Dr. Sherwin Shinn has been a practicing dentist in WA State since graduating from University of Washington in 1974. He served as a dental director and is now a staff dentist for Lindquist Dental Clinic, a community-based, private non-profit clinic that sees over 30,000 children from low-income families a year.
For the last 23 years, Dr Shinn has dedicated his life to providing oral healthcare to underserved people in some of the worlds most impoverished countries.
Nepal…Where It Began: He realized his life’s mission during a trip in 1990 to the Himalayas in Nepal. There, he met 5-year-old Soman Sherpa on a rural trail who was swollen from temple to armpit with a life-threatening systemic infection caused by abscessed teeth. He saved the girl’s life by performing rudimentary extraction. Children there were dying from infected teeth simply because they had no access to a toothbrush or knowledge of how to use one. He vowed to return with toothbrushes, education and more tools. He not only returned to Nepal 18 months later, but has since traveled to many other countries.
“It’s not what we want to be & feel, & not what we do, that drives our passion to go forward with life. Stay in touch with those feelings & follow your dreams” … That grand realization is what made him the 2013 ADA Humanitarian Award recipient. Dr. Shinn has received many accolades for his work, including the WA State Dental Association 2003 Citizen of the Year & 2003 National Jefferson Award, the nation’s highest honor for public service.
In 2003, Dr. Shinn partnered “1000 Smiles Project” with Great Shape! Inc. “1000 Smiles Project” is the world’s largest collaborative international humanitarian dental project that provides Jamaicans with dental care & education in temporary clinics & schools. Dr. Shinn is the co-founder of International Smile Power, & the co-founder & current president of For World Wide Smiles, a non-profit organization that coordinates volunteer teams to provide dental care, teach oral hygiene, offer training & supplies to local providers and improve maternal & infant health by upgrading conditions in rural labor & delivery rooms with the creation of Mothers Abroad program. For World Wide Smiles averages 3 international trips a year to Haiti, Uganda & Jamaica.
In 2007, he moved to Uganda to develop & grow For World Wide Smiles. During this time, he met Faria; a Ugandan woman with the love & compassion for people that matched his own. The couple married & moved back to Washington & now resides in Gig Harbor. Dr. Shinn has 7 children & 4 grandchildren.
Dr. Shinn is the author of “Confessions of a Modern Dentist.” He also gives inspiring lectures on How to Make Your Dreams Come True, Raising Self-Esteem & Empowering Yourself & Others, and Maximizing the Fulfillment Factor in Dentistry & Life Through Volunteerism. His lectures are uplifting & motivational! With his 40 years of professional experience & remarkable credentials, he is certainly qualified to answer a wide range of questions about dentistry, volunteerism and international travel & culture.
Sandra Harms; a 2013 Uganda Volunteer with For World Wide Smiles said this about Dr. Shinn “He is the most thoughtful, caring, passionate, intelligent, inspiring, fun & relational leader I have ever worked with. He values people & empowers them to be their best self, to ‘be awesome’ & be part of a team with a vision.”
Namaste… While in Nepal, Dr. Shinn learned a valuable lesson about a culture’s sacred greeting, “Namaste” & how it not only affected his outlook on life, but also of how he would acknowledge people’s inherent spirituality when greeting friends & strangers. Namaste means “I bow to the divine in you,” or “The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you.” It is spoken with an accompanying bow with hands pressed together close to the chest & is done with absolute sincerity and respect. It’s a guiding ideal that Dr. Shinn & his family has put forth within their daily life. May we all recognize the divinity within ourselves & extend a warm welcome to each other. Namaste