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ADA Foundation Challenge: Help improve access to oral health care for people with special needs.

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Dental Student Resources

Scholarships, Awards, and Grants for Dental Students

The ADA Foundation offers a variety of scholarships and awards just for dental students. This page offers a brief summary of each program. Click on the "Application and Guidelines" link under each heading for complete information. Contact Tracey Schilligo at 312.440.2763 if you have questions. 


Dental Student Scholarships

Application period opens: September 7, 2018.
Dental Student Scholarships program description

The ADAF’s Dental Student Scholarship Program helps dental students defray some of their academic expenses. The ADA Foundation offers scholarships of up to $20,000 each. Please check this website in early November, 2017 for complete information.


E. “Bud” Tarrson Dental School Student Community Leadership Award

Application period opens: September 7, 2018
Tarrson Award program description

The ADAF Tarrson Award recognizes exemplary volunteer community service projects that are organized and/or conducted by a group of dental students enrolled in an accredited predoctoral dental education program. One grant of $5,000 is made annually to a dental school in honor of the selected student outreach program.  (From 2014 - 2017, due to generous gifts from ADA Business Resources (ADABEI) and an anonymous donor, the ADAF awarded six to seven Tarrson Awards.) The ADA Foundation accepts one application from each accredited dental school with a predoctoral dental student group involved in an outreach program to vulnerable communities within the U.S.


ADA Foundation Dentsply Sirona Research Award for Dual Degree (D.D.S./Ph.D. or D.M.D./Ph.D.) Candidates

Application period opens: First Friday in April
ADAF Dentsply Sirona Research Award program description

The purpose of this award is to promote and recognize excellence in oral health research by providing financial assistance to dual degree candidates who are interested in pursuing a career in research that advances the oral health of the public.

Dual degree (D.D.S./Ph.D. or D.M.D./Ph.D.) candidates who are U.S. citizens in good academic standing and are currently enrolled in an accredited program may apply. A dual degree candidate is an individual pursuing these degrees either simultaneously, or in sequence within a period of five years from the completion of the first degree and the start of the second. The $10,000 award may be used to fund expenses to attend the AADR SCADA competition and, in addition, may be used to defray the cost of one or more of the following: a research project approved by the ADA Foundation; and/or attending one or more scientific conferences in order to further his/her knowledge or skills; and/or presenting his/her findings at such scientific conference.


ADA Foundation Crest and Oral-B Promising Researcher Award

Application period opens: First Friday in April
ADA Foundation Crest and Oral-B Promising Researcher Award program description

The purpose of the ADA Foundation Crest and Oral-B Promising Researcher Award is to promote and recognizes excellence in oral health research by providing financial assistance for promising researchers to pursue a career in research that advances preventive dentistry.

Degree candidates who conduct oral health research in preventive dentistry while enrolled in one of the following accredited degree programs at an eligible institution may apply: D.D.S. or D.M.D.; D.D.S./D.M.D. and Ph.D. dual degree; Ph.D. or equivalent; M.P.H., M.S. or equivalent. Visit ADAFoundation.org for eligibility details. The $5,000 award may be used to pay for expenses to attend and/or to present at scientific conference(s) or, with approval from the selection committee at the time of application, to cover the research-related expenses.


Summer Scholars Fellowship Program

Summer Scholars Fellowship Program description 

The ADA Foundation Volpe Research Center annually appoints one or two young investigators to its Summer Scholars Program, allowing them to apply classroom and lab experience to real-world scenarios. Currently supported by the ADAF and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the program has given many talented students (undergraduate and dental school) the chance to participate in basic research as well as gain hands-on experience in the clinical theater, working side-by-side with their mentors while becoming part of the research process.


Samuel D. Harris Fund for Children's Dental Health Grant Program

Application period opens: By invitation
Harris Grant program description

The ADAF Harris Grant Program is not geared specifically to dental students, but dental students may have some involvement in organizations that could be eligible for a Harris Grant. Grants of up to $5,000 each are offered to non-profit organizations and agencies that sponsor education programs for new parents and caregivers to reduce the incidence of early childhood caries. Dental students who volunteer for such an organization may be interested in passing this information along, or helping to apply for a grant.