My first trip to Armenia was to Siranoush summer camp during summer of 1995. I was using mobile dental equipment and had set up the clinic in one of the wooden cabins by the river. I had 26 kids that year and many challenges with lack of electricity being the most notable.
However by 1997 I had moved into the camp’s newly built 4 story building and had managed to set up a permanent clinic on the ground floor. The equipment I had was much better than the previous mobile equipment and I had more volunteers coming from the US. Since then, the equipment has been replaced again and instead of 26 kids I treat 120 during each camp session.
Many volunteers came from the US at their own expense contributing both their time as well as their resources such as money,supplies and equipment. The Siranoush camp clinic quietly performed miracles hidden from the mainstream media, devoted more to goals than fanfare. The clinic fulfilled its mission of treating thousands of children with the best dentistry available in the world but it also did a lot more. Siranoush camp became a place for the local dentists to see how dentistry was performed in the west as opposed to the soviet union. This was crucial in the first few years when the internet was not yet abundantly available. Many Armenian dentists came to observe and got to see procedures done in ways they had only heard about. We were also able to distribute a lot of equipment and supplies to local clinics because we had an abundance of donations.
The dentists that came from the US were mostly of Armenian descent but there were non-Armenians as well. One such person was Dr. Michael Jeansonne from Beaumont, Texas. He came for the first time in 2000 and was so impressed by what was going on that for the next 8 years he became a powerhouse of financial support. By 2002 He had replaced all the equipment in the camp clinic and in 2003 he had established yet another clinic for free dentistry in the nearby town of Yegheknadzor. This clinic was always manned by a local dentist, trained by us, and was available to treat students and staff of the university for free. Dr. Jeansonne covered the expenses of the clinic which were mostly salaries and supplies. Unfortunately in 2007 Dr. Jeansoone suffered a tragic personal event and was not able to return to Armenia for his annual trips nor support his clinic financially. For the next 4 years Archbishop Abraham took it upon himself to secure the salaries with US dentists donating all supplies and materials. Finally in 2012 The clinic closed but by then the town of Yegheknadzor had enough dentists to service it.
In August of 2018 a new mobile dental clinic project was initiated and is due to start operations in late 2019. Meanwhile many new faces come and help out at the clinic and enjoy the gift of giving to those who are less fortunate.
Armenia Mobile Clinic
The Armenia Dental Society of California and The Paros Foundation have successfully partnered in order to help the mobile dental clinic bring dental care to poverty stricken communities throughout Armenia.