Academy Associated Service 2017-11-29T10:56:18+00:00

Academy Associated Service Missions


by Laurence Palmer, DDS

From Feb. 15 -22, 2012 a group of 14 individuals traveled to Mali, Africa for a dental mission.  Our group worked in the village of Ouelessebougou for two days as well as the villages of Faradiele, Beneko, Manabougou and Tentou. We extracted over 750 badly decayed teeth.

Due to the lack of dental education and professional dental care, Malians often face serious dental infections.  In many cases these infections cause a slow and painful death. Malians believe in tribal healing and use this as the first mode of treatment.

Having had the opportunity to travel to Mali for the past 4 years, we have learned much about using our time and resources effectively.

We hit the ground running thanks to the help of Dr. Tom Johnston, Dr. Brandon Tayler and his wife Tami (hygienist), Dr. Shane Jessen and his wife Jenny, Dr. Mike Florence and his daughter Rachelle, Dr. Pearl Burns, myself–Dr. Laurence Palmer and my wife Trudy (hygienist), Nick Smith and the local Malian dentist, Dr. Coulabally.

We were able to install solar panels with the hard work and generosity of Scott & Julie Dixon and Marv Lyon. With these solar panels, the villagers are able to access electricity for the first time in their lives.

We lit up the schools, provided computers, and installed DVD / television combos to enhance their education. Thousands of French schoolbooks were donated as well.

It is an amazing expedition and I feel blessed to be part of it.  Each year we witness many miracles as we serve our Malian brothers and sisters.  Next year come join us!


Laurence Palmer, DDS

Dr. Laurence and Trudy Palmer at 801-540-7984 or

Dr. Brandon Taylor at 801-615-0620

In 2010, Dr. Brett Moyes  successfully led another dental expedition to the country of Mali in West Africa. The group of nineteen people included Drs. Laurence Palmer, Brandon Taylor, and Rob Ferrell, as well as one hygienist, Trudy Palmer. Fourteen other volunteers were of great service. These included dental assistants, a building contractor who was of great help in the construction of our tenth school, a nationally renowned behavioral profiler who donated money to build the school, and others who worked tirelessly for two weeks serving the Malian people.

The trip was January 8 – 20, 2010. In that short time, hundreds of people on the African continent were relieved of suffering and educated in oral hygiene. In this country of nearly 14 million people, there are only 52 practicing dentists. People of that great nation are literally dying from untreated dental infections. Through Yeah Samake’s efforts, national television announced the group’s arrival in advance. Hundreds of people traveled great distances for treatment. Some of these were patients who were treated last year and returned only to give thanks for having helped relieve them of suffering. Volunteers worked shoulder to shoulder with the one practicing dentist/oral surgeon in the area, Dr. Coulabaly, with whom the group shared techniques, and to whom hundreds of dollars of dental supplies were donated.

Safe and efficient passage in Mali was greatly facilitated by the Mali Rising Foundation. This foundation was created, and continues to be led by Yeah Samake, a native Malian and convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Yeah grew up in great poverty in the city of Ouelessebougou, Mali, but through much sacrifice he found a way to get an education earning his Bachelors and Masters degrees from BYU. It was there that he joined the Church and later received a personal assignment from President Hinckley to bring education and the gospel to his country. Yeah’s extensive connections with government officials, and his own authority as Mayor over forty-four villages made the arrival, the stay and departure from the country nearly seamless. Yeah is considering a run for the presidency of Mali in 2012.

The group gathered for what is believed to be the first two Sacrament meetings ever held in the country of Mali. Not only could one feel the spirit strongly in these meetings, but throughout the journey. Each individual of the group came to know during our stay that they were not working alone, but had the help of unseen hands and felt the guidance of the Spirit.

The placing of several copies of the Book of Mormon, formal meetings with the Minister of Health and the Minister of education, and sun up to sun down service helped move forward President Hinckley’s original commission to educate and enlighten Yeah’s fellow countrymen.

Asia: Cambodia

Members of the Academy of LDS Dentists are invited to participate in a dental service project in Cambodia led by an organization that does it several times a year. By accompanying them, we can become familiar with, and network with, people there who can assist us with planning  some visits of our own.

