Academy Associated Service Missions


by Laurence Palmer, DDS

Due to the lack of dental education and professional dental care, Malians often face serious dental infections.  In many cases these infections cause a slow and painful death. Malians believe in tribal healing and use this as the first mode of treatment.

Having had the opportunity to travel to Mali for several years, we have learned much about using our time and resources effectively.

You can help by:

  • installing solar panels
  • setting up computers, and installing DVD / television combos to enhance their education.
  • provide basic dental cleanings and procedures

It is an amazing expedition and I feel blessed to be part of it.  Each year we witness many miracles as we serve our Malian brothers and sisters.  Next year come join us!


Laurence Palmer, DDS

Dr. Laurence and Trudy Palmer at 801-540-7984 or

Dr. Brandon Taylor at 801-615-0620

>Read the previous trip report for details of what you can expect.


Dr. Glen Stephenson is our Regional Service Representative for Africa.  He gave the following update on his efforts in Ghana;

“We have cancelled  three of our trips to Ghana.  Currently, our dental clinic there is closed and we have paused any visits there. I may be going in the fall by myself or with a very small group to take care of some residents of the children’s home, but that is likely it for the year.  If people want to reach out to me, we can still have the conversations about planning trips in 2021.  I hope to have a bunch of them.”

How can you help?

  • Donate used dental equipment in good, resell-able condition.  Dr. Stephenson has a used equipment re-seller that will turn it around and provide some financial support for the children’s home in this difficult time.  The donating dentist would get a tax deduction for the maximum reasonable value of the equipment.  Good for everyone.

Asia: Cambodia

In the past members of the Academy of LDS Dentists have been invited to participate in dental service projects in Cambodia led by an organization that does it several times a year. By accompanying them, we can become familiar with, and network with, people there who can assist us with planning  some visits of our own.

One of the leaders is a former Cambodian/Chinese refugee who is now a U.S. dentist.

If you are interested in a project in this part of the world, call or email:

Dr. David Hansen


Phone: 801-310-1144

Dental Humanitarian Service in China  

Dr. Karl Koerner and Dr. Bruce Bosler have each conducted similar China dental humanitarian trips to China.  There were trips scheduled for April, 2020, which were cancelled due to the pandemic.  Unfortunately, because of the pandemic as well as rising political tensions it is uncertain when humanitarian trips to China will resume.  Currently things are in a holding pattern.

Our China dental group has organized and conducted 18 humanitarian trips to China led by different dentists among us.  They are always a combination of teaching, free treatment, and absorbing the culture.  A map shows the main cities we have been to: Xian, Suqian, Guilin, and Chengdu — but there are some others. We are invited to use existing dental clinics and local leaders bring us indigent patients, in exchange for what we do and the goodwill it creates.  Some venues are private clinics and others are government facilities.  Of course, with some recent political changes, we may not be as popular any more. We have treated up to 600 patients on trips and had informational exchanges with many Chinese professional colleagues. We think that it is because of our influence that several of the facilities we have visited now have organized their own projects to treat the poor and needy.  We are often off the tourist ‘beaten track’ into remote areas normal foreigners never see. We had to cancel the 30 participants scheduled for April 2020 in Guilin and Shenzhen but hope to do it in April 2021 – probably with a smaller group. We take dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, and other support personnel. Sometimes after a trip we have some of our Chinese friends visit us in the US. As with these kinds of trips to other countries, they can be rewarding and life-changing. Dr. Karl Koerner.
Call Dr. Koerner for more information or questions (801-502-8585)
Our organization, Help the Children, Inc. is  501(c)3 certified by the IRS.

Read previous trip report for details of what you can expect.

East Africa: Uganda, Rwanda & Burundi


Dental Hygienists and Dentists Needed for Expeditions


It takes 8 years to train a dentist, but just 3 years to train a Public Health Dental Officer to give anesthetic, extract teeth, and give antibiotics. We need a few dentists, hygienists and assistants every year, to train these PHDOs in preventive and restorative dental procedures. With a ratio of dentists to population of 1 to 800,000, these PHDOs are essential in Uganda and Rwanda. Service doesn’t get more potent than this; teach them and they continue working after we leave.

Conditions are excellent. English is the official language. You always feel safe…. meet at the airport, stay at clean and secure hotels or Guest Houses, teach at the dental school equipped recently by Rotary.

