Dr. Mike’s International Project Experience
Beginning in January 2009, my wife Karen and I were invited to develop dental hygiene training programs in the cities of Chiang Kham and Chiang Rai Thailand and in Poipet Cambodia. Making multiple trips to develop relationships and enhance their knowledge, skills, and confidence, we trained high school students in dental hygiene concepts. These “dental trainers” were then tasked to provide dental hygiene training to thousands of children, adults, and other health care providers in NGOs, schools, tribal villages, and orphanages. Throughout their training, we provided support and encouragement in developing each student’s public speaking skills. These trainings were completed using either Thai, Khmer, or in the native tongue of the Hill Tribe languages of Thailand.
Since we began our project, we have been extremely fortunate to have partnered with highly skilled native leaders in both Thailand and Cambodia. Utilizing their deep understanding of the customs and the needs of the local populations, we have been able to partner with these leaders so as to reach many areas of underserved rural populations.
More recently (2016, 2017, 2019, and 2020), we were invited to join the Cambodian Medical Volunteers Association and the Vice Dean and students of University Health Sciences Dental School in Phnom Penh Cambodia on their rural outreach to remote villages around Phnom Penh. It is our sincere wish that we will be able to continue to support and develop these important relationships during successive trips to Cambodia.
In 2019, Karen was asked to develop a teacher training program for primary school teachers in Poipet Cambodia. Jeanne Haslip, a retired teacher and patient of ours for over 25 years followed up with additional teacher training in Poipet and a 2nd training site in Phnom Penh.
Throughout this process, we have been given the opportunity and responsibility to train, encourage, and develop leadership skills in countless young adults in both Cambodia and Thailand. Watching these young adults grow in their confidence and seeing their self-esteem blossom has been a tremendous joy for both Karen and myself. January 2020 will be our 17th trip to serve the people in Cambodia and North Thailand.