By Jay Tokasz
As he walked among Syrian refugees living in tents this summer in Turkey, Othman Shibly couldn’t help but picture himself and his family.
Having grown up in Syria, Shibly identified with the pain and suffering of tens of thousands of people forced to flee their homes and find safety in a foreign country.
Shibly knew he had to do something. So the Amherst resident and University at Buffalo faculty member decided to focus on what he knows best – dental care.
He helped spearhead the opening of two full-service dental clinics serving Syrian refugees in Turkey, and he returned to the region for 10 days last month to provide dental care and train other dentists.
One of the clinics, in Reyhanli, near the Syrian border, already has served 1,056 patients since it opened Oct. 9. More than 500 patients have been treated at the other clinic in Kilis, said Shibly, a periodontist and associate director of the Center for Dental Studies at UB.
Why shouldn’t Syrian refugees have healthy teeth and gums, and live without pain in their mouth? he figured.
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