FOB Makes a Difference

The Friends of Barron annual dental clinic has affected the legislative process in Colorado. A recent legislative action, House Bill 1045, concerned the application of Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) by dental hygienists and was introduced by Representative Jonathan Singer and Senator Tate.  During the House committee hearing, one of the people to testify was Deb Astroth, RDH, BSDH, a member of the Barron dental mission team. She mentioned in her testimony the history of use of SDF with the children of Barron.

The committee unanimously voted to sent the bill to the full House where it was passed and sent to the Senate.  The Senate committee invoked a rarely used procedure to Supermotion the bill to the full Senate without a hearing as the full committee was supportive.

The Senate passed the bill and Governor Hickenlooper signed the law on March 22, 2018.

Friends of Barron is thrilled to participate in this marriage between science and politics. Without the intensive database maintained by FOB volunteers, compelling statistics that lead the way to legislative decisions would not have been available.

Thanks must go out to the Estrella Del Mar community for supporting our work both monetarily and physically, but also to the dedicated cadre of dental professionals who have traveled to Mazatlán annually for the last seven years. Working under MASH-type circumstances, they brave floods, outages, chaos and crowds, working their magic amongst the elementary school students in Barron. All of them. All 200 of them. Every year.

FOB is very proud to have contributed to the impeding health and welfare of the children of Colorado.

Kinder Fluoride Clinic Thanks

Hola everyone,

Thank you for such a great clinic. And a special thanks to Megan and Tyler who worked,  even though they are on vacation!  It always seems that a great crew shows up for every clinic and we all work so well together!

The kids are pretty special and I hope you all had as much fun as I did. If anyone got any good action shots, please send them to me.

Once again, thank you for your help with the kids. I think we are making some progress! We saw 59 kids today…14 were absent. Of the 59, 22 had caries…so 37% decay rate! Better than it was initially….but we will do better.

An AgN clinic and the Well Baby Clinic will be scheduled soon.


The Smiles in Barron Just Got Bigger!

Last week saw the completion of the sixth annual Barron Dental Clinic, sponsored by Friends of Barron.  The usual suspects showed up (the dentists, I mean) and they all worked their buns (and knees) off for four solid days. We treated a whopping 93% of the school aged children and their 4,845 teeth with the following results. The percentages indicate the number of kids that are cavity-free. The colors indicate the year of treatment, blue being this year.

Barron Smile Chart

The percentage increase in cavity-free smiles is huge. This tells me a few things:

  1. The kids aren’t afraid of the dentist.
  2. They actually have learned how to care for their teeth in less than optimum circumstances.
  3. That our dentists are the best.

Please join me in thanking this remarkable group of humanitarians.  Thanks must also go out to those EDM folks who allowed the group to use their condos that week. You are all so very special!!

2017 Medical Clinic Concludes


Left to Right, 1st ROW: Nurses Lourdes Orouno and Eric Jackson, doctors Robert Chang and Alvin Ong, Kris McGuire. ROW 2: Nursing assistants Miriam and Rosa. ROW 3: Nursing assistant Carolina, Nurses Barbara Sowa and Angie Portland, translators Lenny Rebecca Sigwarth Velasquez and Dick McGuire.

The 2017 Friends of Barron free medical clinic has come to close. This year, we treated over 100 adults, mostly the elderly, who were afflicted with both metabolic and orthopedic disease. Two American doctors, three nurses and a translator volunteered their time and paid their own expenses to travel to Mazatlan from the Pacific Northwest, Colorado and Connecticut in order to stage this, the fourth consecutive free medical clinic organized by FOB. Also participating for the first time this year was SAT-sponsored nurse Lourdes Orounó Soto and her team of three Mexican nurses-in-training.

Patients were seen both in the temporary “MASH”-type clinic in the town hall and in the privacy of their own homes if they were not ambulatory. While treatment of acute disease such as rhinitis, influenza and the like were way down, many orthopedic patients from last year’s clinic returned, hoping to benefit once again from pain relieving joint injections. Those suffering from diabetes, hypertension and other chronic disease were offered individual counseling along with expert advice on how to improve their lot.


