Dr. Joshua Parry believes Veterans are greatly underserved in most areas of the country, particularly with dental care, so in 2019 he created an event in Pennsylvania to help provide them with donated dental care. In its inaugural year, “Operation Make a Vet Smile” donated $18,000 of dentistry, and Dr. Parry and the teams at Kraisinger Family Dentistry and Pittsburgh Facial Aesthetics have plans to increase that number exponentially in 2022.
How will Dr. Parry’s “Operation Make a Vet Smile” help Veterans in 2022?
“The first event was only held at 1 of our 4 locations, but for 2022 we are planning to involve all of our locations,” said Dr. Parry, who was recently honored with Incisal Edge magazine’s signature “40 Under 40″ award for young dentists.
“In our first year of the program, we were able to donate $18,000 of dentistry to local veterans in a single day! The original plan was to have these events at least yearly, but then the pandemic derailed that temporarily. We are currently planning the next event which tentatively will be in March 2022.”
In the interim, the dental team has created new opportunities to supports the dental needs of underserved Veterans.
“At the event, we are mostly providing basic services, but since then, I and our associate dentists have all donated more complex treatments and entire treatment plans to several Veterans.”
“I have always had a lot of respect for Veterans, so this was just a natural extension of this and the core values of why we went into the dental field in the first place…to help people.”Dr. Joshua Parry, Murrysville, Pennsylvania
Looking for ways to thank and help Veterans?
Even if you’re not able to donate dentistry, there are so many ways to support those who have served their country, noted Dr. Parry.
“An alarming number of the veterans we have worked with are homeless or are without consistent shelter and food. One thing that comes to mind with winter and the holidays coming up would be to donate food and warm clothes to local Veterans’-based charities, or volunteer at local shelters and soup kitchens,” said Dr. Parry.
“While I’m not against donating money to any of the great veteran-focused charities, I really think donating your time and effort makes a huge difference.”
What advice does this Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 honoree offer young dentists who want to do it all – including humanitarian efforts?
1. Creating a great team is priority #1.
“You can’t actually do it all. At least not at the same time. Instead of trying to micromanage everything, I recommend prioritizing having a great team around you. If you have that, then you can get your practice running well enough to spare you some time and mental space to be able to focus on giving back,” said Dr. Parry.
2. Consider conservation.
Something people might not know about Dr. Parry: prior to dental school he spent time as a fishing guide. He’s extremely passionate about what he describes “conscious conservation and sustainable use of natural resources”.
“If there is anyone out there that is looking for a cause to support, I would suggest this. It shouldn’t just be a concern for people (like me) who spend a lot of time outdoors. It’s a consideration for people who spends any time at all outside… who enjoy seeing wild animals, or who like to breathe air. :)”
For anyone not sure where to begin, he offered a few suggestions.
“I believe two of the best organizations for bringing people together from all backgrounds and political viewpoints to focus on these issues are Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA) and The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF),” said Dr. Parry.
“I encourage everyone to learn more about these organizations and initiatives they are working on in your local area that could benefit you and your community.”