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Giving season a time to reflect on ADA Foundation's successes

November 04, 2013

By Jean Williams, ADA News staff

Lending a hand: UCSF dental students Osvaldo Amezcua (left) and Pame
la Bui, volunteer coordinators at the UCSF Community Dental Clinic, put away supplies after a session at the clinic.

International teacher: Haley Zamer, a second-year dental student at Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine, uses a typodont to instruct children on proper brushing techniques.
As the traditional year-end giving season sets in, the leaders of the ADA Foundation would like ADA members and others to consider the Foundation's many acts of kindness and CARE.

CARE is an ADAF acronym, a small word with big meaning. The acronym represents the ADA Foundation's four-pillar approach to its mission to promote oral health: charitable assistance, access to care, research and education.

In 2012—the most recent year for which full data is available—the ADA Foundation disbursed $986,854 in grants, positively impacting thousands of lives in America and even abroad. But ADAF did not act alone. Generous funding fueled all of the Foundation's work—funding from a varied lot of corporate, institutional, industrial and individual contributors. Their contributions represent a vote of confidence in the ADA Foundation mission. The ADA Foundation assures contributors of careful stewardship.

“Every single dollar raised goes to support programs, not administrative costs,” said ADA Foundation Executive Director Gene Wurth.

“The mission of the ADA Foundation, dentistry's premier philanthropic and charitable organization, is intricately interwoven with the ADA vision statement,” said ADA Foundation President Dr. David Whiston, who addresses his leadership role and the ADAF's recent successes on Page 4 of this issue.

Taking a telescope to the ADAF's last two years in giving, it's clear: the ADA Foundation has helped to power and sustain the oral health pursuits of organizations, educational institutions, students and patients with access challenges, Mr. Wurth said. The Foundation invites members to consider joining in with financial supporters to provide momentum to its proven successes.

Here are some 2012 and 2013 highlights, in words and pictures, to consider:

Charitable Assistance

The ADA Foundation provides grants through its Relief Grant Program and Emergency Disaster Assistance Grant Program. In 2012, thousands of dollars in relief and assistance aided dentists rebounding from the damages incurred as a result of Hurricane Sandy. In 2013, the ADAF invited dentists adversely affected by flooding in Colorado and New Mexico and other natural disasters to turn to these programs for aid.

Access to Care

Two ADAF programs reward the power of students, working closely with university faculty, to effect change in the lives of ordinary citizens experiencing access to care challenges: The E. “Bud” Tarrson Dental School Student Community Leadership Award, which provides an annual grant of $5,000 to one exemplary student volunteer community service project domestically; and The Dr. Thomas J. Zwemer Award, launched in 2012, which provides an annual grant of $5,000 to volunteer dental student programs addressing oral health needs of underserved communities outside of the United States.

The University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry won the 2012 E. “Bud” Tarrson Dental School Student Community Leadership Award to help power its Community Dental Clinic, a small, lean clinic that treats homeless clients. Though the clinic—run by students under the auspices of faculty—draws most of its financial support from UCSF, receiving additional support from the ADA Foundation left the student leaders elated.

Ryan Ray Dela Cruz, a UCSF dental student and the clinic's director at the time, told the ADA News about the clinic's plans to apply the ADA Foundation grant at the clinic: “We have a long wait list of patients who need crowns. Every quarter we're limited by the number of crown donations we get each month. That's about two or three each month. So that's one of the top suggestions for using this money, to get crowns and stay plates. We definitely have other ideas as well. For example, our extraction instruments, we're pretty short on those.”

The ADA Foundation awarded grant monies to students at Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine for the inaugural Dr. Thomas J. Zwemer Award to support their mission work in Madagascar. “This trip provides students the opportunity to experience another culture, improve their speed and clinical skills while living and working under a very difficult environment,” said Dr. Laurence Wynn, an SBU clinical associate professor and project adviser. “The students have the opportunity to treat the effects of pathology that they may not experience ever here in the U.S. It is an absolute joy to see the skills of the students improve during the mission.”

In addition, the ADA Foundation provides fundraising support to Give Kids A Smile, the ADA's premier access to care program. This is accomplished in part through the ADA Foundation Give Kids A Smile Gala, which combines the traditional ADA Presidential Gala and the ADA's Give Kids A Smile Gala. In 2012, the gala raised $82,000 in new funds for Give Kids A Smile.


Colgate Palmolive Co., the ADA, and the ADA Foundation joined forces to support the Foundation's research efforts. In October, the three contributed major gifts. Both the laboratory and the dental conference have been renamed—the laboratory to honor Anthony Volpe, D.D.S., M.S., who retired as vice president of clinical research and scientific affairs at Colgate-Palmolive Co.; and the conference to reflect the relationship with Colgate, making it the Colgate Dental Student's Conference on Research.

Formerly known as the Paffenbarger Research Center, the newly renamed Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center is located on the grounds of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in Gaithersburg, Md., a federal government research campus, where it has been since 1928. Previously operated by the ADA and then jointly by the ADA and the ADA Foundation, the laboratory conducts unique research in cutting-edge fields of biomaterial and tissue engineering technologies.

Additionally, the collective gifts support the funding of a new fellowship in Dr. Volpe's honor. The Foundation will allocate a portion of the funds to recruit a distinguished researcher to be known as the Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Fellow.

Dr. Gary Schumacher, director of administration for the Volpe Research Center, anticipates that the generous collective gift will catalyze projects already underway at the lab and lend momentum to new directions the lab is taking, including more dental therapeutics research. “We were moving into those areas, but this makes it financially easier,” Dr. Schumacher said. “Now we can move into these areas and be able to do the science that's necessary to get answers.”

