06/17/2016

Former Student Loan Repayment Grant recipient pays it forward


Every year, the CDA Foundation awards one new dentist with a Student Loan Repayment Grant to help repay his or her dental education loan. The grant provides up to $105,000 over three years in exchange for a commitment to care for the underserved. To date, the grant program has not only provided financial support for 16 dentists across the state, it has motivated them to give back to their communities, and Stephanie Calvillo, DDS, the 2013 Student Loan Repayment Grant recipient, is a good example of that.

Now in the final year of her three-year commitment to provide care for the underserved as an associate dentist at the Assistance League of Redlands Dental Center, Calvillo has not only decided to stay at the clinic long term, she has volunteered to sit on the CDA Foundation's Grant and Scholarship Committee, which selects the candidates for the organization's grants, awards and scholarships.

"I thought it was a good opportunity to get involved and to give back," said Calvillo, who is a 2011 graduate of the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry.

Soon, she will be helping to select the 2016 Student Loan Repayment Grant recipient while serving on the committee. The deadline for dentists to apply for the grant is July 31.

Since 2002, the grant has enabled the 16 recipients to work in public health and help nearly 80,000 patients in underserved communities to receive more than $22 million in care. Calvillo understands how much the Student Loan Repayment Grant can help. She was born to immigrant parents from Mexico and raised in a rural, highly minority community. The first in her family to attend college, Calvillo says she has observed firsthand the great need there is for oral care in impoverished communities and she wants to make a difference. She has a heart for providing for the underserved. Her first mission trip was to Nicaragua where she provided general restorative dentistry to children as well as treatment planning, translation and emergency treatment in a remote area. In 2011, Calvillo was awarded the ADA Certificate for International Volunteer Service.

Today, she enjoys making a difference in the lives of her patients at the Assistance League of Redlands Dental Center, using her communication skills and professional and personal background to extend a level of comfort to those she is treating.

"In my personal life I tend to be more reserved, but I tend to be more talkative at work because I have to be," Calvillo said. "I treat a large Hispanic population that enjoys speaking to me in Spanish. If I can speak to them in their language they have a better understanding of the treatment they need and they are more comfortable, and I enjoy that."

Calvillo encourages any California dentist in need of some help with their student loan debt to apply for the Student Loan Repayment Grant.

"The student debt you acquire can hold you back from what you really wanted to do. So I think this grant is very special because for those dentists who are dedicated to working at community clinics, you may be getting paid less, but this grant really frees you up financially to be able to stay in those clinics, it motivates you," Calvillo said.

For more information on the Student Loan Repayment Grant and to apply, visit cdafoundation.org/SLRG.



Related Items

Matt Scott was at the Henry Schein Dental offices in Chatsworth when the landlord for the building barged in and told the staff that he was acting on all the issues that had been brought to his attention, such as skateboarders. As he was leaving, he also said, “Don't worry, I have also called the police on the homeless guy who is sleeping out back and he is going to be arrested and his dog taken to the pound.”

The CDA Foundation offers financial support to dental professionals and community-based organizations statewide that provide dental care to underserved communities. Grants and scholarships are available throughout the year with various deadlines and submission periods.

Every year, the CDA Foundation awards one new dentist with the Student Loan Repayment Grant to help repay his or her dental educational loan. The grant, which provides up to $105,000 over three years in exchange for a commitment to care for the underserved, has not only provided financial support for 16 dentists across the state, it has motivated them to give back to their communities. Three recipients of the grant illustrated this by using their talents to give back to patients at CDA Cares in Fresno.

Topics
Top