Remembering Fallen Dentist on World Humanitarian Day

Dr. Michaels is one with the United Nations on the occasion of the World Humanitarian Day as it recognizes those who risk their lives providing humanitarian assistance worldwide. On 19th of August, 2012, Dubai will participate by gathering at the steps of Dubai Mall.

Oral health knows no boundaries. Unfortunately, the need for dental services on behalf of the underserved populations is so great that demand for oral health care volunteers always exceeds the supply. The American Dental Association (ADA) is a strong advocate of volunteerism and encourages its members and others in the health community to share their time and talents with those in developing areas across the globe. In order to promote and encourage overseas volunteer activities the Association participates in and sponsors several programs.

ADA remembers fallen dentist on World Humanitarian Day

The United Nations have designated 19th August of every year as World Humanitarian Day to honor those who volunteer as humanitarian workers across the globe.

The global dedication day is to honor volunteers who are currently working around the world and to pay respect to those who have died or been injured while serving.

This year, the ADA remembers Dr. Thomas Grams, a retired Durango, Colo., dentist who was killed on August 5, 2010 by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Dr. Grams was in the war-torn country working as a volunteer dentist with International Assistance Mission, a nonprofit Christian organization that does medical, engineering, language, small business and community development projects in Afghanistan.

“Dr. Tom Grams was the perfect example of what it means to be a humanitarian. He was truly selfless, and at just 50 years old, he gave up his dental practice to donate dental care full time and to dedicate himself to helping others less fortunate around the world,” said Dr. Quinn Dufurrena, executive director of the Colorado Dental Association. “His terribly tragic and untimely death, just a year ago, continues to be devastating to the dental community and his Colorado colleagues. I cannot think of a finer individual to be honored on World Humanitarian Day. His incredible compassion, bravery and passion for dentistry changed the lives of countless individuals.”

Dr. Grams also worked with Global Dental Relief, a Denver-based charitable organization that brings free dental care to impoverished children in Nepal, northern India, Guatemala and Vietnam, where he was the first volunteer.

“Tom was the lead dentist, responsible for planning the treatment to be done and administering the local anesthetic in a comfortable and effective manner, allaying the children’s fears, building trust and making it so much easier for all of the dentists who would then provide the necessary treatment,” Dr. Lisagor said. “He did this up to 100 times a day, and I never saw him waiver in the calm way in which he would completely focus on every single patient.”

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