46 | 2017 | Issue 6 O bituaries Dr. Drew Cahoon of Raymond, Alberta, passed away on March 21, 2017. He was 67 years old. A 1976 graduate from the University of Alberta, Dr. Cahoon started his career with the Canadian Armed Forces Medical Corps. He went on to maintain a private practice in Three Hills, Alberta, for 20 years, followed by 8 years in Raymond. While in Raymond, Dr. Cahoon joined his local rotary club, first focusing on a project to send books to Uganda. Eager to further his volunteering efforts and put his skills to good use, Dr. Cahoon visited the country in 2005 to provide pro bono dental care. Little did he know that he would be spending the next 12 years of his life doing humanitarian dentistry in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. After visiting Makerere University and its obsolete dental school in 2005, Dr. Cahoon came back home with the dream of building a new, modern dental school for the institution. He gave himself just over two years to accomplish this feat. His relentless efforts bore fruit and with support from Rotary International, local governments, organizations and individual donors, the school opened in 2007. The same year, Dr. Cahoon launched the Adopt an African Clinic projects to match clinics with sponsors, support national dental schools, and mentor dental practitioners. Thanks to generous donations from Canadian dentists, each of the 13 referral hospitals in Uganda now have a dental clinic. “Drew was a man with a passion for helping to improve global oral health through his initiatives in Africa. Anyone who was involved with him could sense that drive that kept him moving forward, accomplishing great things that seemed impossible at first,” remembers Dr. Steven Patterson, professor and associate chair (academic) at the University of Alberta, and sponsor for one of the clinics. Following the opening of the dental school at Makerere University, Dr. Cahoon was asked to build a school in Kigali, Rwanda. Another dental school program was planned in Burundi. “Drew worked tirelessly in bringing together organizations, schools and other professionals to build a network that provides resources to improve dental education, public health programs, dental professional development and service provision,” says Dr. Patterson. “His work has been greatly appreciated and recognized by governments, schools, professionals and patients.” Dr. Cahoon’s biggest passion was education, adds Dr. Thomas Sorensen of Utah who joined him on many trips to Africa, including his last one to Burundi in 2017. “He felt the only way to stop dental problems in East Africa was through education. He would always tell potential volunteers that they would experience ‘a miracle a day’.” The dental school at Makerere University will be named after Dr. Cahoon to honour his legacy. Dr. Cahoon is survived by his wife Joanne and their five children, Wendy, Amber, Darren, Jess and Ashley, and by 16 grandchildren. a REMEMBERING DENTISTRY LEADERS DR. DREWCAHOON Dr. Drew Cahoon (c.) and his team taught three classes to dental students in Burundi in February 2017.