Awards, Outreach, Services, Students

Two Student Service Projects Receive ADA Foundation Tarrson Award 

The Vidas de Esperanza Clinic and the Equality Clinic are the recipients of the American Dental Association (ADA) Foundation E. Bud Tarrson Dental School Student Community Leadership Award. Each clinic was awarded $11,000 each. 

“It would be hard to identify two more deserving projects for such a prestigious award,” said Dean Scott S. De Rossi, DMD, MBA. “Our students continue to inspire through their work and continue to make a difference by sharing their expertise and knowledge at these clinics. I am so proud of all that they do to make our community a better place.” 

The Tarrson Awards highlight significant dental student outreach efforts to vulnerable communities in the United States.  

(right to left) Jonathan Solares, Christian Glackin

The Hispanic Dental Association (HDA) volunteers with the Vidas de Esperanza clinic during its three sessions a month. The clinic provides medical and dental services ranging from primary care to OB/GYN services at no-cost to patients. Located in Siler City, North Carolina, the Vidas de Esperanza clinic eliminates many barriers to health care for the Latinx community, including language, cost and location.  

“We are beyond thankful to have received the ADA Bud Tarrson award,” said HAD Co-Presidents, Jonathan Solares and Christian Glackin, DDS Candidates 2021. “This award will help the Vidas de Esperanza Clinic grow and transition from a primarily urgent care dental clinic to a more comprehensive source of dental care for the Siler City community.”  

Specifically, this award provides us with the resources needed to open two more dental operatories, equipment to perform more complex procedures, and the supplies needed for even more restorative treatment. Overall, this award will greatly increase our impact on the oral health of the Siler Ci ty community – a community that unfortunately faces financial and linguistic barriers to healthcare. We are excited about the future of our clinic as it continues to grow and provides treatment to so many patients in need.” 

LGBdenTQIA’s focus is to provide better training and resources for all students at the UNC Adams School of Dentistry and to help students, faculty and staff better provide treatment for LGBT+ patients.  

(right to left) Austin Harbison, Beatrice Williams

Austin Harbison and Beatrice Williams, DDS Candidates 2021, were instrumental in helping LGBdenTQIA to establish the Equality Clinic in 2019 and now serve as the clinics coordinators. The goal of the clinic is to increase access to oral health care for members of the LGBT+ community and provide them with a comfortable treatment environment.  

Currently, the Equality Clinic is primarily providing oral health screenings and oral hygiene instruction. The clinic is also collecting essential data to better understand a large gap in dental research – the oral health of LGBT+ individuals. The E. Bud Tarrson award will allow the clinic to expand its operations to include restorative care and other health care services. 

“Nationwide, the LGBT+ community is frequently overlooked and poorly understood in regard to oral health,” said Harbison, LGBdenTQIA’s vice president   

“With this award, we will not only be treating those in our community, but we will also be working to better understand their determinants of health and focus on prevention. We are beyond honored to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Tarrson by furthering understanding of oral health and providing essential oral care to our community. 

The Tarrson awards are named in memory of the late Mr. Tarrson, long-time owner of the former John O. Butler Company and oral health philanthropist.  

The ADA Foundation’s Tarrson Fund was created in 2003 by Mrs. Linda Tarrson, a former member of the ADA Foundation Board of Directors), in memory of her husband.  

From 2004 through 2009, the award honored outstanding community service by a practicing dentist or lay person.  

In 2009, the ADA Foundation transformed the Tarrson Award to highlight significant dental student outreach to vulnerable communities.