Upcoming Clinics

9 Nov. 2013:
9:00am to 5:00pm
1536 The Queensway (Church on the Queensway)
Toronto, Ontario

Click here to learn more!



Welcome Aboard!

HMO would like to give our warmest welcome to our two newest Board Members: Dana Francoz and Karen Linker.
Thank you for joining our team. We look forward to working together!



Volunteer with HMO!

Are you looking for your next great volunteer opportunity?

HMO is recruiting volunteers for next year's golf tournament.
Take a look at
what we did last year.





Donate to HMO
It's so easy to contribute to the great work that HMO is doing.

Your contribution is greatly appreciated!




Editor's Corner

Happy Fall, everyone!
Welcome to

the NEW Bridge News: an interactive, clickable page that helps keep you up-to-date with HMO.
Do you have any questions or comments about the new format?

Send us an email:
[email protected]
We'd love to hear from you!







































HMO in Paraguay


We just got back from a 9-day  mission in Paraguay and 
HMO Volunteer Lisa Robertson gave us the inside scoop on the trip.

Check out some of the most exciting days below,
CLICK HERE to access the whole journal


Day 1: Wednesday August 21st, 2013
A group of volunteers met at Pearson International airport for our 11:40pm departure to a final destination of Asuncion Paraguay.  The group consisted of 4 enthusiastic general volunteer teenagers, 5 dentists, 3 hygienists, one medical doctor and one general volunteer adult (a born and raised 
Paraguayan translator)  Some of our group had already flown in from Calgary and Edmonton on earlier flights and were now joining us for our journey on to South America.  Our original departure time had now been delayed until 1:40am.  The high energy of the evening, of meeting and getting acquainted turned into a quiet slumber as our plane took flight at 2 am.

Day 4: Sunday, Aug. 25th
"We arrived early and were greeted by heavily armed, serious security where we gave our passports as proof of identification and were then patted down and searched individually in a closed room. As we entered the jail, we were led through a courtyard. The middle of the courtyard was exposed to the elements and hosted a volleyball net.  Because it was raining and cold, there weren't too many people outside in the courtyard  However, they huddled in groups around tables surrounding the building and waited under roofed areas for the upcoming clinic.

We were quickly separated into 3 groups where we were to work for the day and we were told NOT to move from the room we were in without being escorted.  We were now well practiced at setting up only what we needed as fast as possible and we got underway.  We had the use of one dental chair that already existed in the jail and the rest were to be temporarily set up.  Unfortunately, the dental chairs that already existed never seemed to be working to their full capacity with the high speed not working on some units. The prisons had been a highly discussed topic amongst our volunteers and some of us went with reluctance.  However, as the day moved forward
it turned to be our most fulfilling yet emotional day thus far.  With translators present, we worked with the female inmates and got to talk to them about their lives.

The dental experience was one of many missing teeth and dentures, bombed out teeth and the need for extractions.  Their children were present as it was visitor’s day and this proved to be a rather emotional day for many of us. The children had come the night before and stayed with their mothers and were to leave again that night.  We discovered that mothers that were convicted of crimes and had children under the age of 3 were allowed to keep the children with them until they turned 3.  Once they turned 3, the children were removed from their mothers. It was heartbreaking to hear their stories. We treated both mothers and children that day with the group being very strong and stoic.  Not a lot of tears from the inmates or their children that day."

Day 5: Monday. August 26th
The Men’s Penitentiary
"The men’s high security jail is the largest in South America and is called Tacumba.  The teenage volunteers in our group were not allowed to attend the jail and there was much debate as to whether the women should attend. Two women volunteers chose to work in the end.  The volunteers that attended the men’s jail felt it was a highlight of the trip, as what they witnessed, their experiences and the communication they had with the inmates were immeasurable. 

The jail is so rundown and overcrowded that the living conditions are devastating.  Many inmates have to sleep outside with only a blanket or sleeping bag on cold concrete huddled together due to the freezing conditions and rain. There were makeshift shelters to protect some from the environmental elements.The stories were abundant. There was one offer of gratitude to one of the male dentists upon completion of work to use the inmates name within Paraguay if the doctor needed “ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING.” 

The gratitude the inmates showed in thanks for the help given to them, was often shown with tears of emotion which was heart-wrenching coming from men living in these intolerable conditions. Our Medical Doctor spent the entire day with a medical doctor in the prison working on patients only to find out at the end of the day that he was actually a prisoner himself serving time."

A special thank you to Mrs. Mari Carmen Schaerer along with the assistance of the Paraguayan association, “Fey Alegria.” (Faith and Happiness). Without their support the mission would not have been possible.


Volunteer Spotlight

We caught up with HMO volunteer Dr. Ray Wong to ask him a few questions about his work with HMO!
What type of work do you do with HMO?
"I have participated in almost all of HMO's charity dental clinics throughout the GTA since 2010, providing dental services to the underprivileged in various communities. Services we delivered in a regular clinic day would be dental fillings, extractions, and oral diagnosis."
What is your favourite thing about volunteering?
"My favourite thing about volunteering is the feeling that I am doing something that can directly help those in need, with no middle man to complicate the process.  Seeing the smiles from patients after their dental suffering is relieved is worth all the efforts our team put in."

What was your most memorable experience with HMO?
"I had many satisfying and happy experiences serving with HMO and the ones helping and treating young children from under-privileged families where regular dental care is just unaffordable for them has to be the most fulfilling and rewarding experience. I look forward to joining HMO in other out of country mission trips to China and El Salvador in future years."

What would you say to someone who is thinking about volunteering with HMO?
"I would highly encourage them to jump in and get their feet wet!"


HMO in the news!

Last year, dental hygiene students and HMO volunteers Brenda Martinez and Taryn Swanton spent a week in El Salvador on an HMO medical and dental mission.

To spread the word, t
hey wrote an article about their experiences and sent it to the Canadian Dental Hygienist Association's e-publication: 
Oh Canada! 
Take a look at the
sneak preview below
or click here 
to read the whole thing!

"On an early autumn morning in 2012, 35 dental and medical professionals from all across Canada gathered at Toronto Pearson  Airport. After a few short hours, we were on our way to a dental and medical mission in El Salvador. As students in our second semester in the dental hygiene program at the Canadian Academy of Dental Health and Community Sciences, we are not typically offered an opportunity of such magnitude. We jumped at the chance to participate! The amount we learned in just one short week was astounding, and we had the opportunity to make life-long friends. Overall, the experience we gained from the trip and the oral health advocacy we provided has been incredibly valuable to our professional development."


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