our

story

History

Since 1989, Project Haiti has been volunteering in Pignon to improve healthcare and surgery through educational training. In 2019, Project Haiti added to its expanding network of medical sub-specialties by incorporating dentistry. Partnering with dentist, Dr. Jim Birong who has been serving the area since 1996, Project Haiti Dental serves to educate and mentor dentists, prevent dental disease, and treat dental patients in the partnership clinic, Hopital Bienfaisance Dental Clinic in Pignon, Haiti. 

Why Pignon?

Dr. Paul Severson first traveled to Pignon, Haiti in 1989 to meet with Dr. Guy Theadore, a local surgeon who committed his life to giving back to his native city of Pignon. Dr. Paul was moved by the story of Dr. Guy. Dr. Paul became committed to working side by side with Dr. Guy and giving back to the beautiful city of Pignon, situated on the plateau of Haiti. Dr. Paul, with significant help from his core team members (Ron Vitalis, Mike Evans, and the late Patty Weitnauer alongside hundreds of volunteers of Project Haiti) have brought running water, an airport, and one of the most state of the art surgical suites in all of Haiti to the small city of Pignon. Pignon is now considered one of the surgical meccas of the entire Caribbean due to the generosity of donors, the power of volunteers, and the commitment from Project Haiti. Now it's time for dentistry to follow in those footsteps. 

About PROJECT HAITI DENTAL

Dr. McLean Severson's decision to become a dentist was highly influenced by his uncle, Dr. Paul Severson, because of his commitment to Haiti. Dr. McLean Severson graduated from University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 2014 alongside his wife and works full-time at River Oaks Dental in Aitkin, Minnesota. Dr. Paul's commitment to Pignon was one of the primary influences leading to his decision to pursue dentistry and now Dr. McLean Severson feels it's his time to give back to Pignon, for so clearly steering his life towards something he loves, the field of dentistry. The groundwork has been laid in the city of Pignon, the roots run deep, and it's time to utilize the networks created by Project Haiti to continue Dr. Birongs work and improve the oral health of Haiti. Project Haiti Dental core team members are Dr. Jim Birong, Dr. McLean Severson, and Brenda Mehr. We are excited for the opportunity to grow our team and expand our network.

Brenda Mehr, Registered Dental Hygienist, has had a desire to serve on a dental missions trip since graduating from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 2009. During college, she developed a passion for using her dental hygiene training to serve others through various volunteer opportunities. Brenda works as a clinical dental hygienist at River Oaks Dental in Aitkin, Minnesota, and is a wife & mom to three children. Brenda is committed to living a life of serving others and is honored to be a part of the Project Haiti Dental Team.

 

Our team cannot serve without the sacrifice of our spouses, families, and community that support us through our planning and traveling for Project Haiti Dental. We are humbled to have the opportunity to share our knowledge & expertise with the dental providers in Pignon, Haiti.