About Dr. Julie Spaniel
Dr. Julie Spaniel is Executive Director of Summerwood Dental Brigades, an international service organization. She started her private practice, Summerwood Family Dental in Vermont in 1992 and operated it for 27 years. She has since dedicated her work to helping communities around the world with dental needs, education, and sustainability.
Dr. Spaniel’s childhood consisted of traveling around the world and experiencing different cultures. Her father was an airline pilot, so she “grew up in an airplane.” This exposure greatly affected her outlook on life and the world at a young age.
Her journey of helping others started when she was enrolled in the dental school at UNC Chapel Hill. Dr. Spaniel’s first service trip took place at a Cherokee Indian reservation to help treat the Native American population when she was 21 years old. She decided early that her passion was serving others. It was also at UNC Chapel Hill where she earned her doctorate for dental surgery.
Dr. Spaniel then joined an international service group she met through Rotary called Hands to Honduras, which provided mostly building projects for Honduran communities. The organization invited her to come and provide dental service work to the people of Honduras. After years of working with Hands to Honduras, Dr. Spaniel joined the board and led the dental program.
Dr. Spaniel would eventually go and serve to the people of Ghana. One memorial trip took place in 2015 when she went as a dental lead with her son on his project with the student organization, Dental Brigade. She was then asked to join the Board of Refugee Outreach club. Since then, she has been to Ghana multiple times to provide dental services. It was during one of her Ghana trips that she solidified the idea of bringing students along on the service trips.
She now has her focus to primarily helping communities in Honduras, Ghana, and Uganda. From running clinics in Ghana to helping inspire a permanent dental practice in Honduras, Dr. Spaniel has utilized organizations, volunteers, and partnerships on her mission to transform international communities. Her goal is to help these countries and their people with more than just short term dental help-but long term sustainability.
“Our mission is two-fold: To help international communities with dental care and education, and to get the opportunity to inspire the spirit of service in students who want to help out others around the world.”
Dr. Julie’s Spaniel’s credentials include:
- Undergraduate Degree at Marquette University
- BS in biology and chemistry at UNC Chapel Hill
- Doctorate in Dental Surgery at UNC Chapel Hill
- Residency program at VA Medical Center in Portland, Oregon
- Started and Ran Summerwood Family Dental Private Practice for 27 years
- Executive Director for Summerwood Dental Brigades