos of your gifts transformed into action.

    And thanks so much to Frank Nichols and Diane Morgan for taking the wonderful photos.

    Medical Teams International, Cambodia, safe motherhood
    MTI volunteers and staff use a harness to weigh a baby to ensure it's of sufficient weight.

    Medical Teams International, Cambodia, safe motherhood
    A clinician assists a patient and her young baby in Cambodia.

    Medical Teams International, Cambodia, safe motherhood
    Improving the overall health of children is a top goal of MTI's work in Cambodia.

    Medical Teams International, Cambodia, safe motherhood
    This little guy is so comfortable he just fell asleep.

    Medical Teams International, Cambodia, safe motherhood
    MTI is dedicated to improving the quality of care at 25 health centers through strengthening their services.

    Medical Teams International, Cambodia, safe motherhood
    MTI also provides training to first responders.

    Your charitable hearts are making a difference in the lives of those in the most need around the world.  
  • Mobile Dental: Thank You Notes Arrive

    by Tyler Graf | Feb 23, 2015

    It's common for patients of Medical Teams International's Mobile Dental clinics to write reflections about their experiences. With few exceptions, the patients say they feel transformed after leaving the clinics. It's amazing what some dental work can do.

    Recently, MTI received several "thank you" cards from patients who received care at one of the clinics. The cards came from patients who attended MTI's Benton County, Oregon, clinic, held on Feb. 11. 

    Here are their thoughts — thoughts extended to you, whose generous donations and support make the clinics possible.

    Mobile Dental, thank you cards, Benton County
    Thank you cards written by patients of MTI's Mobile Dental clinics.

    Thank you so much, to all of you. For your hard work and kindness. May God Bless you all. You are so much appreciated. 

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

                                                                                                                         - Cory

    To all who helped me today, thank you for the Blessing of helping my pain and discomfort with my teeth. I am excited to get better sleep and having less issues with eating food that I enjoy. May God Bless you!

                                                                                                                  Thank you

    Our family would like to thank each and every one of you for your caring hearts! For taking the time to help us and others in need in our community! We really appreciate this.

    Blessings to each of you!

                                                                                                         Mayra & Gerardo

    Messages of thanks, like these, arrive regularly and never cease to raise spirits. It's important to know that you're making a difference in the lives of people in your community. These are your neighbors, many of whom suffer silently through excruciating mouth pain. 

    You deserve kudos for your compassion and support of a program that touches so many lives.

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