Esperanca, local organization changing health equation locally, globally

Dr. Sandi Perez, executive director of the Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation addresses attendees at the 6th Annual Hope Breakfast hosted by Esperanca. (submitted photo)

Dr. Sandi Perez, executive director of the Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation addresses attendees at the 6th Annual Hope Breakfast hosted by Esperanca. (submitted photo)

Hope is a word that gets used frequently and means many different things to many different people. To local organization, Esperanca, it is improving the health of the poorest communities worldwide through sustainable disease prevention, education and treatment.

On May 5, hope was the topic of the organization’s annual fundraising breakfast where attendees learned about the many nations and communities where Esperanca completes humanitarian work.

With a direct focus on providing the tools, training and support for the poorest communities of the world to achieve optimal health, Esperanca has a presence in Bolivia, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua and Peru, according to a press release.

This nonprofit also has a Phoenix program with a direct focus on health education to combat obesity, lifestyle-related chronic diseases and oral health.

In early 2016, Esperanca received a $15,000 grant from the Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation to assist with their local oral health program. Scottsdale resident Dr. Sandi Perez, executive director of the foundation addressed event attendees about what hope means to her and how dental health is something that cannot be segregated from one’s overarching health.

“Good overall health is a most fundamental and essential aspect of our life, but somewhere along the way, oral health and the mouth was somehow diminished in significance,” stated Dr. Perez in the release. “The truth is that oral health is of utmost importance to overall health, especially for expectant mothers. Oral care is as important for their baby as the vitamins, healthy diet and regular doctors’ visits that they maintain during pregnancy.”

Esperanca President and CEO, James Hoyt also shared some staggering statistics learned through the Phoenix program that serves low-income and under-served families in the central Phoenix 1-17 corridor. Stats show four out of 10 third graders have untreated tooth decay which ranks third highest in the nation and over one million hours of school are missed each year because of dental problems.

“Esperanca is putting oral health back in the equation by educating and increasing access to dental care in communities that would normally not have the opportunity and Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation is proud to support this effort,” stated Dr. Perez in the release.

Since 1970, Esperanca has been providing programs to improve the health and well-being of the world’s poor.  Headquartered in Phoenix, this international nonprofit provides volunteer surgical missions, health education, training of community health workers, home building, clean water projects, micro enterprise, agricultural development, dental treatment and prevention programs, and sends donated medical equipment and supplies to project sites around the world.

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