UB Dentist spending holidays in Lebanon to bring gift of a smile to refugees

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A UB clinical professor will be spending the holidays in the Middle East, providing care for those in need.

The holiday season is normally a time to give back, and for Dr. Othman Shibly, he’s doing just that by giving people in need a better smile.

The UB Dental School professor will be spending Christmas Eve traveling to Lebanon where he’ll spend a week working around the clock to give dental care to refugees.

This mission will be Shibly’s fifth to Lebanon just this year, but this time will be more difficult than his previous trips.

For months, the country has gone through a period of violent unrest creating roadblocks for their program, including bringing volunteers, so instead, Shibly will be using the help of local dentists.

“The peoples’ needs will not stop whether there’s unrest or no rest. So I said we have to be creative,” Shibly told News 4. “I made it a point we’re going to go in Christmas, a Holy time, to help those people, and I contacted local dentists and dental teams so now we are all set.”

And this week will also be significant for another reason – Shibly is bringing enough supplies to help 2,000 refugees, raising the number of patients he’s treated during these missions to more than 11,000 – something that normally takes the average dentist a decade to accomplish.

Shibly will be visiting several refugee camps in Lebanon until Dec. 30 and from there, will be traveling to Kurdistan where he’ll volunteer at UB’s Dental Clinic, created specifically to help people displaced by ISIS.

He plans to return to the U.S. the first week of January.

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