3.58 billion people around the world lack access to oral health care, simply because they either cannot afford it or have never had access to a dentist in their entire lives. For some, getting dental treatment means traveling for several hours or waiting for upwards of a year for free dental care provided by international organizations. Many others, meanwhile, die from oral diseases that are 100% preventable.
Jean Paul Laurent, founder of Unspoken Smiles Foundation, has created an innovative model to solve one of the most overlooked health issues in the world, starting with the most remote communities of Haiti and spreading to communities in India, Iraq, and elsewhere. The key: training and employing local women as community oral healthcare professionals. Young women between the ages of 17 and 35 will learn to educate, screen for common oral diseases, and perform basic procedures. With the Unspoken Smiles Fellowship, Jean Paul is creating a platform to train, empower and connect fellows with other dental professionals across the world. The fellowship will give these women access to the best mobile technological resources, create a global network for innovation exchange, and form public-private partnerships with corporations and governments to ensure community oral healthcare professionals are a cornerstone of the universal health coverage coalition. And with the help of the Fellowship, these women will also gain invaluable professional experience and contribute to their local economies in substantive ways.
If properly supported, Unspoken Smiles Foundation believes these fellows can transform access to quality oral care in disadvantaged regions and protect against the global oral disease epidemic.