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In 2017, DTA Foundation donors supported 9 innovative pilot projects designed to increase access to oral health care and broaden awareness of oral health’s impact on overall health. Funded projects received $25,000 each and include:

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Thanks to the more than 150 DTA Foundation auction attendees, we raised more than $110,000 during the Fund-a-Future paddle raiser and more than $70,000 through the silent auction held during the November DTA Annual Meeting.

Please join us in congratulating the 2017 DTA Foundation grant winners. Each year the Foundation awards $25,000 grants to help fund innovative projects designed to improve oral health care for Americans in need, the disabled or the elderly.

Please join us in congratulating the 2017 DTA Foundation scholarship recipients. Each year the DTA Foundation selects the most deserving, community-oriented third or fourth year dental student to receive a $5,000 scholarship. Thanks to your generous donations, the foundation was able to fund a record-setting 27 scholarships in 2017.

The purpose of the scholarship program is to recognize dental students who have an established commitment to community service by providing $5,000 in financial support to a third or fourth year dental student who has demonstrated:

  • Academic excellence in dentistry;
  • Financial need; and
  • A commitment to community service.

Each U.S. dental school dean had the opportunity to nominate one student from their school.

DTA Foundation/Bruns & Associates Scholarship Recipient Darron Miya, UCLA School of Dentistry

Dental school is a very busy time, why did you decide to commit so much of your time to helping the community?
I have been a major advocate for community dentistry and the underserved population years before dental school while I was in college. Volunteering for various non-profit dental organizations was a great way to gain exposure to the profession and see if dentistry was the right career choice for me. It was inspiring to be able to help improve the oral health of patients even before beginning dental school. It was eye-opening to see the vast need for dental care in our own backyard--the communities we call our home. I believe it is my obligation, as a future dental professional, to offer my time and expertise to those with limited access to care.

DTA Foundation and Midmark Corporation Scholarship Recipient Kelsie Pittel, University of Michigan School of Dentistry

Dental school is a very busy time, why did you decide to commit so much of your time to helping the community?
Inherent in most healthcare professionals is the drive and passion to help others. As we develop skill sets that allow us to serve and connect with our community in a way that is unique, the impact of our service increases exponentially. Serving our community seems to be, and intrinsic part of being a healthcare professional, and the reward always outweighs the cost. For me, my interest in social justice issues has paved a path in which giving back to my community is something I should always be doing, and I am empowered by the ability to connect with and serve others.

DTA Foundation and Robert J. Sullivan Family Foundation Scholarship Recipient Kathleen Aguilar, Loma Linda University School of Dentistry

Dental school is a very busy time, why did you decide to commit so much of your time to helping the community?
I find my identity in service. I came from a service-driven background when I arrived at dental school, and my first order of business was discovering what volunteer opportunities were offered at Loma Linda, knowing that Loma Linda is service-minded. I’ve learned how to manage my time in college with all my extracurricular activities and community service, so the transition to the demands of dental school was not a factor. Volunteering is a hobby for me, just like running may be for another, and you just make time for what you’re passionate for. You make it happen, especially because I know what I’m doing not only satisfies me but also impacts another person in need or motivates another person to do the same giving.

DTA Foundation/Crown Seating Scholarship Recipient Keyachtta C. Hawkins, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry

Dental school is a very busy time, why did you decide to commit so much of your time to helping the community?
When I think about my upbringing and my community, I think about how it has made me the person that I am. Growing up in a teenage single parent household, living in low-income housing, and being educated in poor rural public schools, all of which although not easy has sculpted me into the woman I am today. At times, I think about how I can help someone in need more than I think about myself. This tells me that it is innate in me to want to give back to the underserved. I love school and treating my patients in our student clinics; however, when I am in the community making a true difference in the lives of others who are often overlooked, I truly feel fulfilled.

DTA Foundation and Robert J. Sullivan Family Foundation Scholarship Recipient Stephanie Brown, Meharry Medical College

Dental school is a very busy time, why did you decide to commit so much of your time to helping the community?
Community Service has always been a passion of mine. Participating in an act of kindness to benefit someone else helps me de-stress and find a sense of peace. When something is desired, you think less about the time commitment and more about the impact you’re making on another individual.

DTA Foundation and Patterson Dental Supply Scholarship Recipient Stuart W. Tucker, Creighton Dental

Dental school is a very busy time, why did you decide to commit so much of your time to helping the community?
Yes, dental school is busy, but I cannot imagine being able to persevere through its rigors without a balance in life and doing things I enjoy most. Giving back to the communities that molded and shaped us is a vital part of being a healthcare provider. There are so many less fortunate, and they need our help. I find myself grateful in my circumstances as I serve other people.

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