In other big research news for the Foundation, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research granted the Foundation $2.5 million over five years to investigate new resin-based restorative systems that incorporate smart antibacterial components, and may double the service life of current composite restorations.

The ADA Foundation served as a Special Award Organization sponsor for Intel International Science and Engineering Fair through which student competitors qualify to win honors and prizes based on previously winning top prizes in local, regional, state or national science fairs. The annual competition, a partnership between Society for Science & the Public and the Intel Foundation, awards a variety of prizes, including scholarships, summer internships, equipment grants and trips, to student winners in the ninth through 12th grades.

ADA Foundation winners in 2013 include Bryant Jo Heckart, 17, a student at Seneca High School, Seneca, Mo., first place and a prize of $2,000 for his project Determining Antimicrobial and Synergistic Properties of Select Plant Essential Oils Against Clinical Isolates of Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus and Gram-negative Escherichia coli: Phase II; Hope Louise Didier, 15, a student at McIntosh High School, Peachtree City, Ga., second place and prize of $1,000 for her project The Effects of Synsepalum dulcificum on the Taste of Foods at Different pH Levels; and Niyanthesh A. Reddy, 15, a student at Vanguard High School, Ocala, Fla., third place and $500 for his project Genetic Analysis of Oral Periodontal Pathogens in the Development of Atherosclerotic Vascular Disease.

In cooperation with the Academy of Operative Dentistry, the ADA Foundation awarded the first biennial Dr. Ray Bowen Student Research Fellowship to a predoctoral student at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. Shalini S. Kamodia received the 2013 fellowship this spring for her proposed research project Remineralizing Deproteinated Enamel Caries Lesions with Carbonated Amorphous Calcium.

Formerly known as the George C. Paffenbarger Student Research Award, the fellowship was renamed to honor the nearly 60-year career of Dr. Bowen, credited as the inventor of resin composites and dentin adhesives and an internationally recognized authority on composite materials.

The Foundation awards the fellowship every two years and provides $6,000 to support the proposed research and up to $1,000 to defray the cost of the winner's attendance at the Academy of Operative Dentistry's scientific session to present a table clinic based on the proposed research.

The ADA Foundation's annual Colgate Dental Students' Conference on Research, which will mark its 50th year in 2014, brings dental students from more than 50 dental schools in the U.S. and Canada to the ADAF's Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center in Gaithersburg, Md., each spring. The purpose of this conference is to introduce the dental students to scientists from the ADA, industry, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, and the ADA Foundation's research center, to raise awareness of the wide-ranging careers available in oral health research.

“The ADAF strongly supports today's dental students as they pursue tomorrow's scientific explorations,” said Dr. Whiston. “We expect their efforts in oral health research to yield significant benefits for the general public and future generations.”

The conference takes place on the campuses of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. Student attendees network with scientists from the ADA, the Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center, National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and with other oral health industry leaders.


Through the Dental Student Scholarship Program and Underrepresented Minority Dental Student Scholarship Program, the ADA Foundation helps academically gifted predoctoral dental students defray a part of their professional education expenses. Students in the second year of study at the time of application and currently attending or enrolled at an accredited dental school are eligible. The Underrepresented Minority Dental Student Scholarship Program targets African-American, Hispanic and American Indian dental students, all of whom have been identified as underrepresented minorities in dentistry. Each year, the ADA Foundation awards approximately 54 scholarships with up to $135,000 total funding. Each scholarship is valued at up to $2,500.

Early education: Dr. Mark Macaoay teaches a child about good oral health at St. Barnabas Hospital in Bronx, N.Y., which was a recipient of a 2012 Harris Fund for Children’s Dental Health grant.

Top honors: Dr. Jae Hyun Park stands with Hope Louise Didier (left) and Bryant Jo Heckart (right), ADAF-sponsored Special Award winners of the Intel ISEF 2013, at the awards ceremony in Phoenix in May. Not pictured is winner Niyanthesh A. Reddy. Photo courtesy Society for Science & the Public
Through the Samuel D. Harris Fund for Children's Dental Health, created in 1999 through a permanent endowment established through a generous gift by Dr. Samuel D. Harris, a distinguished pediatric dentist and philanthropist, the Foundation grants of up to $5,000 in a competitive process.

The ADA Foundation awarded 2012 Harris Fund for Children's Dental Health grants to 20 programs engaged in the battle to end early childhood caries. The Foundation awarded more than $94,000 to the nonprofit organizations, which support programs that work to prevent early childhood caries through educating parents, caregivers and pregnant women on adequate oral health care.

Oral Health Program for the San Luis Obispo County, Calif., Public Health Department was one of the 20 recipients. “We're using the grant to enhance the educational support materials that we provide to families,” said Theresa Anselmo, who manages the program.

In 2013, the ADA Foundation awarded 24 grants totaling more than $114,000 to organizations across the U.S. that support programs to improve children's dental health by educating parents, caregivers and pregnant women on the value of good dental health.

Through the Allied Dental Student Scholarship Program, the Foundation annually offers financial support to help dental assisting, dental hygiene, and dental laboratory technology students defray a part of their professional educational expenses. The goal of this program is to facilitate the education of academically gifted allied dental students, which in turn helps to foster the public's oral health. Each year, the ADA Foundation awards approximately 30 scholarships valued at up to $1,000 each, with up to $30,000 total funding: Dental Hygiene Student Scholarships, 15 awards; Dental Assisting Student Scholarships, 10 awards; and Dental Laboratory Technology Student Scholarships, five awards.

A tax-deductible contribution to the ADA Foundation can be made by donating online, or by calling the ADA Foundation at 312.440.2547.