By Jennifer Meshanko for The Island Connection
Volunteer dentist, Dr. Robert Smith, was born in Titusville, Pa., to a family of medical professionals. His mother was a nurse and his father a dentist. At an early age, Dr. Smith knew he wanted to practice dentistry like his father.
He attended Allegheny College, a liberal arts school in Meadville, Pa. and went on to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Dentistry.
Shortly after graduation, he joined the Army and discovered his passion for pediatric dentistry when he performed dental cleanings for school children in the Head Start program between graduation and his Army basic training in Texas. He was stationed in Belgium for three years at a new general hospital where he volunteered to see all the young patients.
When Dr. Smith returned to the United States, he continued his education at the University of Pittsburgh to specialize in pediatric dentistry. Dr. Smith established his own practice in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh in 1973.
In addition to managing his practice for 35 years, Dr. Smith was a clinical instructor at the University of Pittsburgh.
He is past president of the Dental Society of Western Pennsylvania and chaired a council for the American Dental Association (ADA). In 2008, Dr. Smith sold his practice, and for the next five years he and his wife, Peggy, traveled up and down the Intracoastal Waterway. Out of all the cities they visited, they finally settled on Johns Island three years ago.
After moving to Johns Island, Dr. Smith volunteered with a week-long, medical mission trip to Honduras. He served as the dental officer along with six physicians, including Dr. William Sasser, who managed the equipment for the mission trip. After their return, Dr. Smith wanted to learn more about local volunteer opportunities, and Dr. Sasser, who is also a volunteer dentist, introduced him to Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach’s dental clinic.
Dr. Smith visited the Wellness Center two and half years ago, met our dental clinic manager, Dr. John Howard, and has been volunteering weekly ever since.
Dr. Smith enjoys giving back to the community and sharing his wealth of experience and knowledge with the dental students and residents. By volunteering at the dental clinic, Dr. Smith is able to help patients “take charge of their dental health and eliminate problems to prevent tooth decay. The patients are appreciative of the services.”
If you are interested in volunteering as a dentist with Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach or want to learn more about our various volunteer positions, contact Jennifer Meshanko at 843-559-4109 or Jennifer.email@example.com.