In the year 2000, a small group of students and dentists from Loma Linda, California traveled to Nicaragua to provide dental care to the children at a small school in a remote town outside the capital city of Managua. Students, teachers, administrators and the community welcomed our team with open arms, due to the limited access to dental care. The reality of this under-served population’s situation was seen first-hand, as the team found that many of their children had been living with decayed and infected teeth. The locals explained that this was not unusual, since the overwhelming majority continues to experience some level of dental-related pain. From there, the vision for long term impact began to grow.
Throughout the last 13 years, this group has continued to develop relationships with local leaders and organizations. Consistency and continued care has been thought to be the most effective way to empower the people of Nicaragua and ensure lasting results. The Foundation for Worldwide Health (FWH) was established in 2005 and brings down a team of nearly 60 dentists and dental students from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry to help carry out this vision. Along with providing continued care at the small school where it all started, FWH has expanded into five operating clinics in Nicaragua on an annual basis. In 2007, FWH developed a relationship with University Catolica (UNICA), a Catholic University which focused largely on areas of public health, housing both medical and dental schools. Teaming up with UNICA has allowed their Nicaraguan dental students to work side by side with Loma Linda students to provide care to their local people.
In 2010, FWH was invited to provide dental care to a community of coffee growers in a remote town of Boaco in the hills east of Managua. Tierra Nueva Union of Cooperatives consists of 650 coffee growing families with little or no access to dental care. Through the collaboration of the Foundation for Worldwide Health, UNICA, Tierra Nueva and a $30,000 grant from Rotary International, a dental clinic was built and equipped for continued use. When Loma Linda’s dental team is not in country, a rotation of Nicaraguan dental students and professors from UNICA provide dental services on an ongoing basis. The Foundation must see that this clinic continues to impact the lives of that community and look to expand into other areas without opportunity to receive care.
Bringing this dream to fruition requires financial resources. Within the last three years, San Diego dentist, Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick, began developing the vision for Cura Coffee Company, combining efforts with Point Loma Nazarene University’s business students to develop a formal business plan. Cura means “care” or “cure” in Latin. In an effort to help provide the needed financial resources, Cura is teaming up with Tierra Nueva Coop to sell their highest quality, organic coffee in the United States, which will be essential to making these clinics sustainable. Cura invites coffee lovers to connect with the growers through this effort. Dr. Fitzpatrick and the rest of the Cura team wants each person who enjoys a cup of Cura Coffee to know that they are helping to sustain these dental services and improve the lives of individuals with little or no access to care. This is direct-trade coffee, with direct impact, brought directly to you, the caring consumer.