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Dental Students Volunteer In Nosara

By: Adam Dietrich

A room at Harmony Hotel became an impromptu dentist office from Wednesday afternoon to Friday May 4 as part of a community outreach effort organized by the hotel and the University of Costa Rica’s school of dentistry.

Dr. Rodrigo Diaz Ovando, from the faculty of dentistry at the University of Costa Rica, says it is common for students in their last year to complete a short practicum in the countryside, where access to dentists is limited. 

“The students volunteered to come here, but it is also for the school, they need practical experience to graduate and in the country they need dentists,” said Dr. Ovando.

Gerardo Bolaños Céspedes, Harmony’s sustainability coordinator, says EBAIS only sends dentists once a month up from Nicoya to serve Nosara residents. However, due to the demand during these visits, the dentist is often unable to see to everyone that needs help.

Céspedes says that health falls under the banner of sustainability. “Sustainability is also the health of the community and the people in the community as well as the environment,” he said.  

A student from Garza’s school has his teeth cleaned in a Harmony Hotel room on May 4.

Hannia Garcia, director of the Garza School said almost all 46 of her students received dental work on Friday. She says an event like this is important for the students, who don’t have regular access to a dentist to at least have a check up and be taught how to take care of their teeth.

Dr. Ovando says that every year the University of Costa Rica receives numerous requests to send students to communities all over the country. He says it was Céspedes and Harmony’s willingness to do the legwork and organize everything that brought them here.

This is the first a visit like this that has been organized and all three parties, Céspedes, Dr. Ovando and Garcia agree they’d like to make it an annual event.


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