Home > Education > WesternU College of Dental Medicine Awards Delta Dental Endowed Scholarships for Opportunity to 4 Students

WesternU College of Dental Medicine Awards Delta Dental Endowed Scholarships for Opportunity to 4 Students

CDM Dean Elizabeth Andrews, DDS, MS, (center) with Delta Dental Endowed Scholarships for Opportunity recipients (left to right): Justin Lai, Layla Eltejaye, Jeong Hyun, and Katherine Vo. (Jeff Malet, WesternU)

Pomona, CA — Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Dental Medicine (CDM) received a $1 million grant from the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Delta Dental of California and affiliates, to launch the Delta Dental Endowed Scholarships for Opportunity program.

The annual scholarship will be awarded to a minimum of two CDM students who have demonstrated high academic achievement while having experienced financial hardship and overcome adversity or difficult circumstances. Preference will be given to students who have demonstrated interest in working in underserved communities.

“We are extremely grateful to the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation for their continued support of WesternU CDM,” said WesternU College of Dental Medicine Dean Elizabeth Andrews, DDS, MS. “WesternU CDM is honored and supports the Community Care Foundation’s efforts to educate and train the next generation of oral health care providers.”

The College awarded four scholarships at its 2024 Honors Day ceremony to CDM students Katherine Vo (DMD Class of 2027), Justin Lai (DMD Class of 2026), Layla Eltejaye (DMD Class of 2025), and Jeong Hyun (DMD Class of 2024).

“Receiving this scholarship means that my hard work is being noticed and appreciated,” Eltejaye said. “I am a foreign-trained dentist who made the decision to go back to dental school because I felt I would have more opportunities to succeed in the US. Receiving this award is proof of that. I am interested in working in underserved communities because I have done so in the past and it was a very rewarding experience. It is a great way to address health care disparities.”

Lai said he is grateful and honored to receive this award.

“I have a great appreciation for the time, effort and resources of the faculty, staff, and other classmates,” Lai said. “This honor has shown me how instrumental the support of the College is in the journey of the dental student. My goal is to work in the community which I grew up in when I graduate.”

It is important to support students with scholarships and other financial aid because we want students from all financial backgrounds to receive a proper education, Vo said. Without financial aid or scholarships, she wouldn’t be able to choose this career.

“It is important to treat underserved communities because health should be equitable and not just for the privileged,” Vo said. “I came into the health professions because I want to help as many people as I can and because I wanted to give back to the community that served me. As someone who’s received help from the public and government programs, it’s not in me to turn my back on those who need help. Dental care is expensive —I understand that it’s difficult to choose between an expensive emergency treatment and putting food on the table. I want to do my part in helping those more unfortunate than I am.”

Scholarships and financial aid are the medium that connects the aspirations of professionals toward the communities most in need, Hyun said.

“I am committed to serving others, guided by the support and kindness I have received,” he said. “The scholarship awarded to me represents not just financial assistance but a collective commitment to extend health care beyond socioeconomic barriers. It speaks to the belief in the potential of students like me to do more than what I anticipated but make those dreams real in service to communities waiting for our help.”

About the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation:

The Delta Dental Community Care Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Delta Dental of California and its affiliated companies, including Delta Dental Insurance Company, Delta Dental of Pennsylvania and Delta Dental of New York, Inc. Since 2011, the Community Care Foundation has awarded more than $150 million in funding and support to increase access to quality dental care, oral health education, and to advance scientific research across the company’s15-state service area and Washington, D.C. For more information about the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation, please visit https://www1.deltadentalins.com/foundation.html

About Western University of Health Sciences:

Western University of Health Sciences (www.westernu.edu), located in Pomona, Calif. and Lebanon, Ore., is an independent nonprofit health professions university, conferring degrees in biotechnology and pharmaceutical sciences, dental medicine, medical sciences, nursing, optometry, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy,  physical therapy, physician assistant studies, podiatric medicine and veterinary medicine. WesternU is home to WesternU Health, where the best in collaborative health care services is offered.

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