CDA Foundation helps new dentist serve community in need

With a personal objective to provide quality dental service and education to the underserved, Stephanie Calvillo, DDS, was recently awarded the CDA Foundation’s 2013 Student Loan Repayment Grant.

Calvillo was honored at the CDA House of Delegates last month as the Foundation’s 14th recipient of this grant. The Student Loan Repayment Grant program provides tremendous impact across the state — lessening the burden of student loan debt so that a new dentist can practice in public health or an underserved community. This grant provides up to $105,000 over three years toward repayment of student loans in exchange for a commitment to care for underserved individuals.

“Dr. Calvillo is a perfect example of what is great about our profession – she is dedicated to serving the public, loves dentistry and has a passion for helping the underserved,” said Don Rollofson, DMD, CDA Foundation chair.

A 2011 graduate of the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, Calvillo now works as the lead dentist at the Assistance League of Redlands Dental Center, a clinic that provides low cost dental care to children and families in need. 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 wants to make a difference.

“This CDA grant will enable me to have the financial resources to continue my mission of healing in an underserved population among those who simply would not be able to have access to dental care in a traditional private practice setting,” Calvillo said.

Calvillo’s first mission trip was to Nicaragua where she provided general restorative dentistry on 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.

The CDA Foundation works tirelessly to support the dental profession in its efforts to meet community needs, and Calvillo has demonstrated her commitment to doing just that. With a personal objective to provide quality dental service and education to the underserved, Calvillo’s goals to continue to grow her knowledge in dentistry while serving disadvantaged communities align perfectly with those of the CDA Foundation.

The Student Loan Repayment Grant program, which began in 2002, has placed 13 dentists (Calvillo is the 14th) into clinics where they have provided more than 62,000 patients with oral health services valued at nearly $16 million in communities where individuals would otherwise go without. And, virtually all of the 13 grant recipients have remained not only in public health, but also in the communities where they first served.

For more information or to donate to this program, visit cdafoundation.org.