ATLANTA, March 12, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kool Smiles, a leading provider of quality dental care in underserved communities nationwide, today announced the winner of its second annual My Kool Smiles Scholarship Fund essay contest, sponsored by the Benevis Foundation. Kool Smiles awarded Heather Howell, a dental student at Oregon Health and Science University, a $5,000 scholarship for her winning essay about the 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 healthcare, including distance, office hours availability and financial barriers. Howell saw many of these issues first-hand 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 is proud to offer 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.
Kool Smiles 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.
The My Kool Smiles Scholarship Fund is made possible for a second year by the generous support of the Benevis Foundation.
For more information about the My Kool Smiles Scholarship Fund, please visit https://mykoolsmiles.com/l/scholarship.
About Kool Smiles
Kool Smiles is dedicated to creating a world of happy, healthy smiles. As a leading dental care provider, Kool Smiles' mission is to improve lives by providing high quality dental care in a fun, compassionate environment. Kool Smiles dentists are proud to offer care to kids and adults with almost any insurance plan, including State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), Medicaid and Tricare. Kool Smiles, with support from the Benevis Foundation, also provides oral health education programs through partnerships with community schools and organizations. For more information, please visit www.mykoolsmiles.com.
About the Benevis Foundation
The Benevis Foundation is committed to improving dental care access and outcomes for underserved communities in the United States through research, education and outreach. The foundation sponsors ongoing research on the role of Medicaid dental providers in improving access to preventative care, early intervention, and dental health education among traditionally underserved pediatric populations, as well as research on the cost savings associated with improving access to dental care among these patient populations in both federal and state healthcare systems. Through these research efforts, the Benevis Foundation hopes to provide data that informs and strengthens public policy related to dental access and affordability. For more information, visit http://benevis.com/benevis-foundation/.
SOURCE Kool Smiles