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MRI Founders

Dr. William E Mays

Bill began accompanying Dr. Michael Karr to Haiti in the late 1980's. Together they created, designed, and perfected mobile dental units that would take them into remote locations with quality dental care. Dr. Mays, with the oversight of Dr. Karr, pioneered a mobile dental lab that would enable them to replace extracted front teeth, which has brought joy and changed the lives of hundreds of young people and adults.

Michael Karr DDS

Dr. Karr has been involved in medical missions since the 1980's, when he began leading dental teams to Haiti. Since then he has led hundreds of dentists, dental students and volunteers not only to Haiti but also to Honduras, Africa, Nicaragua, and the Philippines. Dr. Mike has been known to shut down his own practice in order to take his entire clinic staff out on the field. His generosity and tremendous heart for medical relief has always been a leading force in his personal and professional life, and has been reproduced in the lives of his children, who are also active in MRI. In 2011 he was awarded the Citizen of the Year by the Washington State Dental Association.


Dr. Michael Karr began serving Haiti with medical needs since the 1980's, many times shutting down his own clinic and taking his team with him.  This became his passion, and also the passion of his pastor, Dr. Bill Mays, who was touched by the many Haitians who had lost their front teeth, and "couldn't get married."  So he went to some friends of his who had dental labs and learned how to make "flippers," or appliances that could be made on the field and placed in the mouths of the young people who had lost their front teeth. This started his journey into the world of dentistry, where he actually earned his dental licenses in some countries, and is very comfortable with most dental procedures.


In 2005, Dr. Karr and Dr. Mays found it necessary to form the non-profit organization which they called Medical Relief International, or MRI.  Since then, they have taken teams of medical professional and volunteers to:

  • Haiti

  • Guatamala

  • Tanzania

  • Uganda

  • Kenya

  • Malawi

  • Greece

  • Honduras

  • Nicaragua

  • Bolivia

  • Islands in the Philippines,


Also to other locations both in the US and around the world.

Since then many others have jumped on board, and helped in BIG ways to fundraise, solicit major donations, and GIVE to make miracles happen.

  • Dr. Nhi Pham has solicited millions of dollars in donations for the clinic in Tanzania

  • Dr. Janet Darling has been involved in overseeing all fundraising events, soliciting donations and also taken on the organizational challenges that come to her with enthusiasm

  • Patty Mays handles the "office," quietly overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization, and following her husband around, picking up and organizing the many pieces


There are countless other people who quietly donate, bring in donations, volunteer on trips, or behind the scenes, and for them we are truly grateful!  It is important to note that ALL individuals working with MRI are VOLUNTEERS, and every donated dollar goes directly to the needs of the fields served.

Barikiwa Health Center

Over the years, we have discovered that we can ensure the greatest lasting effect in these regions when we invest in leadership. MRI is investing in bright, motivated and skilled young international students who will be the future core of MRI International Teams. This gift of professional education would have been an utter impossibility for these students without the scholarship financial support offered by MRI. During their educational phase, our team will provide in-country support to MRI missions in their country and after graduation will also provide professional expertise in future MRI centers for health care.

Dr. Ashley Lucas

Dr. Ashley Lucas completed 5 years of education, sponsored by Medical Relief International, and holds a DDS degree in Tanzania.  She is the Medical Director of MRI's Barikiwa Medical Center in Maswa, completed in 2017.

Property was purchased in Maswa, and funds were raised to begin building the Barikiwa Health Center (complex).  A well was dug, and water began flowing in 2016, concurrent to the groundbreaking of the beautiful 5,000 square feet facility, called Myers Clinic.

The Tanzanian government has sent representatives to visit the compound, and the people are excited about the quality, low-cost care for those who could not otherwise afford it.

Josh Myers, of Blackstone Development in Tucson, Arizona began funding the building project of the Myers Clinic in 2016, with the grand opening in January of 2018.

Dr. Nhi Pham, who calls the Myers Clinic her sister clinic (Mukilteo Dental Center), donated an entire clinic full of medical supplies to this project, as well as many other donations.

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