Dr. Venkatraman Duraiappa’s roots may be planted firmly in Minnesota, but the desire to give back to his home country of India is near and dear to his heart.
Dr. Duraiappa first started his journey of improving the oral health of residents of India in July 2013, when he visited a dental office in Chennai run by Prosthodontist Dr. Naidu. "People in this area are very poor. If they are missing teeth, they simply learn to live without teeth knowing they will never be able to afford the dental treatment that they really need," stated Duraiappa. During his time at the clinic, Dr. Duraiappa purchased the needed supplies and successfully placed around 30 dental implants. "It really felt great to give to others that otherwise would have lived their entire lives without their teeth," stated Duraiappa.
Children also hold a special place for Dr. Duraiappa. During his stay, he also visited an orphanage in India which housed many homeless children and was operated by just one person. "It’s really hard to watch children grow up without basic things that they need to survive. I was so moved by my visit that I made the decision to donate $10,000 to this orphanage, hoping that with my help they can improve the quality of living for the children that may never find somewhere permanent to call home."
In April 2014, Duraiappa will be making the journey back to India where he will be going back to the dental clinic to check on the patients that received implants last summer. He will also be donating his time to perform sinus lifts for patients in need while he is there. Another stop on his list will be to visit a nearby religious hospital that offers free dentistry where Duraiappa donated $5000. He would like to see how they have improved the needs of the dental office so they are able to provide better patient care.
Duraiappa has gained both personally and professionally from his time in India. "While performing many of these very complex procedures in a short amount of time, it helps to increase my confidence as an implant dentist, so that when I go back to the States I am able to provide services like these to my own patients," stated Duraiappa. "The joy of giving back to communities in great need is a wonderful feeling!"
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