UCLA Dentistry Receives $1 Million to Support Students Who Serve Communities in Need

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The University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry (UCLA Dentistry) recently received a $1 million grant from Delta Dental of California to support students who are dedicated to practicing in underserved communities after they graduate.  

The gift will endow a new scholarship for future dentists who have demonstrated an interest in serving underrepresented populations and have achieved notable academic success despite having to overcome hardship, according to a UCLA news release. Recipients from the school’s four-year Doctor of Dental Surgery program will be selected beginning this academic year.

“This wonderful scholarship aligns perfectly with the UCLA School of Dentistry’s long-standing commitment to recruit, enroll, and graduate students from underserved communities,” Edmond Hewlett, the school’s associate dean for equity, diversity, and inclusion and a professor of dentistry, stated in the release. “In our experience, many of these students know firsthand the plight of families and communities in critical need of accessible oral health care. Their passion to make a difference in their communities inspires us, and Delta Dental’s endowment will create more opportunities for them to become agents of change.”

This is Delta Dental’s second major contribution to the school. In 2018, it donated $1.5 million — the company’s largest gift to a dental college at that time — to support community-based clinical education at UCLA. That funding has enabled fourth-year dental students under the guidance of licensed professionals to treat patients who are uninsured or face similar barriers to care.

“We are proud to support the UCLA School of Dentistry’s mission to educate and train the next generation of dental practitioners,” stated Kenzie Ferguson, Delta Dental’s vice president for foundation and corporate social responsibility. “This new scholarship will help us achieve our broader mutual goals of increasing access to oral health care, especially for those in underserved communities, and providing opportunities for oral health education.”

This article was published in our May 2022 issue.