15,000+ people treated in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Africa
25-50 volunteers for each mission
19 + missions completed
Interested in Contributing?
To provide training and preventive care for refugees and host communities in need around the world.
Education and Oral health should be available for all people around the world.
The University at Buffalo Miles for Smiles program is a bi-annual mission aimed at delivering free dental care and education to Syrian refugees. Under the leadership of Dr. Othman Shibly, Miles for Smiles is training volunteers and teachers at refugee camps in Lebanon to perform basic education and oral health care.
Since the Syrian crisis began in 2011, Miles for Smiles has provided treatment for thousands of refugees through medical missions in Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon. To further meet the growing need, Miles for Smiles has opened two full-time clinics in Turkey which provide free dental care to thousands of refugees.
These missions are possible because of the selfless volunteers and organizations who are committed to helping those in need. One such organization is the Alliance for the Oral Health, an organization that includes more than 30 Universities around the world who provide dental care for people living in conflict zones.
The 10th Global Miles for Smiles mission took place in Kurdistan from November 10 to 15th, 2019. During this mission, GMS had 65 volunteers and provided dental services, infection, and pain control for about 3,400 patients consisting of 1,550 children in the Yezidi camps, and 1,850 Syrian refugee children.
The 9th Global Miles for Smiles mission was held on October 6 - 12, 2019, in Lebanon. Our goal was to provide oral care for 2800 patients. By the end of the mission, 2602 patients received oral care. Our mission was at 93% success rate achievements. This was a milestone for Global Miles for Smiles, as this was our highest success rate during our missions. Two main aspects make this mission unique; first, the diversity of recipients of GMS services, from Lebanese Druz orphanage house to Lebanese children with special needs to the Syrian refugees. Additionally, the diversity of volunteers from several countries: Britain, India, Iraq, Kurdistan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Syria, and the USA.
The 8th Miles for Smiles mission was held from August 11 - 18, 2019, in Lebanon. The main focus of this mission was on Community Health Care Workers (CHWs). The Community Health Care Workers were trained with the refugees themselves to provide oral health preventive protocol all year round. Our CHWs demonstrated a significant impact on improving oral health for refugees and ensured sustainability and capacity building. Our CHWs motivate and educate refugees and the poor host community in Lebanon and Kurdistan on oral hygiene practices, providing them with toothpaste, toothbrushes, and teaching on nutrition concerning caries and oral health. The CHWs additionally apply fluoride varnishes and silver diamond fluoride.
The 7th Miles for Smiles mission was held from April 29 - May 5, 2019. This mission carried a lot of emotion and memories as 1284 children were treated. Approximately 450 of these children were from the Lebanon "Druz Orphanage house." The remaining children were refugees. We also evaluated 270 children who previously treated by community health care workers six months ago.
Our team consisted of 16 volunteers. Many thanks to Henry Schein, who provided us with all the materials and, many thanks for the Syrian American Medical Society who coordinated our trip and provided us with lunches, transportation and organized the camps. Many thanks for Colgate Bright Smiles program which provided us with oral hygiene kits, and to the British NGO Dental Mavericks who provided us with an additional three volunteers. Finally, many thanks to University at Buffalo who provided us with the scientific and research support and time to ensure quality assurance and lead these efforts.
There are so many interactions with the refugees, friendly people that touched our hearts. Here are some examples from Dr. Shibly:
Our mission in Kurdistan between March 31 to April 7 was a collaborative effort between Dohuk University College of Dentistry, University at Buffalo, Henry Schein, Colgate Bright Smiles, our UB alumni Global Mother Initiative (GMI) and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS). There were two outreach camps: Khanke Camp for Internally displaced population (Yezidi population) and Domiz Camp for Syrian refugees. The Dohuk Dental College provided over eighty  faculty and dental students volunteers.
The scope of our mission was to provide education and motivation for oral hygiene. Activities included:
1. Nutrition counseling;
2. Teaching children how to brush their teeth practically under supervision;
3. Examining children's teeth;
4. Distributing toothbrushes and paste to all students in both camps;
5. Apply silver diamond fluoride for cavitated teeth;
6. Apply fluoride varnishes on children's teeth to prevent tooth decay;
7. Refer teeth with infection to the Yezidi clinic that we established;
8. Refer restorative needs to the clinic where the camp was established.
During this mission, a total of 2459 students from displaced and refugee populations received our services. The dental mission lasted for four days, which included two days at the Khank Camp and two days at the Domiz Camp.
In order to maintain dental clinic services for the Yezidi refugees, Dr. Shibly was able to obtain a grant that pays for a full-time dentist and dental assistant from the Syrian American Medical Society Foundation. Additionally, Henry Schein provided dental materials for the clinic and the Kurdistan Department of Health in promised to provide all future dental clinic needs.
In February 2019, UB Miles for Smiles finished establishing the first Dental clinic to serve Yezidi refugee community in Khanke Camp in Dohuk Iraq Kurdistan. This was the result of the sincere efforts and collaboration between Global Mothers initiatives (British NGO that runs support unit to help the Yezidi women refugees), UB Dental School, Dohuk University Dental College and Henry Schein Cares Program.
In October 2018, Global Miles for Smiles completed its 6th Miles for Smiles Mission. During this mission, 987 Syrian refugees and Lebanese children were treated. There were a number of things that made this outreach event unique including:
Community healthcare workers [CHWs] from amongst the refugee population were trained by our volunteer dentists to help provide refugee dental care on a daily basis.
Our work will not be limited to only two trips a year, instead, our work will continue all year around.
The excursion was not limited to refugees, but also includes treatment of those in need from the host community.
Miles for Smiles completed its 15th mission to the area and expanded care to teenagers and children with disabilities. The trip ran from April 30 to May 6, delivering treatment to 900 refugee children and 300 children with disabilities who attend Ecole Saint Maxime Kfarchima in Beirut, Lebanon.
Volunteers from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, King's College London Dental Institute, Saint Joseph University of Beirut, and individual practitioners from the United States, France and Kuwait helped fix cavities, perform extractions, deliver oral health education and more.
Since 2012, Dr. Shibly has helped open more than 20 dental clinics in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon; and formed 15 schools in Syria that have taught more than 5,000 children.
Our sponsors include Henry Schein, Colgate, Syrian American Medical Society, Multi-Aid Programs, along with other NGOs
Henry Schein, the world's largest provider of healthcare products and services has donated more than $200,000 worth of dental supplies and equipment.
Colgate is supporting our programs in Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq.
Syrian American Medical Society assisted with organizing logistics and support along with other NGOs.
Multi-Aid Programs assisted with organizing logistics and support along with other NGOs.
Othman Shibly, DDS, MS
Clinical Professor, Department of Periodontics and Endodontics