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“When we've taught a dental lesson, many of the students haven’t owned a toothbrush,” says Karen Pesce Buckenheimer, executive director of MORE Health, an almost 30-year-old organization with the goal of addressing health education in three counties in and around Tampa, Florida. “We hand them out and kids say, ‘I’m so excited to have my first toothbrush,’ or ‘I can’t wait to share this with my family.’”

The Foundation for Quality Care aims to improve the quality of care provided to elderly and disabled persons residing in long- term care settings throughout the state of New York. As a result of its DTA Foundation grant, the Foundation for Quality Care developed a training program for long-term care administrators at all levels—now using a person-centered approach with residents who are fearful of someone approaching them for mouth care.

Paul Hinsch is vice president of merchandise marketing at Henry Schein and chair of the DTA Foundation board. He appreciated the value of the DTA Foundation mission from the very start—having joined the Foundation in 2009. But as he tells it, “I didn’t make a deeper emotional connection until I started meeting our outstanding grant and scholarship recipients.”

Dr. Debra Peterson’s commitment to community volunteering helped single her out to the DTA Foundation scholarship committee, which awarded her a scholarship in 2015. Recently, we caught up with her to find out where she is now in her career and what the future holds for her.

What are your three biggest takeaways from dental school as you move forward with your career?

In 2015, Jasma’ McDonald was an up and coming dental student at Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry who had a deep commitment to giving back to her community. The DTA Foundation recognized her dedication and awarded her a scholarship. Recently, we caught up with the now Dr. McDonald to find out what she’s been up to since graduating in 2016.

“I am currently a 1st year pediatric resident at UIC. Upon completion of my program in 2018,” she said. “I will fulfill my National Health Service Corp Obligation by working in a rural area for four years.”

As a student at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Joseph DePalo was committed to volunteering to help his community—a dedication that helped earn him a 2015 DTA Foundation scholarship. Today, as a resident in pediatric dentistry at Nationwide Children’s Hospital/The Ohio State University, he remains committed to helping his community. Recently, we caught up with him to find out how his life has changed since he received the scholarship.

What are your three biggest takeaways from dental school as you move forward with your career?

Dr. Brian Lehigh was a student at the UCLA School of Dentistry in 2015 when he received a DTA Foundation scholarship for students who showed a dedication to community service. Recently, we caught up with the West Los Angeles VA Periodontal resident to find out what he’s up to now.

What are your three biggest takeaways from dental school as you move forward with your career?

This text will be replaced with the slideshowThanks to DTA members’ generous support, the DTA Foundation was able to raise $204,748 for grants to aid innovative pilot dental projects and scholarships for community-oriented dental students.

More than $115,000 of those funds were raised during the Foundation’s silent auction held during the DTA Annual Meeting. Popular items donated by DTA members for the auction included Tiffany jewelry, Hibiki Suntory whiskey, an Apple watch, and autographed Aaron Rodgers memorabilia.

In addition to the silent auction, the DTA Foundation raised money during the Annual Meeting by sharing a video of the grateful 2016 Foundation scholarship recipients. The crowd responded positively to the video with attendees donating $86,700 specifically to increase the number of dental student scholarships the Foundation will be able to provide next year. Those that donated $5,000 will have scholarships named after them. Altogether, the Foundation raised $204,748 between the silent auction and donations in response to the video. A huge thank you to everyone for being so generous.  Your support is making a difference in the lives of others!

All proceeds from the 2016 DTA Foundation Silent Auction, sponsored by A-dec, will go to support innovative programs designed to broaden awareness of and access to oral health care in America. The 2015 DTA Foundation Auction, sponsored by Bank of America Practice Solutions, raised $135,028. 

BHNOne of the best things about the DTA Foundation grants is revisiting grant recipients to see the impact those funds have had on Americans’ oral health. Recently, we sat down with Jane Hamilton, manager of the Bassett Healthcare Network School-Based Health Program. In 2014, Bassett Healthcare received a $25,000 DTA Foundation grant to support its Integration of Oral Health into a School-Based Health (SBH) Program, which focused on providing services to students in pre-kindergarten through second grade in 14 school districts in rural Upstate New York.

“The work we were able to do due to (the DTA Foundation grant) really was a turning point for our whole program,” Ms. Hamilton said.

Fun donations create enthusiasm and generate more donor dollars! Check out the video to watch the excitement grow during the 2015 DTA Foundation auction with Erik Wahl’s donated paintings.

In 2014 you helped us raise over $110,000 to achieve our goals. In 2015, your generosity helped us raise over $133,000 by donating and bidding on fun and unique auction items. We want to keep the enthusiasm going as we reach for our goal of $150,000 in auction proceeds in 2016.

The DTA Foundation needs your help to get there! Your donations of fun and unique auction items have a direct and lasting impact on people’s lives through DTA Foundation oral health grants and dental student scholarships. These programs improve Americans’ oral health, raise awareness of the relationship between oral health and overall health and increase access to dental care for tens of thousands of people.