One of the leaders is a former Cambodian/Chinese refugee who is now a U.S. dentist.  If you are interested in a project in this part of the world, call or email:

Karl Koerner
(801) 502-8585

Dental Humanitarian Service in China – 2016 

Fall of 2016 (October 14-24) Dr. Karl Koerner and Dr. Bruce Bosler are each conducting similar China dental humanitarian trips to China.  They are according to our established model of 1) treating indigents (mostly orphans and the elderly) in modern clinics that we use free of charge and 2) teaching local Chinese dentists at chairside and in lecture situations.

We take 7-8 dentists, 2 hygienists, and others to help facilitate the treatment up to a total of about 17-18 people. We are usually able to acquire some funding to help subsidize the hygienists.  We leave on a Friday and return on a Monday – for a total of 11 days.  There are two days of sightseeing.
This year the sightseeing is in Zhang Jia Jie which is the popular place whose scenery inspired the movie Avatar.  Some people extend for a few days to visit other places too .
Evenings are packed with doing adventurous things in the place where we are. This Fall one trip is in Guilin and the other in Xian.  Both are unique and interesting.  Guilin has better scenery but Xian has the Terracotta Warriors.  It is a culturally rich and professionally rewarding experience where we make many friends and lasting memories.  For some, it may be a culture shock but you soon get over it as you acclimate into the surroundings. Time is running out to get the best airfare.  Call Dr. Koerner for Xian (801-502-8585) or Dr. Bosler for Guilin (707-718-8112). The cost is about $2500 per person double occupancy (a little more for your own room).
Our organization, Help the Children, Inc. is  501(c)3 certified by the IRS.

More about the cities: Xian has about eight million people and Guilin is a step down.  Xian has the benefit of being able to visit the Terra Cotta Warriors – an army of thousands of ceramic soldiers, chariots, and horses who were buried underground but are now exposed for our view. Guilin is a smaller town, a more ethnic area known for its spectacularly beautiful scenery.

East Africa: Uganda, Rwanda & Burundi


Dental Hygienists and Dentists Needed for Expeditions


It takes 8 years to train a dentist, but just 3 years to train a Public Health Dental Officer to give anesthetic, extract teeth, and give antibiotics. We need a few dentists, hygienists and assistants every year, to train these PHDOs in preventive and restorative dental procedures. With a ratio of dentists to population of 1 to 800,000, these PHDOs are essential in Uganda and Rwanda. Service doesn’t get more potent than this; teach them and they continue working after we leave.

Conditions are excellent. English is the official language. You always feel safe…. meet at the airport, stay at clean and secure hotels or Guest Houses, teach at the dental school equipped recently by Rotary.

I am not sure that the Academy is aware of the impact that they and are having in East Africa. We have provided 75 used Adec dental chairs and 20 new Belmont chairs to dental clinics within hospitals and dentals schools in Uganda and Rwanda and trained Dentists, Therapists and Technicians to install, maintain, and repair the equipment we have provided.

We have taught Non-Surgical Periodontal courses (instruments donated to each clinic by the Academy) and 14 hygienists from N America have taught and mentored the dental therapists at their own clinics. Most of the clinicians are LDS but not necessarily members of the Academy.

We have taught courses in ART (Atraumatic Restorative Technique), posterior Amalgam restoration, Anterior Composite restoration and mentored (for at least one week) the Therapists in their own clinics by 10 dentists (most LDS).

Drew followed up on the mentoring with additional 3 day mentoring sessions at each clinic after the others have returned to North America. It is our mission to bring each of our 19 clinics from 98% extraction services to 50% preventive, Outreach and restorative services over the next few years.

We are always in need of Academy mentors to visit Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi at their convenience, to continue the mentoring process!

Dr Cahoon was part of the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) in May 2011 and was part of the Harvard group which organized the opening of the first Dental School in Rwanda. The goal of the Dental School at KHI, which as a result of the 4 chairs donated in 2012 and the 12 chairs in 2013. KHI opened in Aug 2013 to train the first 15 Rwandan dentists to graduate with a BDS degree in June 2018. KHI had only 3 dental chairs when we began to work with them in 2009.

Thirty ADEC chairs were sent from University of Alberta in June 2013. They were headed for Uganda and their 13 Regional Hospitals. The transportation was funded by LDS Humanitarian Services. Adec trained the dental and technical staff to install, maintain and repair the equipment

at the dental school and the Regional Referral Hospitals.

