VCU School of Dentistry Doctoral Student Receives School Health Scholarship

Catherine Christensen, a dental surgery doctoral candidate in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry, has been awarded a scholarship by the American School Health Association.  

Recognized this month at the association’s annual conference in Louisville, Ky., Christensen says she is especially passionate about the importance of educating children and adults about the benefits of good dental hygiene habits. During her time at VCU, she plans to focus on building long-lasting patient-doctor relationships.

“As a dentist, I hope to begin my career in an underserved area or school health program,” said Christensen. “Learning how to take care of oneself can be empowering and will give students independence to care for themselves.”

Christensen is currently co-president of Virginia Tech’s Operation Smile Club. She has completed more than 230 service hours and participated in several Mission of Mercy projects coordinated by the Virginia Dental Health Foundation. She also volunteers her skills at the Free Clinic at New River Valley in Christiansburg.

“Catherine treats every patient with the utmost respect and dignity, and she is always eager to offer her assistance in the operatories, labs or front desk,” said Alisha Caldwell, a dental assistant at the Free Clinic at New River Valley. “She has the heart, discipline and intelligence to succeed in dental school and as a practicing dental professional.”

Through scholarships, the American School Health Association provides financial assistance to students whose academic and professional goals include the health of youth. The association annually awards three $500 scholarships, one each to students in school health education, school nursing and pediatric/adolescent medicine or dentistry.

In addition to the financial award, the American School Health Association provides complimentary benefits including one-year membership and registration to the organization’s Annual School Health Conference.