Dental Trade Alliance Foundation

The Ignite Innovation Journal

DTA Foundation Launches New Website and Digital Annual Report

Posted June 2020

The DTA Foundation has launched its new website and digital 2019 Annual Report this week, in tandem with the Dental Trade Alliance's new website and member portal launch.

The new websites are clean, simple, and easy to navigate. With a digital DTA Foundation 2019 Annual Report, Foundation supporters can now access and share the annual report from any computer with the option to download a pdf version. Through the DTA's new member portal, DTA members can access all of their donations, invoices, event registrations and more from one simple place.

Want to learn more? Watch this How-To Video walkthrough of the features we think you'll be using the most! Also available as a PDF.

Announcing the DTA Foundation 2020 Scholarship Recipients

Posted June 2020

The DTA Foundation is proud to announce its 2020 scholarship recipients. Each year the DTA Foundation selects the most deserving, community-oriented rising third- or fourth-year dental students to receive a scholarship. Please join us in congratulating the 2020 scholarship recipients.

  • Steven Velasco, Western University of Health Sciences
  • LaShonda Shepherd, University of Maryland School of Dentistry
  • Sami Mubarak, The Ohio State University College of Dentistry
  • Sydney Twiggs, Indiana University School of Dentistry
  • Diana Kim, Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine
  • Beatrice Williams, UNC Adams School of Dentistry
  • Kayla Erps, The University of Iowa College of Dentistry
  • Christine Nguyen, AT Still University-Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health
  • Bahara Naimzadeh, University of Washington School of Dentistry
  • Kal Barawi, University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry
  • Evi Addoh, University of Minnesota
  • Rachel Bryant, Midwestern University - Arizona
  • Micayla Shrimpton, University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • Airress Hanna, Meharry Medical College

About the Scholarships

DTA Foundation’s scholarship program recognizes dental students who have an established commitment to community service by providing financial support to a rising third or fourth year dental student who has demonstrated:

  • Academic excellence in dentistry;
  • Financial need; and
  • A commitment to community service.

Each U.S. dental school is encouraged to nominate one student from their school.

Heroes for Oral Health, Episode 5 Dan Garrick

Posted June 2020

Dan Garrick, Vice Chair of the DTA Foundation Board, joined for Eiposde 5 of the Heroes for Oral Health podcast series. Interviewed at the beginning of the world moving virtually, Dan talked about the Foundation's work and some of the hopes for its future.

Health Inequities are an Oral Health Care Problem Too

Posted June 2020

To actively address health inequities, the oral health care community must also acknowledge the racial health disparities within our health systems. This pandemic is one example of how disproportionate our current health systems are. African American, Indigenous peoples, and other minority communities are dying in disproportionate numbers due to COVID 19.

As public health servants we can each play a part in addressing racial inequities in health.

The DTA Foundation recognizes the existing and unequal gaps to care in oral health care, and therefore overall health care, and attempts to address those gaps by increasing access to the oral heath care profession and access to oral health care servcies.

Pride. Excitement. Sadness.

An open letter from Laura Fleming Doyle in May 2020


It is with a combination of pride, excitement, and some sadness that I am announcing my retirement.


I joined the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation as the Executive Director in 2010 at the request of DTA’s former CEO, Gary Price. Gary knew me from when we worked together in the 1980s and 1990s at the American College of Radiology. Gary asked if I could join the DTA to manage the Foundation.

At that time, the Foundation was a great idea that was working well but still needed to establish its identity. I am so proud of the foundation and what we have been able to accomplish together over the past 10 years. Thanks to the amazing members who have served on the DTA Foundation Board (Kevin Thomas, Scott Parrish, Paul Hinsch, Steve Knight, George Wolfe, Rick Cohen to name a few) and the confidence they placed in my abilities. Your foundation has grown to become an organization recognized across the country for its commitment to increasing access to and literacy in oral health care. Your foundation is financially sound even in these uncertain times, thanks to the foresight of the foundation’s leadership. By creating a solid reserve fund, we can weather storms just like what we are currently experiencing.

Over the years your foundation has provided over $2.5 million in seed funding to innovative pilot projects in oral health care which have impacted well over 1 million individuals and attracted over $25.5 million in additional funding from other sources. Your foundation has awarded over $600,000 in dental student scholarships. This was all accomplished while also making sure the foundation remained financially sound.

And a crowning glory as a foundation executive, your DTA Foundation was honored to receive its first major gift of $1,000,000 in 2019 from the Robert J. Sullivan Family Foundation!


