The concept of Indiana University School of Dentistry’s (IUSD) International Service-learning (ISL) program began in 1999, when IU School of Medicine invited IUSD to become part of their annual Spring Break work-week in Calnali, Mexico. The children they were treating in Calnali were clearly in need of dental care. The rest of the story reveals ten years of blossoming student and faculty participation in building international partnerships and working with many cultures in diverse global locations.
Following that first trip to Mexico with IU School of Medicine, it soon became apparent that IUSD had hidden treasures of faculty members who had lived and worked in international settings and were not only willing, but were enthused about mentoring students in international and multicultural service-learning. In 2000 Dr. E. Angeles Martinez-Mier, who was raised in and practice dentistry in Mexico and Dr. Timothy Carlson, who worked as a dentist in Haiti for two years were the first faculty members to lead teams to provide dental services during their Spring Break week. Today, they continue to take leadership roles in directing IUSD-ISL together with Dr. Karen Yoder, Director of the Division of Community Dentistry who went to Calnali in 1999 with IUSM to assess the potential for IUSD involvement and was instrumental in launching the IUSD program in 2000.