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After moving to America from rural India, Arth Patel came to realize the positive impact of the more widely available dental care in the US. He wrote an essay describing his experiences to win the award.
Kool Smiles, a leading provider of dental care to underprivileged and underserved populations, has announced the winner of it’s My Kool Smiles Scholarship Fund, which was sponsored by the Benevis Foundation. This is the first year Kool Smiles has held the scholarship contest.
The scholarship amount totaled $5,000. It was awarded to a US student, Arth Patel, who wrote an essay explaining how dental health contributes to the well-being of children and families. In his essay, Patel described growing up in rural India where quality dental care was not widely available. He described how his family personally benefited from their access to community-based dental healthcare programs after they had moved to the United States.
Patel is currently a student at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Dentistry. He discovered his interest in dentistry while volunteering at a local community dental clinic. In a news release regarding the scholarship award, Patel was quoted as saying “I'm very excited to win the essay contest and to use the scholarship funds to further my education in dental school. I thank Kool Smiles for supporting me on my professional journey to reduce dental health disparities among those in need.”
Patel also said that “when a healthcare workforce provides care to the underserved, it motivates these underserved individuals, in turn, to contribute to their community and try to give back in some way. After receiving care from my community whenever I needed it, I feel obligated to volunteer and advance my community in any way possible."
In addition to the $5,000 scholarship, Kool Smiles also awarded a $500 book stipend to the first runner-up in the dental health essay contest, high school student Alex Marti.
Kool Smiles was founded in 2002 with the goal of providing first-rate dental services to communities that often have no exposure to dental care. They provide dental services for a variety of patients ranging in age from 1 year to adults. The company believes that everyone, regardless of their economic circumstances, should have access to quality dental care. They are currently working to expand oral healthcare services to underserved communities across the country.