Off the beaten path

Dr. Kevin Lobay works at a clinic in Uganda.

Edmonton physician and dentist Dr. Kevin Lobay is inspired by the patients he meets as he travels the world.

Dr. Lobay volunteers with Kindness in Action, a non-partisan Alberta group with a primary focus on oral health.

The people in Uganda are incredibly impoverished, yet they’re among the happiest people I’ve ever met. For me it just shows that happiness isn’t about the things you have or don’t have.

VIDEO

Learn more about Dr. Lobay's goodwill trip to Cambodia.

Dr. Lobay

As a volunteer with Kindness in Action, Dr. Kevin Lobay has made seven trips since 2006, each one taking him to a country where modern dental and medical care is urgently needed. “The minute you hit the ground you’re organizing supplies and setting up your workspace,” explains Dr. Lobay. “Then you get to work doing cleanings, fillings, extractions, draining abscesses and educating people on how to manage problems.”

Often Dr. Lobay and his colleagues struggle to secure electricity to power the tools they need, relying on local ingenuity to keep things running. And even with power, sometimes the tools simply won’t work. “On our most recent trip to Uganda often the equipment didn’t work, so we did what we could, doing extractions and hand scaling.” As a physician, he was also able to treat minor injuries and perform sutures when necessary.

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Dr. Lobay and his team adapt to conditions at one of their clinics, dealing with power supply issues.

Dr. LobayAlthough the work can be exhausting, Dr. Lobay – a clinical lecturer in the department of emergency medicine and a clinical instructor with the School of Dentistry at the U of A – is inspired by the patients he meets on his trips. “The people in Uganda are incredibly impoverished, yet they’re among the happiest people I’ve ever met. For me it just shows that happiness isn’t about the things you have or don’t have.”

Dr. Lobay has shared his international experience with both students and colleagues and often sends out a call within the faculty when a new mission is being planned. “I tell everyone that this is an incredible opportunity to see the world and learn more about yourself and what you’re really capable of.”

Find out more about Dr. Lobay's projects

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