Student Awards & Accolades

Posted on: Wednesday, 09/17/2014

DDS Student Strives to Improve Veteran's Oral Health

Brian Lehigh - Humanitarian Award RecipientThis past spring, Brian Lehigh, Class of 2016, won the prestigious Charles E. Young Humanitarian Award for his work with homeless and impoverished military veterans. The pre-doctoral student spearheaded a program that offers veterans instruction on proper oral hygiene, information on low-cost dental clinics, and free dental hygiene supplies. He also partnered with a transitional housing and substance abuse program called New Directions for Veterans and developed a series of oral health lectures to be given by UCLA dental students to the at-risk veterans in the program. He even recruited other dental students to volunteer their time serving the unmet dental health needs of veterans, and made it possible for them to receive credits towards graduation for volunteering their time.

Brian’s desire to help veterans did not stop with the New Directions program; he is currently in the process of establishing a program for UCLA undergraduate and graduate student veterans to receive subsidies for preventive care at the UCLA Dental Clinics.

The award Brian won was first established in 1986 as the Chancellor’s Humanitarian Award to create a way to recognize and promote the value of community service to a college education. The award was renamed in 1997 as the Charles E. Young Humanitarian Award, during Dr. Young's last year as Chancellor, in acknowledgment of his continued outstanding contributions to the recognition and promotion of community service. Congratulations on this great honor.

New Albert Schweitzer Fellow Announced

Nicole Bui - Albert Schweitzer FellowThe Albert Schweitzer Fellowship announced their 2014-2015 class and UCLA DDS student, Nicole Bui, Class of 2016, was chosen to participate in the program.

Fellows spend a year learning to address the social factors that impact health, and develop lifelong leadership skills. The program was named after famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, who set an example of giving back to the community.

During the fellowship, Nicole will focus on decreasing the incidence of early childhood caries in south Los Angeles by educating expectant parents and parents of children 0-5 years old. She will visit preschools, parent workshops, and women’s clinics to emphasize the importance of children’s oral health by interacting with parents on a one-to-one basis, and in group workshops. She will work in collaboration with the First 5 LA community sites.

National Scholarship Awarded to Class of 2015 President

Mark Ortega

Mark Ortega, Class of 2015, received a national scholarship from the National Association of Minority Medical Educators. The scholarship is well-deserved as he was elected class president for all four years, is an officer in the UCLA Student Chapter of the Hispanic Dental Association, and sits on numerous student body committees.  He was also selected as a participant in the 2013-14 Dean’s Leadership Institute, a seminar program for future leaders of the dental profession. He was first introduced to UCLA Dentistry through the school’s Post-Baccalaureate Program during the 2009-2010 academic year. The scholarship nomination letter came from Dr. Charles Alexander, an Associate Adjunct Professor in the Division of Public Health and Community Dentistry and the Associate Vice Provost, Student Diversity. Only eight scholarships are given out every year. Congratulations Mark on this scholarship.

Paul Ambrose Scholars Head to Washington

Eugen Kim (pictured at far left) and Brian Lehigh (pictured third from left), both from the Class of 2016, were accepted into the highly competitive Paul Ambrose Scholars Program Student Leadership Symposium. The two Bruins traveled to Washington D.C. in June, where they joined 40 other medical, physician assistant, dental, pharmacology, public health, and graduate nursing students from across the country who have shown a passion for health promotion and prevention.

The participants attended presentations focused on prevention, healthcare and the economy, health policy advocacy, project planning and community organizing, medicine and the underserved, funding opportunities, media relations, social determinants of health, and careers in public health and prevention. The students were selected from a pool of applicants from over 80 health professions schools across the country.

Along with the opportunity to attend the presentations, Eugen and Brian are eligible to receive mini-grant funds to implement a public health or disease prevention project focused on one of the Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicators at UCLA or in their communities within the next year.

The Paul Ambrose Scholars Program (PASP) is planned and implemented by the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research. PASP is sponsored by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

DDS Students Win Big at CDA Presents

UCLA pre-doctoral students were well-represented at the spring CDA Presents in Anaheim this past May. CDA Presents is an annual event that brings together dental professionals and students. In addition to the main exhibitor show, seminars, and speakers, a Table Poster competition is held for dental and auxiliary students, residents, and military dentists. The competition provides a forum for students to present useful and timely information in a compelling manner in three different categories: community, scientific, and clinical. UCLA dental students placed in each category and took home first, second, third place, and honorary mentions. There were about six posters from UCLA that received awards and included the following:

Lucas Lai: “Maxillary Hypoplasia in the Cleft Patient: Contribution of Dental Agenesis to Le Fort I Advancement Surgery” Award: Honorable Mention

Adrien Hamedi-Sangsari & Pooyan Sadr Eshkevari: “Surgically Assisted Rapid Palatal Expansion Therapy With Or Without Pterygomaxillary Disjunction: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”

Michael Hoang: "Molecular Effect of Alcohol on Osteogenic Potency in Dental Pulp Stem Cells". Award: First place in scientific category

Amy Tam & Olivia Yue: “Health Literacy: Information Seeking and Understanding of Dental School Patients” Award: Second place in the community category.

Ryan Brennan: “ASDA Community Clinics” Award: First place in the community category

Luskin School Gives Dental Student Coveted Rishwain Award

Ryan Brennan, Class of 2014Last May, Ryan Brennan, recent Class of 2014 graduate, received the 5th Annual Rishwain Social Justice Entrepreneurship Award from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. The coveted Luskin Award is given to a UCLA student who demonstrates an innovative, entrepreneurial spirit to social justice work. Ryan Brennan was selected for his work connecting nonprofit clinics, Homeless Not Toothless (HNT) and MEND (Meet Each Need with Dignity), with UCLA dental students to provide monthly clinic sessions free of charge. Over 520 dental procedures for 232 needy patients were provided over the past year. Due to the many hours of planning and promoting by Ryan, both MEND and HNT will now continue as part of the UCLA American Student Dental Association Community Service Committee. Both sites are now permanent options where dental students can provide care to patients in need.

Ryan is currently pursuing advanced training in endodontics at the University of Florida’s College of Dentistry in Gainesville, Florida.

American College of Dentists Recognizes Leadership

Jeff Diamond, recent graduate with the Class of 2014 and the Class President, received an award from the American College of Dentists, the oldest major honorary organization for dentists. He received the award at the organization’s annual meeting, which is always held in conjunction with CDA Presents. The meeting took place on Friday, May 16th in Anaheim. Each southern California dental school had a recipient, and Jeff was UCLA’s awardee who had shown exemplary leadership as a student. The award also came with a monetary prize.

Presenting the award to Jeff (pictured at right) is Dr. George Stratigopoulos (pictured at left), awards chairman for the southern California section of the American College of Dentists.


Delta Dental Acknowledges Future Potential

Delta Dental ScholarshipHayley Cox, (pictured 2nd from the right) recent graduate with the Class of 2014, was awarded the Delta Dental Student Leadership scholarship from the Delta Dental Foundation this past April. Hayley was flown to San Francisco to visit the Delta Dental administrative offices where she received a check and a certificate. The generous scholarship is awarded to one dental student from each of the California dental schools who demonstrates leadership potential and future contribution to organized dentistry. In addition to receiving the scholarship, she was able to spend the day exploring San Francisco and meeting student leaders from other dental schools.