Dr Sheelagh Beech
Sheelagh was the most energetic preventive dentist on a clinical field trip, enlisting a team of senior students to act as "Oral Health Educators" and making sure that every single child at each school we visited received individual toothbrush instruction, brushing their teeth in a mirror under supervision. The results were obvious on our next field trip. Sheelagh works in a private practice in Tasmania.
Dr Bob Lavis
Bob is a Tasmanian dentist, who founded the Himalayan Spiti Dental Program in 2008 following a chance meeting with Abbot Geshe Sonam Wangdui in Tasmania. Bob raised funds to set up dental clinics in two schools in the isolated Spiti Valley in India.
Joanne is a highly experienced dental surgeon. She has practiced since 1978, owned and operated a solo private practice from 1996-2008 and now working as a locum in various positions in New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia. Her work in India is the highlight of every year, and she hopes to spend more time working on the project as she transitions into retirement. CV attached.
Dr Jamie Robertson
Dr Jamie Robertson initiated the project in 1985 after a WHO report identified endemic dental disease in the Tibetan community. For many years he led one month field trips to Himachal Pradesh. After handing the project over to Dr Denis Cosgrove, Jamie founded a similar program in Vietnam which focuses on school-based prevention and continuing professional development for local dentists. He also works as a private practitioner in Melbourne.
Ms Ary Maulita
Ary had some basic dental assistant training before enthusiastically joining us for a clinical field trip to Spiti. She took all the challenges in her stride and was the first Indonesian on our team. Ary currently works in a hospital in Papua.
Ms Pauline Read
Pauline is a retired high school teacher who joined us for a clinical field trip to Spiti. Pauline was in charge of the oral health education of over 800 students in two schools. She talked to teachers about incorporating oral health into the curriculum, performed science projects on acids and teeth, and talked to English teachers about the effects of advertising. She also gave talks to the house mothers and liaised with the principals about following up after our visit.
Ms Robyn Carter
Robyn brings organisation, common sense and humour to our field trips in the Kangra and Kulu valleys. She participated in an experimental outreach program using a simplified field trip concept (one dentist and one dental assistant) to treat mature age students in their twenties. Robyn currently works as a dental assistant in remote aboriginal communities across the Northern Territory.
Dr Mayin Chan
Mayin works as a locum dentist in Australia and overseas. She has been on numerous clinical field trips, and has been intimately involved with running educational workshops for Tibetan dental therapists. She helped to develop a standardised clinical manual. She has educated and mentored therapists in treatment planning, infection control and maintenance of equipment.
Dr Darryl Andrews
Darryl has been involved for close to 10 years with the teaching side of our work in India, running our workshops every two years and individually mentoring the less experienced dental therapists in their own surgeries. Darryl runs his own specialist practice in Perth.
Dr Garry Wells
Garry practised for 30 years as a restorative dentist in East Sydney, and now does locum work, mostly in Queensland. He joined the project 5 years ago to help run one of the dental refresher workshops, where we teach and mentor Tibetan dental therapists and provide them with hands-on training. He has also joined 2 clinical field trips in the Spiti valley.
Mr Amit Gupta
Our driver Amit has, over the years, become an indispensable part of the team. Based in Dharamsala, he drives us everywhere, from Kangra to Kulu to Spiti, often the long way around when landslides block our way. His car "Matilda" negotiates glaciers, treacherous drop-offs and creek beds to take us to our destination. Amit also works in the clinics, sterilising and translating.
Ms Justine Chambers
Justine is completing a Masters of Development, specialising in forced migration and refugee studies. She works with Amnesty International (Australia) as a Refugee Caseworker. Justine joined a field trip to SOGA, a school for older students, where she taught basic English, History and Geography.
Ms Melanie Brown
Melanie works at Barton Deakin, a government relations firm. She began her career as a Law Graduate at King & Wood Mallesons after completing a Bachelor of International Studies and Bachelor of Laws at the University of Sydney. Melanie joined a field trip in 2009 and taught young adults at the SOGA transit school. She joined later field trips as a dental assistant, and now co-ordinates the administration of the Project.
Dr Denis Cosgrove
Denis was born and educated in New Zealand, gaining a Masters degree and FRACDS. He ran a multi-operator private practice in Perth for 30 years, and was President of the West Australian Branch of the Australian Dental Association. Denis has worked with the Tibetan communities in India since 1991, and has a deep understanding of how best to work with community leaders to improve dental health in schools.
Ms Catherine Buck
Dental nurse extraordinaire, Catherine juggled the needs of three busy dentists at once on a Spiti field trip. Sterilising, setting up, mixing, passing, suctioning, organising queues of children - she handled it all! Catherine works in a private practice in Tasmania with Sheelagh.
Dr Srividya Kota
Sri joined a clinical field trip to SOGA transit school, a school for young Tibetan adults, in 2010. She set up a treatment clinic to support and extend the services provided by the two in-house nurses. She provided training to these nurses on transmissible diseases and smoking. In 2011 she visited Manali and Bhunta. Sri works as a Medical Registrar at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospitals in Brisbane.
Mr Christian Bourke
Christian is a Financial Analyst at a social media data analytics company. He completed a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws at the University of Sydney. He is on the management committee of the Achilles Running Group in Sydney, a running group which mobilises disabled runners. Christian visited several Tibetan Children's Village schools on an administrative trip, meeting with community leaders to discuss the future of the project. He now co-ordinates the administration of the project.