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HDAF, P&G Oral Health award scholarships to 16 Hispanic students

October 21, 2013

By Kimber Solana, ADA News staff

Cincinnati—The Hispanic Dental Association Foundation and Procter & Gamble's Oral Health Group (Crest) named this year's 16 recipients of their annual scholarship program in support of the next generation of Hispanics seeking a career in dentistry.

The scholarship is part of a collaborative effort to educate and improve the state of oral health of the Hispanic community, said Dr. Sarita Arteaga, HDAF president.

“We recognize that there is a limited number of students from under-represented populations who go to dental schools. One of the reasons is financial,” she said.

The scholarship, established 18 years ago, is one way to help students cover the cost, Dr. Arteaga said. The students have been accepted into an accredited dental hygiene, dental assisting or dental technician programs.

The announcement was made Sept. 26, on the first day of the Hispanic Dental Association annual meeting and in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

The students were chosen based on academics, community service, career goals, and commitment to improving oral health in the Hispanic community. The scholarships' amount varies based on those factors.

In addition to providing scholarships, Crest and HDAF are also conducting outreach efforts to help correct oral health misperceptions that remain in U.S. Hispanic communities. For example, Dr. Arteaga said, many in the community believe cavities can be brushed away.

On Oct. 5, Crest and HDAF partnered with Univision at their annual Feria Es El Momento, a Spanish-language education fair, to teach Hispanic families about the importance of oral care and how to become a dental professional.

Dr. Arteaga said the scholarship and outreach events are simply small steps to reach their goal of eliminating oral health disparities in the Hispanic community.

“As a U.S. Hispanic, I want to change the oral health perceptions in my community and this scholarship will aid in reaching that goal,” said Christian Paez, scholarship recipient, in a press release.

Other recipients of scholarships are: Alejandro Barerra, Laredo, Texas; Aliana Caridad, Pompano, Fla.; Alina O'Brien, New York, N.Y.; Ana Calles, Westlake, Ohio; Ana De La Torre-Ordaz, Portland, Ore.; Andres Villalobos, Minneapolis; Antonio Quintanilla, Houston; Ashley Elliot, Hillsboro, Ore.; Britta Martinez, Chandler, Ariz.; Mr. Paez, Laredo, Texas; Franco Cevasco, Pflugerville, Texas; Jose Mendoza, Pasco, Wash.; Paula Lee, Wilsonville, Ore.; Penelope Cornelio, Lawrence, Mass.; and Vanessa Moore, Baltimore.