Drew believed that this project was the most comprehensive program to develop dentistry within an African country. The object of the program is not to extract or restore hundreds of teeth but to train and mentor many local clinicians to ensure the development of a healthy preventive and restorative dental program for these countries! We have treated hundreds of LDS missionaries and prospective missionaries at our clinic at Makerere University in Kampala, since our program of mentoring Ugandan senior dental students began in 2008. Dr. Phil Openshaw of Modesto, California has taken over our work at Makerere and has treated hundreds of LDS Missionaries and others needing his dental services using our equipment at the Dental School.

In February/March of 2017 two of our best clinics in Uganda had progressed to the point that digital office and radiographs were installed. Patterson Dental donated their Eagle Soft Dental Program to be installed in two clinics. The Regional Referral Dental Clinic in Mubende and Mbarara were chosen. We brought over computers and Scan X radiograph processing units. The program was loaded and with many minor miracles we were able to load and initiate the program. For the first time in Uganda, Digital radiographs could be created and used to educate the patients and help convince them to restore teeth instead of extraction. The radiographs also educated the Dentists and Dental Therapists. Up to this point no radiographs were used for any treatment. Teeth were extracted without being able to see potential problems or complications. The two Regional Referral Hospitals had agreed to allow these two clinics, on a trial basis, to start limited private practice. That was the other reason these two clinics received the digital x- rays. With the digital x-rays and dental program a whole new world was opened for the Dentists and Therapists. You have never seen more excited and thankful Dentists than at these two clinics. They have continued to learn the programs and use the X-rays. Since this worked so well, more clinics will receive the program. The clinics that we set up are continuing doing outreach to the schools to educate and screen the children. More work is needed with mentoring and teaching at the clinics.

We visited some of our clinics in Rwanda. We have set up clinics in Orphanges. The Urukundo Foundation Orphanage, better known as Mama Arlene’s orphanage has a very good functioning dental clinic. Troy and Charmaine Michelson were at the clinic mentoring the therapists. They have been going every year for the past 5 years. Another Dentist, Gabriel, from another clinic which we trained in Rwanda has learned some Orthodontics. Once back in the USA Mama Arlene asked if I would gather some orthodontic supplies for the orphanage for as she put it”to treat the poor and needy children of Rwanda” I sent a box with everything they need to start orthodontic treatment. The clinics in Rwanda are very good. They also are very interested in getting access to the Eagle Soft Dental Program. That will be one of our goals in Rwanda. They also are doing well with the outreach program.

The last country visited was Burundi. Drew went two years previous but couldn’t go back because of the problems in the country. The country is now stable. This was the first visit since then. We went thinking we would start teaching and creating a dental school at INSP. Once there, we found another dental school at a Methodist University, Hope Africa University. Christa Mather taught a very good non-surgical perio course at INSP, Drew taught community dentistry and I taught operative dentistry. I brought over 6 Dentiforms to help them with clinical dentistry. We partnered with a foundation called Iprosarude which is set up to provide dentistry and vision to rural Burundi. We interacted with both schools and the Minister of Health of Burundi and decided we would combine both schools at Hope African University. We will be on the ground floor in setting up the school and clinics.. We are planning on sending a large container with 12-15 dental units/chairs, a panorex and other fixed x-ray units, and other dental equipment. We will work with HAU, Iprosarude and the government to set up 3-5 rural clinics and use them as rotations for the students as well as dental therapists treating patients. The Minister of Health has promised to help fund the clinics, provide money for our therapists and patients. They have also promised us safety as we travel throughout the country. Drew,
Christa, and I all felt the Lords hand in our efforts and the doors that were opened for us.

We felt a strong desire to return. The people and students were great. They have a great desire to improve but need our help.Unfortunately about 2 weeks after we returned from Africa Dr. Cahoon and a friend died in a motorcycle accident. This was very unfortunate as he was the driving force promoting dentistry in East Africa. Christa and I along with the help of the Academy of LDS Dentists will continue what Drew had put in motion.

