Hudec Dental is proud to commend and support the recent efforts of Dr. Natalia Katsman who departed on a mission trip in mid-January with 21 other dentists from across the United States and Canada to provide much needed dental care to the people of Jutiapa, Guatemala. This Guatemalan mission trip was the 25th trip in 8 years sponsored by Dental Development Seminars. The Jutiapa Lions Club International (LCI) provided space in their banquet hall and helped set up a temporary dental clinic. Along with the space, the LCI also provided translators for when the minimal Spanish that the dentists knew was not enough to comfort and convey treatment to their appreciative patients.
Despite being the largest economy in Latin America, 54% of Guatemala lives below the poverty line, and common necessities such as dental care are not accessible to those who need it the most. Over the course of four days, 18 dentists performed over 1,600 extractions, a quarter of them being wisdom teeth. The last four dentists of the group were there overseeing all procedures and able to provide a second consult when needed. The dentists worked long hours and the line never seemed to get shorter. Unfortunately, on the last day, some of the 450 people who were in line were left untreated.
“I was inspired to do this trip first because of the mission aspect,” says Katsman, “These Guatemalans have no access to dental care and I felt like I could give back with the skill set I have.” This was Dr. Katsman’s first mission experience, and when presented with the opportunity to aid in the mission efforts of Dental Development Seminars, she began her own mission experience. “I also wanted to improve my extraction skills so I could provide better care for my patients in Cleveland,” says Katsman, who performed close to 100 extractions on the trip, including wisdom teeth.
“I achieved both of my goals and was inspired by the other dentists from all over the US and Canada. It was a truly unforgettable trip and I can’t wait to do it again.”
Dr. Natalia Katsman was born in Ryazan, Russia and grew up in Cleveland. She earned her bachelor’s degree in only three years at The Ohio State University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with Honors and Distinction. She continued her education to receive her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. She a member of the American Dental Association, Ohio Dental Association, Greater Cleveland Dental Society, Alpha Omega Dental Fraternity, and Chagrin Valley Study Club. She loves being an active part of the community and her hobbies include backpacking, long distance running, and traveling.