While enjoying my career, my husband and I proudly raised a family of 5 now adult “kids.” Our family of 5 “kids” has grown over the years to include 4 in-law “kids” and, best of all, 9 grand kids (#9 is actually arriving in late September). We are so proud of the young men and women our children have become, each making a positive impact on the world in their own way (ESL teacher, Special Needs Program manager for a county wide program, Tugboat Pilot, Scientific Sales Analyst, Yoga instructor). With each “kid” living in a different corner of the country (seriously, only one of you stayed in the DC area?!?!) it’s a good thing my husband and I enjoy travel. I foresee many trips to Maine, North Carolina, and Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley to visit the grandkids. Of course, there will also be trips to Colorado to see our very independent yogi daughter.


Thirty-five years ago, I received my master’s in health administration from George Washington University. I have proudly spent my career in the health care non-profit world. I always felt what I did at the health care association level helped the professional, which ultimately helped the patient. I loved the fact that what I did positively impacted people across the country.

I spent the early days of my career working with radiologists helping them to establish national standards for every radiologic procedure (that’s right…before the 80s and 90s national practice standards didn’t exist). I then moved on in the late 90s to work with the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy as their COO. As I managed that organization, I learned fundraising through osmosis - our members were hospital fundraisers across the country. Next, I spent 6 years as the CEO of the American Academy of Audiology where we worked diligently to get hearing aids covered by Medicare (sadly, still a work in progress!) And in the small world category, this is where I first worked with Patrick Cooney (lobbyist for the DTA). It was while I was later freelancing as a consultant for organizations such as the American Physical Therapy Foundation and the Pierre Fauchard Academy Foundation that I got the call from Gary to lead the DTA Foundation.

I think you can hear the pride in my “voice” as I recall the path I followed in my career. That is where the sadness comes in as I will miss working as part of a team to have a positive impact on so many lives through the good work done at the national association level.


I have full confidence in this Foundation and its ability to adapt to these trying times and grow into something greater than before. This mission is important for so many and I am thankful for the chance to have served this mission.

Heroes for Oral Health, Episode 4 Dr. Angie's Dental Health Exchange

Posted April 2020

In episode 4 of the Heroes for Oral Health podcast, the Foundation spoke with 2014 grant recipient, Dr. Angie's Dental Health Exchange. This fantastic nonprofit uses a network of charitable dentists willing to donate their services to individuals that are low income or underserved. In exchange for those services, these individuals volunteer their time to "pay" for the dental services they received.

The DTA Foundation is getting a new look!

Posted March 2020


Be on the lookout in the next couple of months for a fresh new look on the DTA Foundation’s website. Today’s websites should be clean, simple, and easy to navigate. The Foundation is moving to a newer look to accomplish just that! New to the website will be a page highlighting the inaugural Legacy Founder’s Circle donor, the Robert J. Sullivan Family Foundation. Information regarding the Legacy Giving program, along with a blog page for updates news and videos and podcasts, will be featured on the new website.

Webpage visitors will still be able to easily find information on:

  • The DTA Foundation’s Mission, Vision, & Values
  • Foundation donors
  • Grant application process and past recipients
  • Scholarship application process and past recipients
  • Annual Reports (current and past)
  • Foundation Videos
  • DTA Foundation Board Members & Staff

The Foundation is also moving to a new look for its annual reports. The DTA Foundation 2019 Annual Report will be completely digital, focusing on the impact of your donations through an interactive webpage. Be on the lookout for more information on the new annual report closer to summer!

Heroes for Oral Health, Episode 4 Dr. Younan

March 2020

In the third Heroes for Oral Health episode, the Foundation speaks with the very enthusiastic 2016 scholarship recipient Dr. Younan. The Foundation featured Dr. Younan in a 2017 video, which can be found on the video on the Foundation's Youtube channel.

He has certainly kept busy since 2016. Now a practicing dentist and more, he continues his dedication to community service to this day. Click on the play button to hear more about what he has been up to since receiving a DTA Foundation/Robert J. Sullivan Family Foundation Scholarship. You can also check out his Instagram persona - Dr. Gibbz.

DTA Foundation Grant Recipient Translates "Happy Teeth" Book into Lakota

Posted March 2020


2017 DTA Foundation grant recipient McMillen Health piloted an oral health messaging program for children ages 3-5, through a partnership with Pine Ridge Head Start in South Dakota. This pilot program used text messaging and animated videos to emphasize the importance of oral health for Tribal Head Start children. This is just one of the many programs and resrouces McMillen Health offers. Another resource is their Happy Teeth book, teaching children about oral health. McMillen Health has recently translated the book into Lakota, so families can have the resource in their native langauge. See below for the full conversation between DTA Foundation and McMillen Health about this project!

Can you give a brief description of this project and the children’s book?

McMillen Health recently received grant support from the Foundation for Dental Health Education (FDHE) to translate our baby board book Happy Teeth to Lakota, which is the native language used on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. McMillen Health contracted with the Lakota Language Consortium to translate the board book and our own Graphic Artist, Jenn Storey, redesigned the board book for children of tribal nations.

