THE WOODLANDS, Texas – The Connecticut Mission of Mercy organizes a two-day clinic annually that provides free dental care to the underserved, the working poor and uninsured who are those that would otherwise go without dental care. Dr. Zahid Lalani, a board-certified oral surgeon, proudly volunteered in March 2015 at the two-day dental clinic.
“It was an overwhelming experience,” said Dr. Zahid Lalani. “The sheer number of people waiting for dental care, the gratitude that they showed and the enthusiasm of all the volunteers and dental professionals was incredible.”
While a MBA candidate at Yale University, Dr. Lalani was introduced to the outreach program and its tremendous impact on the community by Dr. Suzanne Lagarde, his friend and classmate at Yale University School of Management. Dr. Lagarde, a gastroenterologist by training, has been in charge of the medical triage at the clinic for the past 8 years. Dr. Lalani committed to her that he would volunteer as an oral surgeon at the clinic every year after they finished school in 2014.
Oral health is inseparable from general health. It can affect a person’s self-esteem, compromise his or her ability to work, attend school and lead a normal life. The Connecticut Foundation for Dental Outreach, in collaboration with the Connecticut State Dental Association, held the state’s first Mission of Mercy project in 2008. Every year the Connecticut Mission of Mercy project holds the two-day dental clinic in a different location throughout the state. This year, the dental clinic was held in Danbury, Connecticut. Despite the bitter cold and snow, a total of 1,997 patients were treated by 1,321 volunteers. It was truly a success!
“Volunteering at The Connecticut Mission of Mercy was one of the most fulfilling and humbling experiences in my life. I plan to return each year to serve those in need and to deliver on a promise to a friend,” stated Dr. Lalani.