I heard about the Hand in Hand Organization on my second trip to Armenia in 2010. That is when I met Dr. Berdj Kiladjian and Dr. Arnold Weiss from Boston and Dr. Vahag Gazaryan from Karabagh.
A colleague, Professor Robert Bagramian of the University of Michigan and American University of Armenia was also in Armenia at the time, and we were all able to get acquainted. This is when Professor Bagramian and I learned of Hand in Hand’s wonderful work with mobile and fixed dental clinics.
Visiting schools and homes in the villages of Armenia, I witnessed the extremely poor oral health of the children with my own eyes. I was very touched because I had never seen so much decay. It was shocking and sad. I thought, “I must do something!”
After talking with Dr. Kiladjian and Dr. Weiss, I had the idea of building a Brushodrome.
A Brushodome is a special place inside schools, designed for teaching oral hygiene and proper teeth-brushing technique. This has been a very successful initiative in cavity prevention in Brazil.
I sent blueprints and pictures of Brazilian Brushodromes. With the help of Mrs. Hilda Diruhi Burmaian of Sao Paulo, Brazil, we received a donation that helped make this dream come true.
The first Brushodrome in Shushi was built with perfection thanks to Dr. Vahag Gazaryan. It was opened in October 2014, complete with the presence of the Mayor and television coverage. I never expected our first to be built and functioning so quickly and simultaneously building a second in Martouni!
We have examined 338 children ranging from second to ninth grades, ages 5 -15 years to assess their dental health. Four dentists utilizing the World Health Organization’s survey methods have conducted examinations to assess dental cavities, gum disease, and the need for dental treatment. We gave an oral presentation at Harvard School of Dental Medicine, on May 1st, 2015, with great success.
Hand in Hand is a trustworthy organization, dedicated to bringing health and education to Karabagh villages. Our colleagues Drs. Berdj Kiladjian, Arnold Weiss, Aram Sirakian, Alex Beijian, George Vosgerichian and all of the Hand in Hand dentists are doing a great service for our country.
I feel very blessed to be Armenian. If I could do more, I would do more; if I could give more, I would give more.
I believe that if every Armenian would give some portion of their time and financial support, no matter what or how much – we could build a better Armenia.
I promise you will be well rewarded with feelings you take away!
Dr. Denise Klatchoian has been a pediatric dentist in Sao Paulo, Brazil for 37 years.