Dental Clinic Passes Milestone

Estrella del Mar resident and retired dental hygienist Clair Silk has passed a milestone. Her original idea of trying to improve the dental health of the children of Barron has succeeded beyond her wildest expectations and she has managed to pass the responsibility of the program to local authorities.

Claire, along with EDM resident Janice Schoen, spend the morning of February 22, 2017 at the Barron kindergarten treating 65 four-, five- and six-year olds with fluoride. This program was initiated three years ago as a supplement to the full dental treatments administered to the entire primary school, a program that began in 2013. Over the course of the program, significant gains have been made in the dental health of the children of Barron.

barron-smile-chartAs you can see from the chart, the dental clinics have happened every year since 2013. We have treated over 14,000 teeth and every year, fewer and fewer of those teeth are decayed. Most significant is the improvement shown by the Class of 2017. These young people have demonstrated meteoric improvement in their dental health, beginning with a mere 12% of students with cavity-free smiles and ending with a whopping 82%  of cavity-free smiles last year. We expect additional improvements in this, their last year of treatment.

The more exciting news is that the town of Barron has also committed to building a medical facility that will eventually supplant our efforts. We fully expect that the medical outreach staff that is in place in Barron now will have suitable housing for future medical clinics and will eventually take over the dental program as well.

Thanks go out to all the EDM residents (Jan & Bill Schoen and Willie Portman) who have helped every year. Pictured below are the students-in-training who assisted Claire and Jan in the fluoride application. It’s interesting to note that two of the four trainees are former Friends of Barron Scholarship students.fullsizeoutput_2f9d


Dental Clinic Wraps Up

The 2016 Dental clinic has once again treated every willing kid in the Barron primary school, almost 200 children. Early results indicate continuing improvements in dental health across the board. Thanks go out to Dr Jeff Astroth and his wife Deborah Astroth for motivating and leading another excellent group of volunteers who paid their way here for the opportunity to work in a MASH type clinic. Controlled chaos springs to mind. 

Thanks also to EDM resident Claire Silk who ran the show .  Without her this would not happen 

FOB Dental Clinic Update

Smile ChartAfter three years of FOB’s dental study, preliminary examination of the data reveals a distinct upward trend in the dental health of the Barron Elementary School students. Every class shows an upward slope when compiling the percentage of kids with cavity free mouths.  Congratulations must first go to the students and their parents. They have paid attention to the repeated educational programs, incentivizing contests and stern lectures delivered in a variety of ways by FOB volunteers. Secondly, recognition must also go to EDM resident, FOB volunteer and retired Registered Dental Hygienist Claire Silk who started the program and spearheads the ongoing effort.  Her group of dentists and dental hygienists from Colorado, New Mexico and Oregon have three times arrived en mass to treat every willing kid at the school, some 220 kids a year. The amazing part is that the kids are not only willing, but excited to go the dentist. What an achievement! Next year will be no exception.

Additionally, another EDM owner, Todd Kaminsky DDS intends to assist with the annual Fluoridation Clinic held in January and perhaps an adult clinic. Together we are making a difference!


Medical Clinic Wraps Up

The second annual free medical clinic sponsored by Friends of Barron has come to a close. Our staff was very pleased with the turnout and pleased with the good they were able to do for the Barron population. We were able to successfully treat a variety of ailments from diabetes to arthritis, the most serious of which included a blocked ureter, rectal bleeding, heart arrhythmias, blurred vision, loss of vision and joint pain.