We need several North American dentists, assistants and hygienists to come to Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi to train and mentor clinical practitioners at clinics in each of these countries. Our biggest need is in Burundi both with donation of money and equipment. But we also will need mentors to help at the school and the rural clinics. Drew always promised that you will experience a miracle a day in Africa. I think you will experience more than that. The other HUGE benefit of our program is we are teaching the Africans to treat their own people. We are teaching them to fish so they can feed or treat their own people. We also combine fun side trips, safaris. So far I have done white water rafting on the Nile River, visited 3 different game parks, hiked up to see the Mountain Gorillas. Explored a thick bamboo forest to see Brown Monkeys. But the best part is interacting with the people.

Dr. Tom Sorensen (801)597-2858 or, Christa Mather (281) 703-6643 or

Participants will enjoy a wonderful church and professional experience, a 3-day safari, and work with amazing African dental professionals and their patients.

If you are interested, please contact Dr.Tom Sorensen or Christa Mather

Guatamala Dental Clinic


Recognizing the need for improved access to dental care for future and current missionaries, expansion in humanitarian dental care for orphans, and a fresh perspective in

dental education in Guatemala, the Church in combination with a number of local partners, has built an excellent 5-chair dental clinic in an orphanage in Guatemala City.  This facility, completed in 2009, is currently staffed by  three full-time humanitarian dental missionary couples, volunteer dentists from around the United States and Canada, and is supported by the Academy of LDS Dentists.

Focus of Care:

There are three wonderful clinical populations served by the Clinic:

  • Future missionaries who are identified by their priesthood leaders, needing dental work completed before submitting their applications.  These delightful young men and women are anxious to serve, and need comprehensive primary dental care, including basic restorative and3rdmolar surgery. Missionaries in the MTC or missionaries serving throughout Guatemala who develop critical oral health needs while on their missions Orphans from the Mi Casa Orphanage, including the 25 girls living near the facility where the clinic is located and the 350 young boys in the Zone 10 boy’s facility, as well as children from other orphanages.  While most of these children are now in active recall and are easily cared for, new children continue to present with untreated needs.

Why is the Academy supporting this effort?

The Church has invited the Academy to facilitate the development and implementation of this effort for a number of reasons.  It gives yet another face to the Church’s clearly stated mission of caring for the poor and needy and significantly improves the ability of young men and women to serve fulltime missions.

The number of local missionaries serving full-time missions has nearly doubled since implementation of the clinic and other outreach dental care programs with which the Academy is affiliated.  Given the socio-economic impact of dental disease, these efforts empower all the recipients to improve the quality of their lives, better provide for their families, and serve the Lord in the Church.  Additionally, the blessings that flow to us as we serve, tune our hearts to the needs of the Lord’s children throughout the world.

What can you do to help?

Serve with us in the clinic!  It’s a great location for a “service vacation” with your wife or older children.  Come visit the beautiful historic ruins of Guatemala, become enchanted with the people and create memories of service with your family!  We’re able to help you identify hotels, and arrange for local guides if you wish to tour parts of the country.

If you have interested in serving in the Guatemala Clinic, contact us at

Full-time missionaries currently serving:

Larry and Shaun Hogge (April 2018), Jay and Trudy Harris (May 2018), Rick and DLonna Jergensen (August 2018)

Puerto Vallarta Dental Service Project

The Academy of LDS Dentists Puerto Vallarta Dental Service Project has been serving the children of the Puerto Vallarta area for over ten years.  Children at the Infantil Refugio de Santa Esparanza and The Casa Hogar Maximo Cornejo orphanages have been served since the project first began.  School children in the outlaying villages of Quimixto, La Cruz, and Punta de Mita have also been served.  Mobile equipment has been used to set up clinics in these different locations.  Some equipment has been stored year around in Puerto Vallarta.

The Puerto Vallarta area is an excellent place for families to serve together.  The weather is beautiful in January and offers families the opportunity to play and serve together.

Please consider serving with us..

For more info- contact: Gordon G. Croft, DMD

Mark Murdock, DDS
William Shipley, DDS

South America: Argentina, Paraguay & Peru


The Area Presidency has approved a project in the city of Cordoba, Argentina to help with the Municipal Health Department. The Church wants to do something to help the city in conjunction with the Cordoba Temple that is moving forward.  The Health Department has 100 medical clinics in the city and 70 have a dental operatory (some have more than one). They usually have as many as 1000 patients each day at these clinics. The Church, working with Deseret International, has provided funding to equip 10 more operatories to increase the number of dental clinics to 80. Dr. Bill Jackson from Deseret has more detailed information. The Municipal Dental Health Director is more than willing to have us come and participate in dental projects if we would like to do so.

