On July 14, we announced our Delta Dental Community Care Foundation 2020 Student Leadership Award winners. These graduating dental students exemplify our value of service, and we are proud to provide support as they embark on their careers. Ali Bounds from the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry has distinguished herself during her time in school as both a dedicated member of her community and an excellent student. She has received awards recognizing her skill in prosthodontics and restorative dentistry. We chatted with Ali to learn more about what the future holds for her and what fuels her passion for service.
What are your plans for the future?
I am joining my father-in-law in private practice at Bounds Family Dental. I hope not only to be a part of his practice but also work in the local hospital seeing special needs patients and the Good Shepherd Free Clinic in town.
Can you talk about the importance of service in your life?
I feel privileged to be a dentist, and that privilege offers me the opportunity to give back to my community. I was a part of numerous service projects that made me realize how important service is. For example, I volunteered at mission week every year while in dental school. This is a week of free dental care for people that could not otherwise afford it. I was able to do restorative work as well as extract hopeless teeth. I also volunteered at the local free clinic on the weekends, where we would extract teeth for patients in pain who could not afford to go elsewhere for care. Two years ago, our school sent about 20 students to help with the Mission of Mercy Project in Greenwood, MS. For two days we worked with the underserved from the delta to provide cleanings, fillings and extractions for those in need. I felt humbled to be able to help members of all these communities. I plan to continue to give back and come up with different and more efficient ways to help underserved Mississippians.
What does it mean to you to be recognized as a Delta Dental Student Leader?
Leadership to me includes being compassionate, listening to others, and communicating effectively with team members. I feel very honored that I was chosen for my leadership skills.
The student leadership awards are one way that we partner with academic institutions to support oral health education. We are proud to work with the dental schools across our 15-state plus Washington D.C. service area, and were honored by this sentiment expressed by David A. Felton, DDS, MS, and the Dean of the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry:
“Delta Dental continues to demonstrate excellent support of academic dental institutions, and to promote care to the underserved communities across the U.S. Particularly in these challenging times resulting from the Covid-19 shutdowns, their support has been of paramount importance to the dental community.”