The formal founding of AYUDA in 1967 was preceded by several years of discussions by physicians and educators interested in improving the lives of the underserved in Latin America. Although many were involved with its inception, Dr. Melvin Lyman, Wilford LeCheminant, Stewart Durrant, and Spencer W. Kimball are considered as AYUDA’s forefathers.
AYUDA’s first project was established in the highlands of Guatemala where it created the country’s first rural junior high school, build a hospital and dental clinic, revolutionized their agricultural system, and provided universal immunization to over 30,000 children living in Guatemala.
In 1991, Dr. Harris Done (Class of 1964, USC School of Dentistry), commenced an even larger outreach program in Southern California in partnership with the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at USC. Throughout its history, AYUDA has provided dental care to over 210,000 children.