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Professor Sokal-Gutierrez's Rural Health Interventions in El Salvador and Elsewhere Gain National Attention

HRA affiliated professor and pediatrician Karen Sokal-Gutierrez and her many student volunteers are gaining prominence for their oral health interventions in rural regions of El Salvador, as well as in Ecuador, Nepal, and Vietnam.

The PBS Newshour recently featured a report on the program in El Salvador, the first country where this program was started (in 2004), before expanding to other countries. Within this project model, volunteers promote oral health on the ground among children and families, train health workers, and donate supplies.

An epidemic of tooth decay exists in rural areas because processed snack foods and beverages are plentiful and inexpensive, having replaced fruits and other local staples in many village markets. Dr. Sokal-Gutierrez's study found that 85 percent of young children in rural areas of El Salvador have tooth decay, nearly half experience mouth pain, and many suffer from oral infections, tooth loss, and malnutrition.

Visit the PBS Newshour web page to view the featured video. Another news story about the El Salvador project was released on June 15th by the UC Berkeley News Center. Information about all of Dr. Sokal-Gutierrez's rural oral health projects can be obtained on this HRA website (search country's name at

Dr. Sokal-Gutierrez's email address is Tax-deductible donations to the projects can be made through the UC Berkeley School of Public Health online:

June 2012