Media Advisory: UB dentist to spend Christmas in Lebanon providing free care to refugees

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BUFFALO, N.Y. – This Christmas, University at Buffalo professor Othman Shibly will travel to Lebanon to provide dental care to nearly 2,000 child refugees.

Following the weeklong mission, his fifth trip this year to Lebanon and Kurdistan, Shibly will have treated more than 11,000 patients, nearly all women and children – a feat it takes the average dentist 10 years to accomplish.

Undeterred by the rising civil unrest in Lebanon, this marks the first year Shibly will travel alone without volunteers from the U.S. or other nations.

“People’s needs don’t stop when there is unrest,” said Shibly, DDS, clinical professor and assistant dean for diversity and inclusion in the UB School of Dental Medicine. “If we cannot recruit outside volunteers, we have to be creative. I contacted local organizations and arranged for more than 20 local dentists and volunteers.”

The mission will run from Dec. 25-30 in refugee camps in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. He will perform treatments that range from filling cavities to extractions.

When: Shibly departs for Lebanon on Tuesday, Dec. 24. He will be available for interviews with media prior to 4 p.m. on Dec. 24. To arrange an interview, contact Marcene Robinson at 716—207—5814.

Where: Room 250, Squire Hall, South Campus. For a map of the campus, visit https://bit.ly/2SirXpJ.

Why: Since 2012, Shibly has helped open and support more than 20 dental clinics for Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and the Kurdish region of Iraq.

Through the UB Miles for Smiles program, with support from the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, Colgate-Palmolive and Syrian American Medical Society, Shibly has created dental clinics in these countries, founded schools and developed housing programs.

He also formed a community health care worker training program in Lebanon to carry on his work while he is away. The program has hired six full-time health care workers from refugee communities.