UNC Adams School of Dentistry student Sylvette Ramos-Diaz (Class of 2024) has been named recipient of the prestigious Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award from the American Dental Association (ADA) Foundation. The Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award recognizes students who demonstrate leadership skills in the profession through community engagement, service, and advancement of oral public health.
Ramos-Diaz, DDS Candidate 2024, has an MPH degree with a Global Health focus from 2019. She is currently enrolled in UNC’s Rural Interprofessional Longitudinal Scholars Program as well as the Adams Rural Oral Health and Wellness Scholars Program. She recently completed the ADEA Academic Dental Careers Fellowship Program with Dr. Apoena Ribeiro as her program mentor and research advisor.
Ramos-Diaz’s demonstrates her ongoing participation in community engagement and the advancement of oral public health through her efforts with the H.O.P.E. Project. Ramos-Diaz initiated the project to improve Hispanic/Latino families’ oral health and access to care in North Carolina. The project is also run entirely in Spanish. Her team of volunteers spends nearly every Saturday at the Vidas de Esperanza clinic for the last two years. They attend to enrolled patients from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seeing 16 patients in a typical day.
“Sylvette is one of the most promising future leaders in dentistry and dental education that I have encountered, and I am confident that she will be a change agent in our profession in the near future,” said Kimon Divaris, DDS, PhD. “Her resume, past, current, and future planned activities, and her ability to partner with community partners and mentors, are all strong indicators of success and positive impact in our field.”
The ADA created the award in honor of David Whiston, DDS, president of the American Dental Association from 1997 to 1998, a trustee from 1992 to 1996, and president of the ADA Foundation’s board of directors from 2010 to 2014. The funds awarded will go towards attending or presenting at scientific committees to cover costs such as registration fees, travel expenses, meals and lodging. In addition, the award funds could cover research-related expenses.