Sometimes an expression can serve as communicator more powerful than words.
For one Madison, Alabama dentist, this came in the form of tears, and the countenance of the father of a teenage dental patient in Haiti.
Over the past eight years, Dr. Laurentis Barnett, when not overseeing operations at Divine Expressions Family Dentistry, Madison, Alabama, has dedicated his professional efforts to providing free dental care in Haiti. His most recent visit in January, with members of St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Nashville, Tennessee, included time spent with children at a school he funds on the mountains of LaFond (shown), in addition to four days of donated dentistry in the coastal city of Petit-Goâve.
This time around, Dr. Barnett, a 2015 Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 honoree, offered care to 500+ dental patients including extractions, cleaning, fillings, root canals. When asked to discuss the moment he realized his mission work made a difference, he flashed back one of his first visits.
“I remember a 15-year-old girl who was very sick and just to see us had walked three hours, in her Sunday best, accompanied by her quiet and humble father. After one look, I got food out of my bag and gave it to them, only to realize she was so ill she needed IV fluids. We tended to her health first, arranged for her spend the night in town and to return to us the following day to receive dental care,” said Dr. Barnett.
“I was overjoyed to see her back the next year, still alive and healthy, for more dental work! Her father was so appreciative of what we were able to do for her. Though he was a man of few words, it was all over his face and in every tear!”
Dr. Barnett noted that his dental practice channels donations to Haiti from patients, including toys, eyeglasses, clothing and food. For many of the students at the school, the only meals they receive are the ones provided at the school. He directed anyone who would like to support the outreach to contact him at: 256-837-9842 or firstname.lastname@example.org