Nurses Barb Sowa and Anna Ohmes collect physical data

Nurses Barb Sowa and Anna Ohmes collect physical data

Many ailments could be treated using the donated and purchased pharmaceuticals but ten of the more serious cases were referred on to the co-operating Mazatlan doctors who will treat them for free and make sure they are directed to another place where they will receive appropriate and timely treatment.  Money to support the clinic was raised at a “Meet the Medical Team” Taco Party held, Wednesday, March 18 at the Estrella del Mar Phase One Palapa. Over 10,000 pesos was raised from the EDM residents and more than $15,000 was raised privately to support the medical staff and stock the pharmacy. This would not have been possible without the

Kay Yeagley & Dr Sandra Lithgow dispense prescriptions

Kay Yeagley & Dr Sandra Lithgow dispense prescriptions

support of the EDM community and the EDM residents who volunteered to be concierges. Many thanks go out to Bob & Julie Wallace, who were not only concierge to Anna & Barb, but who also hosted a staff dinner on Thursday night. Jack & Debbie Gilman, Kim & Heather Anders and Carolyn & Steve Barnet were also concierges and Debbie & Heather made a tray full of breakfast burritos which were much

Dr Ryan Dadasovich & son Ryder, Kay Yeagley, nurse, Dr Rod Kaasa, Dawn Martin, nurse, Lisa Brennan, nurse, Fran Festa nurse, Anna Ohmes, nurse, Dr. Bonnie McGuire, Barb Sowa, nurse, & Dr Sandra Lithgow.

Dr Ryan Dadasovich & son Ryder, Kay Yeagley, nurse, Dr Rod Kaasa, Dawn Martin, nurse, Lisa Brennan, nurse, Fran Festa nurse, Anna Ohmes, nurse, Dr. Bonnie McGuire, Barb Sowa, nurse, & Dr Sandra Lithgow


Dr Bonnie McGuire, clinic organizer, Greg McGuire, EPIC volunteer and translator, Dave Marvin, Terry Kaasa, & Lindy Marvin, patient intake specialists, and Dick McGuire, clinic organizer & translator.

appreciated. During off-clinic hours, many people chipped in to make sure the staff were able to travel into Mazatlan and enjoy our area. Thanks go out to Mike Winey for cooking the Saturday night meal, to Sue & Brad Heinkle for showing a group the Golden Zone, Cindy Weber for providing personal training, Jan & Bill Schoen  and Jan & Clay Simon for donating the use of their condos and Marie Claude & Fernando for donating the use of their home.

Dr Bonnie explains the basics of diet & nutrition to the class

Dr Bonnie explains the basics of diet & nutrition to the class

In addition to the medical clinic itself, Friends of Barron was able to offer a lecture on Healthy Living, presented by Bonnie & Greg McGuire. One obvious health concern for Barron residents is obesity induced diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. In an effort to head these serious health issue off at the pass, the lecture included basic information as well as a worksheet to calculate the present caloric intake of the participants. Using a simple procedure, Greg & Bonnie were able to demonstrate that a daily diet that includes 10 to 12 tortillas is not a diet that leads to weigh loss.

Greg McGuire, a Vail Int'l employee and volunteer shares his weigh loss experience with the class to illustrate the importance of food choices and portion sizes in a weight loss program.

Greg McGuire, a Vail Int’l employee and volunteer shares his weigh loss experience with the class to illustrate the importance of food choices and portion sizes in a weight loss program.

This year we offered an evening session to allow men & women who work long days in the fields to attend the clinic and a Saturday session. In all, we were able to treat 188 patients over the four-day long clinic.

The Saturday session included the help of Mazatlan Doctor Enrique Prado. He assisted with the Saturday morning session seeing patients and referring them to available resources.  FOB also appreciates the assistance of Dr Susana Pedrero who offered to treat patients in need of dental procedures for free. Thanks must also be extended to Dr Jose Murillo, a Mazatlan pharmacist, Dr Miguel Patino and Sr Juan Llausas for providing assistance and support from the local medical community. It must also be acknowledged that Dr Kaasa, Dr Lithgow and Dr Dadosavich donated significant amount of pharmaceuticals and supplies, bringing suitcases full of stuff all the way down from Connecticut and Canada. The cutest part of the clinic was Ryder Dadosavich who assisted his father at the clinic with unflagging enthusiasm, running errands, building blank medical records and dispensing treats, toys and T-shirts to children attending the clinic.

