UW News

November 1, 2007

Dental student receives Tanaka Humanitarian Award

By Dana Robinson Slote
School of Dentistry

Rosana Bishai, UW School of Dentistry student, has been selected as the 2007 Academy of Dentistry International Terry T. Tanaka Student Humanitarian Award winner.

Bishai’s receipt of this award represents the first time that a UW student has been chosen as the winner. The award was created to recognize volunteer services by “rising” fourth-year dental students who have served in a foreign country or a local area during their previous three years as a dental student. The student is required to have rendered dental services, taught dental personnel, or assisted in training some local personnel to perform emergency treatments.

Throughout the course of her academic career, Bishai has been actively involved locally and regionally with programs serving populations who have limited access to care. For the last three years she has volunteered with Husky Smiles, a program in which dental students visit local community centers and schools to distribute toothbrushes, and to provide oral hygiene instruction and fluoride treatments. She is also involved with Longview Community Dental Clinic. Since 2002, Bishai and other dental students have traveled for quarterly, day-long visits to Kaiser Permanente clinic to provide dental care to Department of Social and Health Services patients. She serves as site and service coordinator for each program, which focus on treating low-income patients. Bishai also volunteers with the Smile Power Foundation, which enabled her to travel to Bolivia to perform extractions and restorative work on children ages 3 to18; the School’s Rural Underserved Outreach Program (RUOP) which provides oral hygiene instruction, observation and sealants on children; and the 45th Street Clinic where she and other students treat homeless teens and adults. Bishai completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology at the UW in June 2004. In addition to leading an active life as a dental student, Bishai is also a member of the Cascade League, the UW’s intramural basketball league, and speaks fluent Arabic.

Dr. Terry Tanaka presented the award and a $500 check to Bishai during the academy’s U.S. convocation in San Francisco on Sept. 26.