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Tovar wins HDA national award

Carly Tovar (middle)Fourth-year dental student Carly Tovar was one of only three students nationwide to receive the Colgate-Palmolive/Hispanic Dental Association Student Recognition Award for 2010. She was recognized Oct. 30 at the HDA’s gala award dinner during the association’s annual meeting in Chicago.

The award recognizes graduating students who are HDA members and who demonstrate a special interest in community dentistry and dental public health issues related to the promotion and improvement of oral health in the Hispanic community. Tovar received a plaque, a cash award of $500, travel and registration funds of $200 and a complimentary HDA membership for 2011.

Dr. Grace Snuggs, assistant professor of restorative sciences at Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry and faculty adviser to the college’s Hispanic Student Dental Association, nominated Tovar for the award. She cited her dedication and service as a role model, her desire to improve awareness of the oral health needs of Hispanics among Texas communities and her interest in organized dentistry by reinforcing connections between the college’s student HDA chapter and the professional organization.

“Carly understands the need for more Hispanic role models in the health care profession and embraces this as her own responsibility,” Snuggs said. “As a member of HSDA, Carly has shown great care and interest for the Hispanic community and their needs.”

Tovar has held HSDA officer positions as president and professional development chair. She is currently a student ambassador representing TAMHSC-BCD for the American Dental Association at the annual meetings to work toward improving minority involvement. She also is involved in community activities such as Tooth Talks, Give Kids A Smile and career day events with local dentists. Last summer, she traveled to El Paso, Texas, to volunteer at community clinics.