Herrnstein Foundation Gift Helps Fund Madagascar Dental Outreach for Two Years
Stony Brook, NY – April 29, 2014 – A $60,000 gift from the Jim and Robin Herrnstein Foundation to the Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine will support the student volunteer Madagascar Outreach Project for the next two years. The project provides oral healthcare services to more than 1,000 impoverished villagers, primarily children, each year. The Herrnstein’s gift extends their interest in global health to dental care and commitment to improving the lives of the Malagasy people. The gift will cover approximately half the cost of the 2014 mission that begins in July and will also help fund the 2015 mission.
Since 2005, Stony Brook dental students and faculty have traveled to Madagascar to support efforts to improve the oral health of underserved communities by providing oral health and nutritional counseling, and dental services. The project is part of the Madagascar Ankizy Fund, a non-profit organization through the Stony Brook Foundation that builds schools and provides temporary healthcare clinics to children living in remote areas. For more about the Fund and the Stony Brook dental mission see this Stony Brook video.
The Jim and Robin Herrnstein Foundation is a long-time supporter of Stony Brook’s Madagascar dental missions. Previously Jim and Robin Herrnstein donated $3 million to help establish a Global Health Institute at Stony Brook University’s Centre ValBio in Madagascar. The Institute drives cutting-edge health research in the region in conjunction with PIVOT, a health-delivery non-governmental organization dedicated to establishing an evidence-based model health system for Madagascar.
“The generosity of the Herrnsteins has allowed us to expand on what was once a fledging program and build it into one that has a profound effect on the oral health of rural villagers who would otherwise not receive any professional dental care,” said David Krause, PhD, Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Anatomical Sciences at Stony Brook University, and Founder and Executive Director of the Madagascar Ankizy Fund. “Not only are there great benefits for the patients, but our students who participate have unparalleled and life-changing experiences.”
“Professor Krause has built a wonderful program, one that we are thrilled to support,” said Jim Herrnstein. “The dental missions address a dire need in these remote villages, and, because of the nature of the ailments and the treatments, their impact is lasting. On top of that, these missions are often transformative for the medical students as well.”
“The outreach trip to Ranomafana in Madagascar was a once in a lifetime experience that I will always cherish and remember,” said Jason Cho, a third-year student who participated in the 2013 mission. “The trip was defined by extraordinary depth and breadth of clinical experience. It was one of the best decisions I ever made, and the opportunity was a true privilege.”
“I believe I gained a tremendous amount of clinical experience as well as confidence to perform certain procedures,” added Rabia Yilan, another 2013 volunteer and third-year student. “Being exposed to a different culture and their living conditions definitely changed my life for the better.”
Under faculty supervision, the student dental teams in Madagascar have treated nearly 9,000 patients over the years. Each year the students also run oral health hygiene education programs for children and families in villages to emphasize the importance of preventing tooth decay. Additionally, the outreach experience provides students with data useful for their own dental school research projects.
About the School of Dental Medicine Madagascar Outreach Project
Students from Stony Brook University’s School of Dental Medicine have traveled to Madagascar since 2005 to provide dental treatments, oral health, and nutritional counseling to the Malagasy people. The School was awarded the American Dental Association’s first annual Dr. Thomas J. Zwemer Award for its 2012 mission. The award recognizes outstanding dental student outreach programs to underserved populations outside of the U.S.