acific Coast Society of Orthodontists Bulletin Summer 2018 - 21

Portrait of a Professional

E. David Engst, DDS, MSD
Dr. Bruce Hawley
PCSO Bulletin Columnist

Recently, the PCSO community was excited to
learn that one of its members, Dr. E. David Engst,
received the AAO Humanitarian Award for 2018.
Dr. Engst is the first PSCO member to be so recognized. Based in Bellingham, WA, Dr. Engst received
his dental degree (1972) and Certificate in Orthodontics/MSD degree (1977) from the University of
Washington. He is a Diplomate of the American
Board of Orthodontics. It was a pleasure to interview Dr. Engst, who was an orthodontic classmate of the interviewer.
Bruce Hawley (BH): Congratulations on being the
recipient of the 2018 AAO Humanitarian Award.

E. David Engst, DDS, MSD
Bellingham, WA

David Engst (DE): I am honored to have received
this award. Thanks.
BH: What led you into volunteer dentistry?
DE: In 2003, I sold my orthodontic practice and
decided to devote my remaining career to volunteer oral surgery services. To refresh my surgical
skills, I returned to the University of Washington
as a fellow in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. After
26 years in orthodontic practice, a lot had

Dr. Engst standing in front of a banner at a funeral home in the Philippines. A local sign
painter donated this banner.

Summer 2018  PCSO Bulletin

changed in oral surgery. I studied late into the
night and spent hours at my dining room table,
practicing on my suture board.
BH: How did you get started in your overseas
work and where have you served?
DE: In the first few years, I joined organized volunteer groups such as the Cincinnati College of
Medicine. On another trip, I teamed with faculty
from Havana's Latin American School of Medicine. After a few years of learning the logistics
with groups, I began doing my clinics solo. I have
provided free clinics in Mexico, Nicaragua, the
Dominican Republic, Honduras, Cambodia, and
the Philippines.
During the first six years, I served in Latin America, primarily in Honduras. The area of La Moskitia
in Honduras is a smaller version of the Amazon
jungle. There I visited river communities in
remote jungle areas that have never seen a Caucasian, let alone a dentist. Most children there
had malaria, and all had intestinal parasites. In La
Moskitia, the Honduran Navy escorted us in their
motorized canoes. Our guards carried machine

Military or police units of 4 to 20 guards often
provide security. This is in Central Highlands,
Honduras.
21



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