In June of last year, Dr. Dwayne Zobell went with Ronaldo Walker, the representative in Argentina for Deseret International, to the area north of Buenos Aires called Tigre. They took down a portable dental unit from Hampton Research and other supplies to be donated to the Tigre Health Department to help them equip a bus that will be a mobile health clinic to help care for people in more remote areas of their jurisdiction. They toured six of their health clinics and visited with them about helping to get more dental equipment for several of the clinics.


They then traveled to Paraguay with Gustavo Berta, from the South American South Area Humanitarian Welfare Services Department to a remote village called La Abundancia, about 450 km from Asuncion. They assessed the possibility of doing a project for the Nivaclete Indigenous people who the Church has relocated to an area in Chaco, Paraguay. There is a chapel there, and apparently Dr. Richard Smith along with Dr. David Dickerson had been there previously to take care of their dental needs. Based on current assessments, there is still great need for dental care, clothing, sanitation, basic health care instruction, etc


As far as Peru is concerned, Dr. Steve Crump participated in a project we had there two years ago for the native missionaries in the four missions in Lima and the MTC. Steve and his son (who is a dentist in Spokane), Dr. Jim Meadows from Portland, and Dr. Zobell were able to use the clinic at San Marcos.  Apparently,  Deseret International has a project in Peru, but the Academy has not been involved with it yet. Dr. Bill Jackson would be able to give you more info on this.

Service Opportunities

The South American South Area Presidency has made a request for a project to Paraguay to serve the Nivaclete Indigenous Members in La Abundancia, Paraguay. The dates for the trip was November 19-26, 2011. Also, a request for professional continuing education for dental professionals in the Winter of 2012 to Cordoba, Argentina has been requested.

Essentially, a small group of dental professionals would be presenting information on current topics selected by the dental professionals from Cordoba, and continue to build on the foundation that has been established by Deseret International and the Church in recent years. Some humanitarian outreach would also be possible in providing care in the clinics that the recently donated equipment has been installed. We are monitoring the progress of the Cordoba Argentina Temple and hopefully will be able to have a humanitarian dental expedition to Argentina when the temple open house and dedication take place in 2013.

Dr. Dwayne Zobell


You can choose your own travel dates to any of these three countries*

* TONGA – A 7-chair dental clinic has been set up on the LDS campus of Liahona High School.  Full-time missionaries are called as Directors of the clinic for 12 to 23 months.  If interested in going as volunteers or missionaries keep your dental license current.  We continue to need volunteer dentists to work in the clinic as there are always more patients needing help than can be treated by one dentist.  In addition, there are three portable chairs and units that can be taken to outer islands if desired.  Local volunteer dental assistants will be glad to assist you as well as translate when necessary.

The Tongans are a very friendly people, welcoming and appreciative of all we do.  Most Tongans speak  at least some English.  When housing is available, it is supplied for volunteers with no charge except for electricity.  Check with us before plans are finalized.   Spouses and children are also welcome.

Volunteers in Tonga need to plan on a minimum stay of two weeks.

*SAMOA (formerly known as Western Samoa) – Samoa has a modern three-chair clinic in Pesega on the LDS campus.  Full-time missionaries are called as Directors of the clinic for 12 to 23 months.  If interested in going as volunteers or missionaries keep your dental license current.  We continue to need volunteers to work in the Pesega clinic as there are always more patients needing help than can be treated by one dentist.  There are also two portable units that can be used in remote locations. Housing can be arranged for a reasonable fee when dates are set. Spouses and children are welcome.

Volunteers in Samoa need to plan on a minimum stay of two weeks.

*KIRIBATI (previously known as the Gilbert Islands) — There is a one-chair clinic at the Moroni (LDS) High school. Housing can be arranged on campus, if available. You will be working primarily with students from Moroni High School, Missionaries, and Prospective missionaries. You’ll have the spiritual treat of a lifetime. Wives and children are welcome. (Two or more weeks are required.)



Dr. Wayne R. Chisholm, DDS –

phone:  (home)  435-896-4347 or (cell)  435-896-7688Bottom of Form

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