Custom Trailer OEM Helps in Humanitarian Effort
Designing a mobile dental clinic is no easy task, especially for a small team of undergraduate students of engineering and architecture design at Arizona State University.
According to a press release, the five students, who call themselves “Engineering Smiles,” have spent the past two years designing a mobile dental clinic, which they plan to donate to IMAHelps, a California-based non-profit which organizes the largest medical and dental humanitarian missions in Central America.
But when the students started calling trailer manufacturers to inquire about the cost of building a mobile dental clinic using their designs, they got the brushoff.
“We found a couple of companies out there that do medical trailers that cost between $800,000 and $1.5 million. But they wanted hefty deposits and one of them wouldn’t even talk to us unless we put down a $200,000 deposit,” said Nicholas Kemme, a project engineer for the Engineering Smiles. “They weren’t all that interested even in helping out for a good cause.”
The students had a different reception, however, when they contacted Becker Custom Trailers. The 35-year-old, family owned business not only listened to the students, but offered them a discount on their down payment, gave them extra time to pay it, and coached them on their designs.
“We’re pretty excited about this project and to have the opportunity to work with these inspiring engineering and architecture design students,” said Scott Rausch, director of marketing for Becker Custom Trailers, whose clients range from personal end-users, the military, corporate executives and search and rescue dive teams.
“We look forward to seeing this project to fruition.”
Engineering Smiles recently launched a fundraising campaign through its website at www.engineeringmiles.org and hopes to raise $60,000 to pay for the purchase of the trailer and other supplies needed for the mobile dental clinic.
Assuming fundraising is successful this fall, Engineering Smiles will pay Becker Custom Trailers to build the unit so that it can be outfitted with dental equipment in the spring.
The mobile dental clinic would be used by IMAHelps volunteers as well as Nicaraguan dental students working under the supervision of Nicaraguan doctors. While dental examinations would be provided free of charge, patients will be charged nominal fees to cover the cost of dental materials as well as a portion of the fuel and vehicle maintenance costs to ensure the project’s sustainability.
“This project will benefit Nicaraguan dental students as much as it benefits Nicaragua’s poor,” said Ines Allen, president and founder of IMAHelps. “It also benefits IMAHelps because it gives us a mobile dental clinic that we can use on our missions.”
In addition to providing an important educational tool for Nicaraguan students, the mobile dental clinic will be used to provide dental hygiene education as well as dental examinations, teeth cleanings, fillings, root canals and tooth extractions, Allen said.
Rancho Mirage, Calif.-based IMAHelps is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that organizes medical and dental missions to underserved populations throughout Latin America. During the past 15 years, IMAHelps has provided medical and dental services to nearly 90,000 patients in Ecuador, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Peru and Mexico. More information is available at www.imahelps.org.