Awards, Research, Students

Bridgers Receives National Research Honor

Shannitta Bridgers, a rising fourth-year dental student at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, has received national recognition for academic excellence in research.

Bridgers was one of 11 dental students nationwide to receive the American Association of Women Dentists’ (AAWD) Colgate Research Award. A committee of AAWD members selects the recipients; the purpose of the $500 scholarships is to give women entering the dental profession support and confidence toward their success. Colgate has sponsored the research awards since 1980.

“I am constantly amazed at how much Shannitta can juggle and how she manages to pull off each task with grace and perfection,” Dr. Jessica Lee, associate professor of pediatric dentistry, wrote in her nomination letter for Bridgers.

Lee, also assistant professor of health policy and administration in UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Public Health, was Bridgers’ mentor in her research project titled “Use of Dental Services During Pregnancy Among Early Head Start Families.”

“Her research examined factors associated with increasing access to dental care for low-income pregnant women,” Lee wrote. “With evidence now linking oral health and pregnancy outcomes, this is an important and timely area of research. Shannitta’s work will shed light on how best we, as dental providers, can deliver care to a vulnerable population.”
Other Colgate Research Award recipients are:

  • Rebecca Bockow, University of Washington School of Dentistry;
  • Lindsay Compton, University of Iowa College of Dentistry;
  • Winna Goldman, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine;
  • Cindy Knotts, West Virginia University School of Dentistry;
  • Anna Muench, University of Maryland Dental School;
  • Melissa Nix, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio;
  • Elizabeth Osborne, University of Alabama School of Dentistry;
  • Nunya Pongo Irvin, Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine;
  • Takeisha Preston, Howard University College of Dentistry; and
  • Lisa Trevino, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.