Skip to main content

Military Health System

Military Dentists Provide Relief and Support in Central America

Image of U.S. Army Sgt. Thomas Lemieux (center), dental assistant with Army Forces Battalion, Joint Task Force-Bravo, and Col. Franklin Florence (right), general dentist with Army Forces Battalion, Joint Task Force-Bravo, prepare a patient for an extraction with assistance from a Honduran volunteer during a Global Health Engagement at Los Laureles, Santa Barbara department, Honduras, Feb. 15. JTF-Bravo, in conjunction with Honduran Ministry of Health representatives, conducted the mission to provide dental and other medical services with volunteer support from Honduran medical students, who served as interpreters. U.S. Army Sgt. Thomas Lemieux (center), dental assistant with Army Forces Battalion, Joint Task Force-Bravo, and Col. Franklin Florence (right), general dentist with Army Forces Battalion, Joint Task Force-Bravo, prepare a patient for an extraction with assistance from a Honduran volunteer during a Global Health Engagement at Los Laureles, Santa Barbara department, Honduras, Feb. 15. JTF-Bravo, in conjunction with Honduran Ministry of Health representatives, conducted the mission to provide dental and other medical services with volunteer support from Honduran medical students, who served as interpreters. (Photo: Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs)

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | TRICARE Dental Care

Cavities or other dental troubles are problems faced by people around the world. 

In February, hundreds of locals from communities in Honduras received dental and medical treatment during a Global Health Engagement that Joint Task Force-Bravo’s medical element conducted to help the area’s local population. 

“We treated about 200 citizens, performing multiple extractions and/or providing preventive counseling,” said Army Col. (Dr.) Franklin Florence, the dental officer in charge for the joint medical team. The team deployed to provide preventive medicine, primary care, basic surgeries, dental and pharmacy services to locals in San José de Oriente and Los Laureles. 

“Happily, lots of people who otherwise have great difficulty getting to dentists received needed care,” he added. 

The joint task force operates as the U.S. Southern Command’s lead forward-based element in Central America to promote stability and counter transnational and transregional threat networks. The task force conducts these types of exercises often to develop relationships and partnerships with local officials and entities, “while enhancing citizens’ health,” said Florence. 

“Our aim is to treat all individuals with respect and truly try to help them,” he said. 

As part of U.S. SOUTHCOM’s commitment to strengthening partner nation capacities, JTF-Bravo conducts medical exercises throughout Honduras and Central America every year to support local medical efforts as well as maintain expeditionary readiness, providing real-world benefits to the Honduran population. 

Readiness Test 

These exercises are also a test of medical readiness, “to self-evaluate and improve our readiness while enhancing our partnership with our Central American neighbors,” said Florence. 

During the event, U.S. military medical personnel partnered with local Hondurans to serve the local population. 

“The medical readiness exercises represent a good training tool for U.S. military medical personnel,” said Dr. Wilmer Amador, a Honduran dentist and medical liaison with Joint Task Force-Bravo. “But at the same time, they represent a valuable opportunity for the host nation to deliver medical and dental assistance or care in communities that might be underserved.” 

Engagements like these are a “win-win situation for both countries,” he added.

Army Col. Franklin Florence, general dentist with Army Forces Battalion, Joint Task Force-Bravo, performs an extraction on a young Honduran girl at Los Laureles, Santa Barbara department, Honduras, Feb. 15. Dental services were provided during a Global Health Engagement conducted by JTF-Bravo in conjunction with local Ministry of Health representatives and host nation volunteers. Additional services included preventive medicine, primary care, and pharmacy.
Army Col. Franklin Florence, general dentist with Army Forces Battalion, Joint Task Force-Bravo, performs an extraction on a young Honduran girl at Los Laureles, Santa Barbara department, Honduras, Feb. 15. Dental services were provided during a Global Health Engagement conducted by JTF-Bravo in conjunction with local Ministry of Health representatives and host nation volunteers. Additional services included preventive medicine, primary care, and pharmacy. (Photo: Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs) 

People Everywhere Suffer from Dental Woes 

As with any patient, the medical element personnel saw a variety of issues in Honduras, “from unknown bumps or infections to broken teeth, to small cavities,” said Florence. 

“The wonderful people that I’ve had the privilege to help in Honduras have been typical of others that I’ve helped – they have a need, and we are very pleased to be able to help them,” he said. 

He explained that in this type of environment, they might also perform extractions or refer patients to local dental clinics to get small cavities restored. 

In this case, “we were involved in both treatment of dental pain and infections,” he added. “Also, we highly emphasize teaching children and young people about the best dental brushing and care habits, and how to stay healthy with prevention,” he said. 

This is not new to Florence, who has worked as a civilian and Army dentist in 12 countries. 

“All health care professionals recognize that oral health is truly the ‘gateway’ to our nutrition and overall health,” said Florence. “Keeping most of your teeth, and keeping your oral health is one very important key to long life and overall health.” 

