CDA Foundation grant

Dec. 8, 2011
Recipient to bring dental care to underserved communities.

SACRAMENTO, California--The California Dental Association Foundation has announced that Adriana Ustarez-Oji, DDS, is the 12th recipient of the Student Loan Repayment Grant.

Dr. Ustarez-Oji will receive a maximum of $105,000 to help offset significant student loan debt in exchange for a three-year commitment to work in an underserved community.

“I am honored to receive this grant from the CDA Foundation because it will allow me to fulfill a dream of serving patients who might otherwise experience barriers to care,” said Dr. Ustarez-Oji, who practices at Family HealthCare Network in Visalia, Calif.

“I believe my background gives me insight into delivering culturally sensitive and quality health care and allows me to connect with and relate to my patients.”

CDA honors school districts

After arriving in Los Angeles from Bolivia as a young child, Dr. Ustarez-Oji’s family moved into a small studio in a low-income, Spanish-speaking community with a large population of immigrants. Dr. Ustarez-Oji, a 2009 UCSF School of Dentistry graduate, was the first in her family to attend college, working nights at UCSF so as not to interfere with her schooling during the day.

“Dr. Ustarez-Oji expressed a goal of working in an underserved community and providing quality care regardless of the patient’s income level. This grant allows her to do just that,” said Donald Rollofson, DMD, chair of the California Dental Association Foundation.

New dentists graduate from dental school with an average debt of $250,000, and the weight of student loan debt can make a career in public or community health nearly impossible for new dentists. Tens of thousands of individuals have received treatment as a result of the Student Loan Repayment Grants, totaling more than $13.5 million in treatment and services.

For more information, go to

To comment on this topic, go to