The Carolina Center for Public Service (CCPS) recognized Colin LaPrade, DDS Candidate 2021, with a Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award, one of 12 public service awardees across the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The CCPS Public Service Awards recognize individuals and groups for their outstanding contributions to campus as well as their broader communities.
LaPrade was recognized for his work in the Vidas de Esperanza clinic in Siler City, North Carolina. He started out as a part-time student volunteer and now serves as an organizational leader, designing and implementing clinic protocols for instrument sterilization and supply inventory.
His contributions – along with those of the entire Vidas de Esperanza team – have made a tangible impact on the lives of many people in the area. The dental clinic continues to grow, now screening and treating more than 200 patients annually.
“Serving North Carolinians has always been an important part of my pursuit of a career in dentistry. I’m grateful to the Carolina Center for Public Service for this recognition,” said LaPrade. “I also want to thank the mentors who have helped cultivate my interest in dental outreach during my time at the North Carolina Missions of Mercy Program and the Adams School of Dentistry.
“I believe those in our state’s community of dental professionals are uniquely positioned to lead in the development of innovative strategies for addressing oral health disparities. I will endeavor to contribute to this vibrant, inclusive community as a Tar Heel dentist.”
Established in 2004, the Vidas de Esperanza Medical Clinic was founded by the international charity, Vidas de Esperanza, to address the acute medical needs of Siler City. The medical team quickly realized the community’s need for basic dental care, and, in 2015, the UNC Adams School of Dentistry agreed to join Vidas and staff a free dental clinic.
The clinic is now able to address medical and oral health disparities in Latinx communities, providing free basic restorative and preventive care for underserved patients. All services at the clinic are provided at no cost.
The Carolina Center for Public Service is a pan-University unit that engages and supports the faculty, students and staff of UNC-Chapel Hill in meeting the needs of North Carolina and beyond. For the past 20 years, the Center has strengthened the University’s public service commitment by promoting scholarship and service that are responsive to the concerns of the state and contribute to the common good.