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Penn dental school receives $1 million grant for students pursuing community-based dentistry

September 24, 2018 Philadelphia — The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine announced Sept. 20 that it received a $1 million scholarship grant from Delta Dental Community Care Foundation to help financially support students pursuing a career in community-based dentistry.
    
Delta Dental's Oral Health Education grant will award two $25,000 scholarships each year to dental students who desire to work in an underserved area after graduation and who have demonstrated a commitment to community outreach during their students. The first application cycle will open this fall for interested candidates in the current third-year class, according to the announcement.
    
"What's exciting about this scholarship is that it will provide the support that some students need to ultimately pursue this path after graduation," said Dr. Joan Gluch, division chief of community oral health, and co-director of the grant. "The need is great because approximately 48 million people in the United States live in areas with dentist shortages."
    
The scholarships from the philanthropic branch of Delta Dental of Pennsylvania are intended to lighten the overall expenses and debt during the recipient's fourth-year of study.
    
"The availability of scholarships to offset loans can be a deciding factor for students who may have considerable undergraduate debt, or who come from a financially challenged background," said Dr. Olivia Sheridan, co-director of the grant and assistant dean for admissions, in a news release.
    
Over time, Penn Dental Medicine announced that the grant funding can also contribute valuable data to community health needs assessment and further expands a relationship between Delta Dental Community Care Foundation and the dental school.
    
In 2017, the foundation awarded Penn Dental Medicine a $650,000 grant to expand PennSmiles, the school's oral health education and clinical care program for schoolchildren and their families in Philadelphia.