Dental Trade Alliance Foundation awards scholarships

Oct. 25, 2013
The Dental Trade Alliance Foundation (DTAF) recently awarded four scholarships to dental students totalling $20,000.

The Dental Trade Alliance Foundation (DTAF) and the Robert J. Sullivan Family Foundation awarded two DTAF/ Sullivan Family Foundation Dentistry Scholarships in the amount of $5,000 each to Sarah R. Usher, a student at A.T. Still University, Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, and Chelsea E. Wong, a student at the University of California San Francisco School of Dentistry. In addition, the DTAF and the Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund awarded two scholarships of $5,000 each to Eric Chen, a student at the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, and Rachael L. D’Souza, a student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine.

These scholarships are meant to recognize and provide financial support to third or fourth year dental students who have demonstrated academic excellence in dentistry, financial need, and a commitment to community service.

RELATED:Dental Trade Alliance Foundation awards grants to oral health programs

Ms. Usher has made community service a vital part of her student experience at A.T. Still University, Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health in Mesa, Ariz. She participated in Give Kids a Smile, Day for Special Smiles, the Free Community Health and Wellness Day, and the NCOHF-ASDOH Students United for America’s ToothFairy, among other events.

“Community service is one main force in my life that keeps me motivated,” said Ms. Usher. “The people who I meet and the lives that I touch, the lessons that I learn, and the challenges that are presented to me are all pieces of motivation that make me continue to strive to be the dentist that the community asks me to be.”

Ms. Wong came highly recommended by the faculty at the University of California San Francisco School of Dentistry. She is involved in the Oral Health and Education Program-Tenderloin Community School, Camp Mendocino of the Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco, the Science and Education Partnership, and the Painting Healthier Smiles Project, among others.

“I would like to incorporate community service into my full time dental career by volunteering at outreach events on the weekends with student organizations, just like how my supervising UCSF dental faculty are doing right now at the outreach events that I organize,” said Ms. Wong. “I would also like to take a couple days during each week to teach at UCSF and continue to give back to others in my community. With a background as a TA, I love explaining concepts to others, and in my full time dental career, I plan on coming back to UCSF one day and giving back to others through education.”

Mr. Chen will graduate from the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry in 2014. He has been active in community service during his tenure as a student, including being a part of the New Hope Free Clinic (Compassion Clinic), the Homeless Mobile Clinic, the Nicaragua Mission Trip, and Mary’s Mercy Center, among others.

“I am grateful that I have worked with truly wonderful people that are equally committed to community service as I am,” said Mr. Chen. “Amazing mentors have shown me that it is possible to do excellent work both in private practice as well as be committed to quality community service. Inspiration comes naturally with the team of volunteers that I work with and I am humbled by their acts of kindness and dedication to the various projects I am also part of. They continue to be a great source of motivation to keep moving forward.”

Ms. D’Souza is a dedicated dental student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine who believes in the power of community service. She has participated in Miles for Better Smiles, Mission of Mercy Dental Clinics, Flying Doctors Dental Clinic, and the UNLV Veteran’s, Women’s and Children’s Clinics, among others.

“I hope to live a meaningful life by not just pursuing big gestures, but also by focusing on education and appropriate care for patients who need them the most,” Ms. D’Souza said. “I plan to continue to volunteer, both for dental projects and community projects, in the course of my lifetime because I am determined to pay back the support and inspiration that others in my community once showed me.”

Photos of the scholarship winners are available upon request.

About the DTAF/Sullivan Family Foundation Dentistry Scholarships and the DTAF/Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund Dentistry Scholarships

In 2013 the DTAF selected four third or fourth year dental student to receive a $5,000 scholarship to be applied towards tuition and fees. This will increase to nine in 2014. Each U.S. dental school dean may nominate one student from their school. All applications from each dental school must be submitted by the dean’s office.

Criteria for eligibility are determined by the applicant's demonstrated financial need, academic standing, and history of charitable work. Applicants must be entering their third or fourth year of a dental school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

For more about the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation (DTAF), visit