I am not sure that the Academy is aware of the impact that they and are having in East Africa. Academy members can continue their service in the following ways:

  • Equipment donations – We have provided 75 used Adec dental chairs and 20 new Belmont chairs to dental clinics within hospitals and dentals schools in Uganda and Rwanda and trained Dentists, Therapists and Technicians to install, maintain, and repair the equipment we have provided.
  • Education – We have taught Non-Surgical Periodontal courses hygienists have taught and mentored the dental therapists at their own clinics. We have taught courses in ART (Atraumatic Restorative Technique), posterior Amalgam restoration, Anterior Composite restoration and mentored (for at least one week) the Therapists in their own clinics
  • Mentoring – We are always in need of Academy mentors to visit Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi at their convenience, to continue the mentoring process!

The object of the program is not to extract or restore hundreds of teeth but to train and mentor many local clinicians to ensure the development of a healthy preventive and restorative dental program for these countries! We have treated hundreds of LDS missionaries and prospective missionaries at our clinic at Makerere University in Kampala, since our program of mentoring Ugandan senior dental students began in 2008. .

The clinics that we set up are continuing doing outreach to the schools to educate and screen the children. More work is needed with mentoring and teaching at the clinics.

We have set up clinics in Orphanges. The Urukundo Foundation Orphanage, better known as Mama Arlene’s orphanage has a very good functioning dental clinic. The clinics in Rwanda are very good.

Unfortunately about 2 weeks after we returned from Africa Dr. Cahoon and a friend died in a motorcycle accident. This was very unfortunate as he was the driving force promoting dentistry in East Africa.

Dr. Troy Michaelson is currently part of a humanitarian project in Africa called “Adopt an African Clinic”. They help sponsor and mentor dental therapists in Rwanda and Uganda and set up clinics in health centers. Dr. Michaelson has an associate who works for ADEC who has donated dental chairs which be sending to Africa.  They have re-established a connection in the Ministry of Health in Uganda to look after the paperwork of getting them imported. We would really like to complete this project in honor and memory of Dr. Cahoon. The Academy is working with Dr. Michaelson to get these chairs shipped and to continue what Dr. Cahoon had put in motion.

How can you help?

As soon as pandemic related travel restrictions and concerns are lifted we need several North American dentists, assistants and hygienists to come to Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi to train and mentor clinical practitioners at clinics in each of these countries. Our biggest need is in Burundi both with donation of money and equipment. But we also will need mentors to help at the school and the rural clinics. Drew always promised that you will experience a miracle a day in Africa. I think you will experience more than that. The other HUGE benefit of our program is we are teaching the Africans to treat their own people. We are teaching them to fish so they can feed or treat their own people. We also combine fun side trips, safaris. So far I have done white water rafting on the Nile River, visited 3 different game parks, hiked up to see the Mountain Gorillas. Explored a thick bamboo forest to see Brown Monkeys. But the best part is interacting with the people.

Participants will enjoy a wonderful church and professional experience, a 3-day safari, and work with amazing African dental professionals and their patients.

If you are interested, please contact Dr.Tom Sorensen, Christa Mather,Dr. Troy Michaelson

Dr. Tom Sorensen (801)597-2858 or, Christa Mather (281) 703-6643 or, Dr. Michaelson

Read more in depth information on service in East Africa!

Guatamala Dental Clinic


Recognizing the need for improved access to dental care for future and current missionaries, expansion in humanitarian dental care for orphans, and a fresh perspective in

dental education in Guatemala, the Church in combination with a number of local partners, has built an excellent 5-chair dental clinic in an orphanage in Guatemala City.  This facility, completed in 2009, is currently staffed by  three full-time humanitarian dental missionary couples, volunteer dentists from around the United States and Canada, and is supported by the Academy of LDS Dentists.

Focus of Care:

There are three wonderful clinical populations served by the Clinic:

  • Future missionaries who are identified by their priesthood leaders, needing dental work completed before submitting their applications.  These delightful young men and women are anxious to serve, and need comprehensive primary dental care, including basic restorative and 3rd molar surgery. Missionaries in the MTC or missionaries serving throughout Guatemala who develop critical oral health needs while on their missions Orphans from the Mi Casa Orphanage, as well as children from other orphanages.

Why is the Academy supporting this effort?

The Church has invited the Academy to facilitate the development and implementation of this effort for a number of reasons.  It gives yet another face to the Church’s clearly stated mission of caring for the poor and needy and significantly improves the ability of young men and women to serve full-time missions.

Given the socio-economic impact of dental disease, these efforts empower all the recipients to improve the quality of their lives, better provide for their families, and serve the Lord in the Church.  Additionally, the blessings that flow to us as we serve, tune our hearts to the needs of the Lord’s children throughout the world.

What can you do to help?

Serve with us in the clinic!  It’s a great location for a “service vacation” with your wife or older children.  Come visit the beautiful historic ruins of Guatemala, become enchanted with the people and create memories of service with your family!  We’re able to help you identify hotels, and arrange for local guides if you wish to tour parts of the country.

