Dentistry and Oral Health

Dentistry and Oral Health

Clinical Rotations & Public Health Placements

Social Security Hospital- Located in the historic old town of Quito, this public hospital provides dental care to patients who are registered with the Ecuadorean Social Security program. Services offered include general dentistry, maxillofacial surgery, and dental prosthesis. The dental clinic counts with 9 professionals. Each preceptor will only oversee one participant. Assist local with x-rays and oral exams and patient histories. Help provide prophylaxis treatment to patients in a variety of situations such as teeth cleaning, gum massage, and periodontal scaling. Assist local dentists with the removal of plaque, tartar and bacteria above and below the gum line.

Participants will have the chance to learn how to screen each patient for oral cancer and also act as an oral health educator, educating patients on proper tooth brushing techniques, flossing and rinsing.

Private Dental Office North Quito- Located in the northern part of Quito, this private dental office consists of 6 dental professionals . Services offered include orthondotics, endodoncy, and periodoncy and general odontology. Assist local professionals with oral cavity, take impressions and apply protective agents such as fluoride and sealants.

Primary Healthcare Center Dental Clinic- This dental clinic is part of an underserved public primary healthcare clinic and offers basic dental services such as oral exams and other services.

Oral Health Presentations- Participants may be asked to present at a local school or at the primary health care center dental clinic on topics such as proper tooth brushing techniques, flossing and rinsing. Activities may also include screening for early diagnosis of oral cancer for senior citizens or oral hygiene care during pregnancy. The local language school will assist participants in drafting a script for any of the educational sessions/presentations.

CFHI is considered a global health ethics leader therefore CFHI programs uphold strict standards and comply with all local laws regarding student involvement in health settings. Your experience on the program depends on your previous clinical training (if applicable), Spanish level, and the relationship you build with your supervising preceptor. Above all, YOU are the most important factor in making the CFHI experience as fulfilling as possible by being respectful, inquisitive, and open to the wide variety of learning experiences which you will encounter.


Quito is the capital of Ecuador, one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world. It was founded in the 16th century atop the ruins of an Incan city. Today, this modern metropolis boasts a diverse population of about two million people. As the capital and economic hub of the country it attracts migrants from rural areas - mostly indigenous groups, as well as immigrants from neighboring countries.

Quito is nestled in a valley within the Andes mountain range, surrounded by volcanoes and impressive peaks. At an elevation of 9, 000 feet above sea level, it is considered one of the highest capitals in the world. Due to its close proximity to the equator, the climate is spring-like all year long, with warm days and cool nights. Quito’s historic center is one of the largest and least altered in the Americas and one of the first world cultural heritage sites declared by UNESCO in the 1970’s. As the nation’s capital, it is a lively urban center with dancing, dining, historical sites, shopping and museums.

Things to Do

CFHI participants have free time during most evenings and weekends and may choose to organize weekend trips to nearby destinations and take part in cultural activities offered within Quito itself.

Within Quito, popular activities include visiting the “middle of the world” or the equatorial line, the famous Guayasamin art museum and home, and the historic city center. Quito is also served by various bus lines thus is an ideal jumping off point to see the rest of the country. Travel to the Amazon to hike, nature watch, and visit jungle communities. Closer to Quito and ideal for a day or weekend trip is Otavalo, a primarily indigenous town that has maintained its traditional way of life and is renown for its weekly market.

Arrival Information

Participants should arrive in Quito, Ecuador on the program start date and will be picked up from the airport by a CFHI representative and taken to their homestay. A welcome orientation will take place the Sunday or Monday after arrival.

Visas are not required for U.S. citizens staying less than 3 months in Ecuador. More information on travel and logistics will be provided by CFHI after acceptance into the program.

Meet the Local Team

Dr. Carlos Ortiz- CFHI Medical Director in Quito. The role of the Medical Director is to arrange clinical and public health placements, supervise the participant experience at these sites, and provide instruction on healthcare topics during weekly meetings. Dr. Ortiz is the expert on socioeconomic determinants of health in the region and healthcare delivery strategies in low-resource settings.

Dr. Ortiz obtained his DDS/DMD degree from the Universidad Central del Ecuador. He also specialized in Endodoncy and Public Health Administration. He is the President of many local and national odontological societies (Colegio de Odonotologos de Pichincha y Chimborazo, Federacion Odontologica Ecuatoriano, Instituto Nacional de Capacitacion y Perfeccionamiento de los Odontologos del Ecuador). Dr. Ortiz, along with Ms. Rosa Tamayo, will help coordinate the clinical part of the program.

Rosita Tamayo - CFHI Local Coordinator in Quito: The role of the local coordinator is to organize housing, transportation, orientation and weekly meetings. Rosita is a great resource for any questions related to navigating the program locale, cultural norms and tips on planning weekend travel.

Rosita has served CFHI since 1998. Rosita is co-founder and owner of the language school that CFHI participants attend and also regularly hosts CFHI students from in her home. She participated in an intercultural exchange as a young student, and lived the United States for a year. Rosita graduated from the Universidad Central del Ecuador with a degree in International Relations. Rosita has a passion for volunteerism and supporting underserved communities.

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