November 19, 2008

Mission to Limatambo

Students and faculty from Tufts Dental School brought their skills to an orphanage in the mountains outside of Cuzco, Peru

By Julie Flaherty

Slide show by Taylor McNeil

This past spring, Aidee N. Herman, a clinical associate professor of periodontology at Tufts Dental School, led a group of 22 dentists, students and other volunteers on a humanitarian trip to Limatambo, Peru, about two hours outside of Cuzco.

Click on the play button to see a slide show and hear Professor Charles Rankin talk about the dental mission to Limatambo, Peru.

They were based at the orphanage of Casa del Aguila, where they provided dental care to the orphans and the villagers, mostly children, who trekked in from the surrounding mountains. Some of the 240 patients they treated walked for hours to have a tooth extracted or a filling put in—and then walked hours more for the return trip home.

The orphanage in Limatambo, where the Tufts dental team set up a temporary clinic, was built recently, but the equipment the dentists used was less than ideal. “But it kept us going for four days,” says Charles Rankin, D79, DG86, a professor of endodontics, as the team performed cleanings, extractions, restorations and pulpotomies on infected baby teeth.

The mission, sponsored by the Tufts University Hispanic Dental Association, was not the only stop for the dental students. They also toured Cuzco and the Inca ruins at Machu Picchu, which was built around 1450. Rankin, an avid photographer, documented their journey. “I hope it wasn’t a once-in-a-lifetime trip,” he says.

Julie Flaherty can be reached at Taylor McNeil can be reached at

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