Kihei, Hawaii — Dr. Jesse Hollander has his own dental practice in Maui but still feels the need to escape paradise from time to time.
The dentist, a 2012 graduate of the Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry, embarks frequently on international humanitarian trips with his wife, Dr. Erica Hollander, a pediatric dentist. It’s a tradition set forth by his father, a dentist, and mother, a nurse, who raised Dr. Hollander in Nepal for the first 16 years of his life as they worked for and alongside the less fortunate.
“They gave me a nice perspective of how fortunate we in the States are,” Dr. Hollander said. “It feels so good to help other people.” Dr. Hollander and his wife will make another visit to Dhulikhel, Nepal, in 2020 to assist dental faculty and students at the Kathmandu University School of Medical Sciences, after a fall 2018 trip there. The trips are organized through Global Dental Ambassadors, which has similar trips all around the world. A strong believer in sustainability rather than one-off trips to disparate places, Dr. Hollander will be making his third trip to the school, which has a dental clinic that his father helped establish a quarter-century ago.
Dr. Hollander also made two trips to northwest India when he was a dental student for humanitarian missions.
Helping the underserved is a priority for Drs. Jesse and Erica Hollander, despite the responsibilities of taking over an established dentist’s practice in the past year and having a toddler, Maya, at home. They prefer to travel and help people rather than have fancy new cars — they still drive the same car Dr. Erica Hollander has had since she was 16.
But Dr. Hollander’s profession provides him with an opportunity to give back, which is what got him interested in becoming a dentist in the first place.
“We have a unique skill set to get people out of pain and help them,” he said. He encourages other new dentists to pursue mission projects, whether they be overseas or near home.
“You don’t have to give too much to catch that bug,” Dr. Hollander said.
To explore international oral health volunteer opportunities, visit the ADA’s International Dental Volunteer website: internationalvolunteer.ADA.org.