If you have interested in serving in the Guatemala Clinic, contact us at

Full-time missionaries currently serving:

Elder Larry & Sister Paula Fisher

Elder Brian & Anita Spendlove

Puerto Vallarta Dental Service Project

The Academy of LDS Dentists Puerto Vallarta Dental Service Project has been serving the children of the Puerto Vallarta area for over 17 years.  Dr. Gordon Croft has lead the organization for 16 of those years and said “It has been a great experience doing dental work in Puerto Vallarta during those years.”

Currently Dr. Croft has a trip planned for January 14-23, 2022. Dr. Croft has recruited a team made up of dentists that are all from the Boise area, plus one Mexican Dentist, Dr. Andrea Muro from Guadalajara.  She served with them two years ago and it was a real positive situation for the Mexican people to see them join with one of their dentists.

They are taking a large group this time with staff personnel from two dental offices.  They will have five dentist’s work stations and two hygiene stations.

Children at the Infantil Refugio de Santa Esparanza and The Casa Hogar Maximo Cornejo orphanages have been served since the project first began.  School children in the outlaying villages of Quimixto, La Cruz, and Punta de Mita have also been served.  Mobile equipment has been used to set up clinics in these different locations.  Some equipment has been stored year around in Puerto Vallarta.

Dr. Don Cook, DDS, Dr. Croft’s former partner, has agreed to take over leadership of the PV Dental Project.  Dr. Croft will be leading the team on the 2022 trip, but he and Dr. Cook will be working together on it.  Dr. Croft will orient him on what is involved and assist him.  Dr. Croft plans to still be involved with the project, but the main leadership will be Dr. Cook’s after the 2022 trip.

For more info- contact:

Dr. Gordon Croft
(208) 461-3090
Don R. Cook,DDS
8300 Northview St.
Boise, Idaho 83704(Office)
208-377-8078 (Work)
208-672-0493 (Home)
208-571-3381 (Mobile)

South America: Argentina, Paraguay & Peru


Dr. Dwayne D. Zobell was schedule to travel to Peru and Argentina in March, but the trip was cancelled due to Covid-19.  He is hoping to go later this year or perhaps early next year when the world returns to a more “normal” situation.
He has been able to renew contacts he previously had in both countries, and it has been a great disappointment to not travel this year.
He will let the Academy and it’s members know when he has any updates.



Service Opportunities

Dr. Zobell is hoping to continue his humanitarian efforts as soon as travel restrictions and concerns over Covid-19 are lessened.  For questions on possible service opportunities in the South America regions you can contact Dr. Zobell at or

Read the previous trip reports for details of what you can expect 


Single Operatory in Pesega Clinic, Samoa

At the present time the clinics are currently closed in Tonga and Samoa.  The countries of Tonga and Samoa are so far clear of the Covid virus, and they are only now allowing their own citizens who got caught out of the country when they closed the borders, back in the country.  No outsiders allowed. Kiribati is also not allowing foreigners in.

It’s been my experience that most individuals going on service projects plan a year or two, sometimes even three, years ahead.  I think we need to focus on when things get back to “normal.”   With the advent of vaccines and cures, things will get back to normal.


  • Minimum stay in Samoa and Tonga is two weeks (10 clinic days).
  • There is free housing in Tonga on the Liahona Campus; in Samoa there is some housing on campus and a lot of off-campus housing.  All housing does have rental fees.
  • Round-trip from Los Angeles has been about $1,500 to either Tonga or Samoa.
  • We ask all volunteers to bring their own expendables, such as masks, gloves, anesthetic, gauze, composite, etch and bond, rubber dam, etc – as much as they will be using plus a little extra for the clinic.

 We are hopeful that things will be back to normal within a year and that we will be able to resume humanitarian trips.

FOR MORE INFORMATION contact us by phone or e-mail.  We will send a handout with more information and let you know when we are once again able to work in the clinics in Tonga and Samoa.

Front desk of Pesega Clinic in Samoa

Deseret International Foundation is involved in the clinics in Tonga, Samoa, and a new clinic to be built in the Republic of Kiribati on the Moroni High School Campus.  We have not yet been able to start the construction of the new clinic but will post an update when the Clinic in Kiribati is ready.  Deseret International has also been involved in the Clinic at the MTC in the Philippines.  Those are the only dental projects that Deseret International is currently involved with. For more information on Deseret International click here:

You can take a look at prior service and humanitarian efforts in the South Pacific here:

For up to date information PLEASE CONTACT:

Wayne R. Chisholm, D.D.S.

Missionary Dental Care Service Coordinator

Pacific Area

Jeannine Chisholm, CHt

Home Phone:  (435) 896-4347

Cell phone:       (435) 896-7688

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