Kool Smiles Announces 2018 Dental Health Essay Contest Winner

OHSU Dental Student Receives $5,000 Scholarship
Posted: March 13, 2018
Edited by Dentaltown staff

ATLANTA—Kool Smiles, a provider of dental care in underserved communities nationwide, announced the winner of its second annual My Kool Smiles Scholarship Fund essay contest, sponsored by the Benevis Foundation. Heather Howell, a dental student at Oregon Health and Science University, received a $5,000 scholarship for her winning essay about lack of accessibility being one of the biggest dental health challenges facing children in the United States.
“Thank you, Kool Smiles for selecting my essay and supporting my dental school journey,” said Howell. “I look forward using this scholarship to continue my education and help address dental health accessibility problems across America.”
In her winning essay, the OHSU dental student addressed some of the major obstacles children face in accessing dental health care, including distance, office hours availability and financial barriers. Howell saw many of these issues firsthand while growing up on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana.  The solutions she provides in the essay include moving dentists beyond the confines of a dental office and into communities, establishing more flexible dental work hours and decreasing the cost of private health insurance.
“Although we can’t fix the lack of accessibility issue immediately, these are all key steps that we can begin taking to help kids achieve the dental care that they need,” wrote Howell.
“The 2018 essay contest asked students to identify and provide solutions to some of the biggest dental health challenges facing children in the United States,” said Dr. Dale Mayfield, chief dental officer of Kool Smiles. “This year’s winner Heather Howell offered effective steps towards making dental healthcare more accessible to children in rural and low-income areas.”
Kool Smiles offers this scholarship as part of its continued dedication to dental health education, community outreach and charitable support for the next generation of inspiring leaders who are passionate about making a difference. The organization is also awarding a $500 book stipend to first runner-up, Vanessa Thai, a graduate student at Boston University currently pursuing a masters in endodontics at Harvard.
To read the winning and first runner-up essays, click here.
For more information, visit mykoolsmiles.com/l/scholarship.


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