Claire Silk & some happy patients

Claire Silk & some happy patients

Another new component to the medical clinic was a “Caries Free at Three” program instituted by Claire Silk, an EDM resident and retired dental hygienist.  She spent Friday afternoon treating children too young to be included in the all kindergarten clinic she conducted the week before.  The goal is to educate the mothers about proper brushing techniques and sugar at night to prevent caries before they start.

The Healthy Living Lecture

The Healthy Living Lecture


Tired but happy medical staff

The Story of Jesus

Jesus with Dr Jeff Astroth, DDS.

Jesus with Dr Jeff Astroth, DDS.

Jesus Tirado lives in Barron. His mother cleans hotel rooms and his dad picks up odd jobs in the fields. Jesus used to sell golf balls along the eastern fence and then was accepted into the “Ninos del Rio” golf training program initiated with a gift from EDM golfers. He turned out to be a talented golfer and formed a fast friendship with the son of EDM residents Graham & Lee Smith. He was able to visit the Smith’s at their home in Ojai, CA. This kid knew he was going to be somebody someday so he stuck around and kept trying when door after door of opportunity closed.

So when the FOB CANAM inaugural dental clinic needed volunteers, Jesus and his friend Uriel stepped up and put in five long days helping the dental health workers treat the entire primary school population. They ran errands, they did paperwork, they herded the kids to where they needed to be. We couldn’t have done it without them. But Jesus was able to help translate inside the clinic as well due to his English skills. He helped sooth frightened kids who were seeing a dentist for the first time. He helped explain dicey situations to concerned parents. And he showed up every day, all day, always with a smile. He caught the attention of the volunteer dentists and they encouraged him to study dentistry.

Jesus is now in his second year of dental school, aided by a modest scholarship managed by FOB CANAM and sponsored by Graham & Lee Smith and Dick & Kris McGuire. For about $250 a month, this kid can go to dental school if he also works a part-time job. He still volunteers at every dental clinic gaining valuable insights working side-by-side with the experienced American dentist and hygienist volunteers; how to hide the needle from view and administer a painless injection, how to clean the hard-to-reach molars, how to explain consequences.

The volunteer dentists identified Jesus as a winner and FOBs sponsors made it happen

Future dentists?

Future dentists?


Friends of Barron is proud to announce the receipt of a $5000 grant from the Pierre Fouchard Academy, an honorary dental service organization ( Credit must go to Dr Kurt Ferre DDS, one of our volunteer dentists and Academy Member, identified the Academy as a potential source of funding. Additional thanks must go to Jeremy Kennell, an EDM resident who gathered all this input and produced the written grant proposal submittal last July. Monies will be used to purchase a dedicated dental unit and dental supplies for our ongoing dental clinic, an event that occurs annually. Last June, the clinic treated 222 primary school kids and 46 kindergarteners. A group of volunteer dentists and hygienists assembled by Claire Silk, herself a volunteer hygienist and EDM resident, are determined to affect change in the dental health of Barron’s youth. We have already seen a reduction in the number of cavities according to the ongoing comparative study that runs concurrently with the clinic. The study will run for five years and at that time, significant results are expected. Our dental health workers know that they can make a difference but they need facts to bolster their quest for future grant monies. They fully intend to make a significant difference over in Barron and they are willing to donate not only their professional time but their airfare. Their efforts to raise money to support their vision speaks to their dedication to the cause. But, in Mexico, it’s doubly hard to realize a vision due to all the red tape. So that’s where FOB CANAM steps in: We handle the logistics. We also manage the remaining financial support in the form of cash, translators, facility management and lodging. It’s not hard. It just takes dedication and donated time…… and money!