Delta Dental of Michigan

Home / About / Newsroom / News Releases / New dentists commit to practice in underserved communities, receive new Delta Dental Foundation awar


New dentists commit to practice in underserved communities, receive new Delta Dental Foundation award

$125,000 awarded to five dental school graduates from Michigan, Ohio and Indiana
Okemos, Michigan—Five dental school graduates from the Midwest have already committed to making the world a better place and will each be receiving a $25,000 award from the Delta Dental Foundation (DDF) as a result.
Increasing access to care by encouraging graduating dental students to practice in areas of high need is the impetus behind the Community Commitment Award.
Four dental school graduates, one each, from the University of Detroit Mercy, Case Western Reserve University, Indiana University and Ohio State University were recently awarded the Community Commitment Award.
A fifth student from the University of Michigan received a similar award— the Patrick P. Gribben Jr. Community Commitment Award.
The Delta Dental Foundation Community Commitment Award, new this year, was modeled after the Patrick P. Gribben Jr. Community Commitment Award which was established in 2014 to honor the memory of Patrick P. Gribben Jr. He served for 25 years as the president and chief executive officer of Delta Dental of Michigan and later as President of the Delta Dental Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the oral and overall health of the children and adults in the community.
Each of the five award recipients will receive $25,000 for committing to practice in a designated high needs area also referred to as a Health Professional Shortage Area.

“Having regular access to dental care is important for maintaining good oral and overall health,” said Teri Battaglieri, director, Delta Dental Foundation. "We are very proud to recognize these five new dentists for their commitment to practice in underserved areas in their respective states and wish them the best as they begin their dental careers.”
In order to receive the award, the students must serve in the state in which they attended school and practice for at least one year in the high needs area immediately following graduation.
All five students were noted by their nominators for having solid work ethic, leadership ability, commitment to community and a strong desire to care for underserved populations.
"The unique opportunity to serve the underprivileged is important to most dental students. Unfortunately, the reality is that the significant cost of a dental education often impedes a new graduate’s ability to work in a community where the goal is to promote and preserve the health, welfare and physical well-being of residents,” said Philip Aftoora, Director of Student Services, CWRU School of Dental Medicine.
Recipient of the 2016 Patrick P. Gribben Jr. Community Commitment Award:

Chelsea Pinozek
Hometown: Escanaba, Michigan
School: University of Michigan 
Destination: Health Delivery, Inc. in Saginaw, Michigan
Recipients of the 2016 Community Commitment Awards:

Trevor G. Kay
Hometown: Clinton Township, Michigan
School: University of Detroit Mercy
Destination: Private group practice in North Branch and Caro, Michigan
Nichole Barnett
Hometown: Henderson, Kentucky
School: Indiana University
Destination: Valley Professionals Community Health Center in Cayuga, Indiana  

Jacob Venoy
Hometown: Pomeroy, Ohio
School: Ohio State University
Destination: Hopewell Health Centers, Inc. in McArthur, Ohio
Lina Torres
Hometown: Bogota, Colombia  
School: Case Western Reserve University
Destination: Destiny Dental in Cleveland, Ohio
About the Delta Dental Foundation
The Delta Dental Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization established in 1980, which serves as the philanthropic arm of Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina. The Foundation’s goals are to support education and research for the advancement of dental science and to promote the oral health of the public through education and service activities, particularly for those with special needs. For more information, visit