Industry Supports UBC Students on Volunteer Dental Mission

Daniel Nosyk (L) and Arash Maskin (R).

Daniel Nosyk (L) and Arash Maskin (R).

When the opportunity came for two DMD students to participate in the well-established volunteer dental program AYUDA, from the University of Southern California (USC), money was not a barrier thanks to the Sinclair Travel Fellowship Program. In April 2011, then fourth-year dental students Daniel Nosyk and Arash Maskan joined fellow USC dental students in Belize. Together with UBC and USC faculty, Sinclair Dental president Dr. Arjang Nowtash, and community dentists and volunteers from California—a 68-person team—they treated over 850 patients on two offshore islands, Ambergris Cay and Cay Caulker. Nosyk remarks that the experience and sense of pride gained is difficult to put into words.

For him, the opportunity to interact with other dental student colleagues from USC, with their openness and welcoming attitude, provided an atmosphere very conducive to learning. “This experience has allowed me to grow in ways I never thought I could. The amount of confi dence that I found was never imagined prior to going to Belize.”

For Maskan, the collaboration between universities underscored the benefits of his participation. He would like more students to have the opportunity to experience the joy of helping individuals in other parts of the world and to become a more familiar with their culture and life experiences. “These trips,” Maskan says, “also allow for interactions with colleagues educated at a different university and for great discussions about the similarities and differences of practising dentistry.”

The Sinclair Travel Fellowship Program, a fund established by Sinclair Dental for UBC Dentistry’s fourth-year travel elective, supports the UBC Dentistry goals of broadening the scope of dentistry learning. “Sinclair has always been active in the broader community, but I realized we have to focus more on a dental contribution. I felt we can achieve that best by teaming up with UBC Dentistry,” explains Dr. Nowtash.