Dr. Reeder Lanzas teaching children in Los Robles how to prevent cavities.
Dr. Reeder Lanzas, our resident dentist, led and completed the first phase of our oral health initiative with the goal of working with local health volunteers, teachers, and students to identify best strategies to change oral hygiene practices. Over 2000 students participated in 54 educational talks and 1500 students received fluoride treatment in 4 rural communities: Los Robles, San Esteban, Datanlí, and Pueblo Nuevo.
In 2018, we launch the mobile dental clinic to expand our reach and improve the dental hygiene of 500-800 more students. With this clinic, Dr. Lanzas will be able to provide full dental attention, including teeth cleaning services, extractions if necessary, consultations, and preventive oral health education.
We look forward to working with dental brigades this coming year and welcome new academic partners interested in supporting our Preventive Oral Health program. If you would like to become involved, or know someone who would, please email us at email@example.com. Learn more about our dental hygiene initiatives by watching our Preventive Oral Health video and see Dr. Reeder Lanzas’ vision for the mobile clinic.
Students excited to use their new toothbrushes and toothpaste after attending Dr. Reeder’s oral health educational talk at the primary school in Los Robles.
Over the past ten years, Comunidad Connect has helped over 10,000 Nicaraguans live healthier lives. We do this by breaking down barriers to isolation and connecting people to local and international resources that otherwise would be near impossible to obtain. This new year, we invite you to join us in a spirit of global citizenship to help launch our new project: a mobile dental clinic.
Most rural communities in Nicaragua do not have access to dental care. The majority of rural Nicaraguans, aged 15 and up, are missing adult teeth. Cavities are present at an extremely high rate in every age group, requiring many individuals to have further extractions, surgeries or restorations – problems entirely preventable with proper oral hygiene and health education.
Through our new mobile dental clinic, we can bring dental education, teeth cleaning services and consultations to new rural communities, reaching 500-800 students. Watch our Preventive Oral Health video to learn more about Dr. Reeder Lanzas, Comunidad Connect’s resident dentist, and his vision for the dental clinic.
For this week’s Member Monday, we meet Reeder! Read more to learn about Reeder, his love of dentistry, and experience working with Comunidad Connect.
When did you start working for CC?
I started working with Comunidad Connect on July 18, 2016. At that time, a medical group was down here – Doctors Ben & Karen Thrower – so it was with this group that I started my work here.
Describe your role.
Right now I am directing a preventive oral health project. I give educational talks about dental hygiene, give fluoride treatment to children in schools in Los Robles, San Estéban, Datanlí, and possibly Pueblo Nuevo in the future. This is what we focus on, because in a study that we did last year in 2016 we found that there was a really high rate of cavities in this region. Moreover, the children with the most dental needs and with the fewest resources didn’t have access to dental attention or knowledge about these themes. Because of this, the preventive oral health program was born to give the kids educational talks to teach them how to brush their teeth, what kinds of food they can eat and when they should eat them, and after the talks give them preventive fluoride treatment.
What is your favorite part about working with CC?
My favorite part of working with Comunidad Connect is working with kids because they have a special energy. Although you will always find yourself interacting a boy or girl who is a little more challenging to work with, they are the ones who learn most and, in reality, take what you are saying more seriously. Sometimes with adults this is more difficult. Children are always open and receptive to whatever knowledge you are sharing with them.
What got you interested in dentistry?
My mom is a dentist, so from a young age I grew up in an environment with related themes, but at that time dentistry didn’t really interest me. However, when I grew up there came a moment when I began focusing more and having an interest more in people’s teeth and dental hygiene. In reality, after looking at your eyes, the second thing people notice is your mouth and smile. The mouth is constantly moving, when you’re talking to someone else you are looking at their movements, and mouth is what moves the most. So through that, my passion for dentistry began.
What is one of your best childhood memories?
Well I don’t know if this is good or not, but it’s actually related to what we’re talking about and what I do now. Like I said, dentistry didn’t really interest me at a young age. My mother was a dentist, so I would watch her do tooth extractions. I remember one time when I almost fainted, because she needed more light and asked me to shine light on the patient. And when I saw everything, I felt like fainting because I didn’t like it. This story makes me laugh because today this is what I do and it doesn’t make me faint or anything.
Reeder was actually born in León, but has lived in Jinotega since he was 6.
When he gets the chance to travel, Reeder loves to go to Granada.
What is your favorite place to visit in Nicaragua?
Granada because it’s a completely colonial city. It has a historic atmosphere, and it makes you live and remember the colonial time.
What is your favorite holiday in Nicaragua?
What’s your favorite typical dish?
Baho, which is a mixture of plantain, yucca, beef, salad, and green chile. (same answer as Kelly!) It’s the best food in Nicaragua.
What is your spirit animal?
I used to say dogs, but recently I’ve felt more connected to birds. I have 10 birds: 6 Australian parakeets, 2 African parakeets, and 2 cockatiels.
What hobbies or talents do you have that most people don’t know about?
I’m a Series Marathoner (aka Netflix). I’ll start a series and finish the whole thing in a week. For instance, Game of Thrones.
Reeder loves working with the Comunidad Connect team!
Thanks Reeder! Check in next week for our next Member (& Memo) Monday!