McMillen Health is a 501(c)(3) non-profit with a mission is to provide vital, effective preventive health education that promotes physical, emotional, and social well-being. For 39 years, McMillen Health has been the premier resource for health education, serving nearly 90,000 youth and adults per year and 1.92 million people since our inception in 1981. Our programs are designed to maximize positive outcomes in knowledge, attitudes, and life-long healthy behavior.

McMillen serves children and adults nationwide, offering face-to-face programs at our Fort Wayne facility; through outreach to schools and community groups; and worldwide via our distance learning (DL) studios. We currently offer more than 90 health education programs for youth and adults. We also develop curriculum and teaching resources for low-income, high-risk audiences. Our Brush Oral Health Program has created teaching resources which are used by Head Start and WIC nationwide, serving over 1.7 million children. Happy Teeth is among the line of resources available through our Brush Oral Health Program.

Where did this idea come from?

This project started in 2017 when McMillen Health received a grant from the Dental Trade Alliance to develop text messages with animated videos for Tribal Head Start children, ages 3-5, focusing on the importance of oral health. Text messages with animated videos were sent to parents to watch with their children. Through this implementation, McMillen Health conducted pre and post-intervention surveys with parents and caregivers. On the post-intervention surveys, satisfaction with the text messages and videos was very high:

  • 67% of parents said they were very satisfied with the intervention and 33% said they were satisfied.
  • 100% of parents said their children enjoyed receiving the messages an watching the videos.
  • 100% of the parents said the texts/videos encouraged their child to brush their teeth

McMillen Health piloted this project with the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. After meeting with the Pine Ridge Head Start and speaking to several parents during a visit in early 2018, it was determined that very few oral health resources are available to these Native Americans in their native language of Lakota. Since this language is at risk of extinction, it is extremely important to the professionals working with children being raised on the reservation that as many of the teaching materials as possible be in Lakota. McMillen Health sought out additional funding to begin translating our Brush resources into Lakota.

The Foundation for Dental Health Education (FDHE) awarded McMillen Health grant funding to translate our baby board book Happy Teeth into Lakota in the Fall of 2018. The book was translated and redesigned in 2019.

How many books have been distributed already? What has been the feedback/observations so far?

McMillen Health is currently seeking funds to print and distribute the books to the Pine Ridge Reservation. We are speaking with the Delta Dental Foundation of South Dakota to see if there is an interest to distribute the books through their local efforts with the reservation. A limited number of books, 10, were printed and distributed. To date, we have received positive feedback from those who have received it:

  • “This book is fantastic, I cannot wait to share it with the families we serve!”
  • “We finally have resources the families can use at home. Most oral health resources are only in English so the families are unable to use it in practice.”
Are there any next steps or future components planned?

Yes! We will be seeking additional support from the Foundation for Dental Health Education next year to begin translating our other children’s books to Lakota. Ideally, we would like to find a partner to continue to translate all of our Brush resources (curriculum for Head Start, flip chart for home visitors, magnetic MyPlate, etc.) to Lakota. We are focusing on Pine Ridge because they have a population of 40,000 and are one of the poorest reservations in the US. High school graduation rates are around 30%, unemployment is 85%, and 60% of families live below the poverty line. Residents suffer from high rates of broken families, domestic violence, drug abuse, substandard housing, homelessness, inadequate law enforcement, and factionalism. The adolescent suicide rate is four times the national average; the infant mortality rate five times the national average. Life expectancy for men is 48 years; the only place in the Western hemisphere with a lower life expectancy is Haiti. The Lakota language, a dialect of Sioux, is classified by UNESCO as vulnerable to extinction; most fluent speakers are over age 50. Children who live on reservations have the highest rate of dental decay of any group. Our goal is to share our resources with parents and caregivers in the hopes of changing the rate of dental decay among children and adults.

What was your favorite part of putting this children’s book together?

We have never translated one of our resources to a tribal language, so we were very excited to do this project and work with others to make it a success. The Lakota Language Consortium, located in Bloomington, Indiana, works with many tribal nations to translate resources. We were excited to build a new collaboration with them on this project.

Our Graphic Artist, Jenn Storey, was ecstatic to redesign our Happy Teeth board book using illustrated images. Her background is in Fine Arts, so she was able to think outside of the box on how this resource could be adapted and relatable to Native American children. She chose to use a beaver as the illustrated character because infants usually get their central incisors first, which are the prominent teeth on beavers. The beaver also connects to Native American folklore as it relates to spirit animals. The beaver spirit is believed to strive to build things in life that will make the world better. Our goal through this resource expansion is to make Lakota children’s lives better by educating them on the importance of oral health.