As for the future, he’s hopeful for the broader cadre of services these engagements will be able to provide, such as restorative services. 

“We are testing new equipment in the field that we will be able to utilize in the future,” he said. “To be able to work with, educate, and sometimes treat people is a great privilege.”

You also may be interested in...

10 ways to support holistic heart health

Article
2/26/2021
picture of a heart running on the treadmill with the words "healthy heart for body and soul. ten ways to support holistic heart health"

Tips for a Total Force Fitness approach to keeping your heart healthy

Recommended Content:

Heart Health | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Heart Health Toolkit | Heart Health Toolkit

Good oral care requires lifetime commitment

Article
2/25/2021
Military health personnel, sitting in front of a group of children, showing them how to brush their teeth using a stuffed animal

Children’s Dental Health Month focuses on the importance of developing good oral hygiene habits at an early age.

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health | Total Force Fitness

Proper diet, sleep, exercise, and joy key to heart health

Article
2/24/2021
Military personnel working out at the gym

Heart health is crucial to service members’ readiness throughout their high-stress careers. Working to achieve that takes self-discipline and moderation, but also joy, integrity, and social interaction

Recommended Content:

Heart Health | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Heart Health Toolkit | Heart Health Toolkit | Heart Health Toolkit

Training for a healthy heart can improve overall health

Article
2/22/2021
Military personnel wearing a mask exercising in the gym

Service members must be heart healthy to perform optimally throughout their military careers.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Physical Fitness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Heart Health

WRNMMC nurses recognized for work with Virtual Cardiac Rehab

Article
2/19/2021
Two military personnel wearing face mask standing on gym equipment

WRNMMC’s Cardiac Rehab Center continues to care for patients during ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Heart Health | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Nursing in the Military Health System

Keeping kids’ teeth healthy during a pandemic: brush, floss, no sugar

Article
2/18/2021
Military health personnel wearing a face mask examines the mouth of a child

Pediatric dentistry requires tooth brushing, flossing and sugar avoidance. During a pandemic, getting to a checkup has been hard.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness

DOD initiatives address the sexual health of our military

Article
2/17/2021
Image of a bacterium

STIs are important to identify and treat because they can impact service members’ health and readiness, as well as their ability to perform their duties.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Health Readiness & Combat Support | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Men's Health | Women's Health | Sexually Transmitted Infection Prevention

Total Force Fitness Reintroduction

Video
2/17/2021
Total Force Fitness Reintroduction

The Military Health System is reintroducing Total Force Fitness. The Total Force Fitness concept focuses on a service member’s entire health throughout their career, connecting eight dimensions of fitness to optimize health, performance, and readiness holistically.

Recommended Content:

Physical Fitness | Environmental Fitness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Spiritual Fitness | Psychological Fitness | Social Fitness | Financial Fitness | Mobile Apps

Fort Irwin & TDP collaborate to improve dental care for families

Article
12/16/2020
Image of a bus with the words "Military Dental Services" on the side

The need for family dentistry at Fort Irwin was the result of losing their network civilian dentist on base last spring.

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Dental Care

Sleep, Healthy Diet, and Good Exercise—Your Invisible Body Armor Against Infection

Article
8/24/2020
Soldier holding a bowl of lettuce and vegetables

[P]reventive maintenance is necessary to ensure continuous readiness and maximum performance.

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness

Administration of TRICARE Dental Plans Through FEDVIP

Congressional Testimony
10/4/2019

H.R. 5515 NDAA for FY 2019, Section 713

Recommended Content:

Information for Patients: About TRICARE | TRICARE Dental Care

Measles Myths: The Measles Can Be Life-Threatening

Video
9/30/2019
Measles Myths: The Measles Can Be Life-Threatening

Measles can be life-threatening, especially for children and among people who have a compromised immune system.

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare Division | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Measles-Mumps-Rubella

Measles Myths: Hand Washing Alone Won't Prevent Measles

Video
9/23/2019
Measles Myths: Hand Washing Alone Won't Prevent Measles

Hand washing alone will not prevent the spread of measles. Dr. Margaret Ryan, preventive medicine physician, debunks some myths about vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare Division | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Measles-Mumps-Rubella

Measles Myths: Vaccines Are Safe

Video
9/17/2019
Measles Myths: Vaccines Are Safe

Vaccine components have been rigorously tested for safety. Dr. Margaret Ryan, preventive medicine physician, debunks some myths about vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare Division | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Measles-Mumps-Rubella

Measles Myths: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism

Video
9/12/2019
Measles Myths: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism

Vaccines that prevent measles do not cause autism. Dr. Margaret Ryan, preventive medicine physician, debunks some myths about vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare Division | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Measles-Mumps-Rubella
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 61 - 75 Page 5 of 6
Refine your search
Last Updated: March 08, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery