Loree Bolin, DDS, of Edmonds, Washington, is the recipient of the 2020 ADA Humanitarian Award. Each year, the ADA said, the award honors a member for improving the quality of life and oral health of individuals in the United States and internationally over a period of 10 years or more.
Bolin is the founder of the Health & Hope Foundation, which aims to break the cycle of poverty for women and children in Tanzania by providing healthcare, education, and economic opportunity.
Prior to founding the Health & Hope Foundation in 2014, Bolin worked in private practice family dentistry, providing her with a groundwork of skills to provide aid internationally and eventually start her own foundation, the ADA said.
“Dentistry gave me skills and opportunity to provide care and help lift up ultra-poor families in the developing world,” said Bolin.
“Serving as an international volunteer dentist beginning in 2007, I discovered that women and vulnerable, often orphaned, children are at the greatest risk. It seemed that the care I was delivering was merely scratching the surface and not addressing many of the underlying problems that placed this population at risk,” said Bolin.
The Health & Hope Foundation works to ensure that children, especially girls, are able to get an education. It opened the Tumaini Tutor School, which provides free tutored instruction six days a week. Bolin also established the Women’s Business Program to offer business training and mentorship in product selection, hygiene, marketing, and customer service and savings.
Launched in 2008, the ADA Humanitarian Award annually honors an ADA member for creating a legacy of volunteer works and is one of the organization’s highest honors, the ADA said. Criteria include significantly improving quality of life and oral health, demonstrating significant leadership, and serving as an inspiration to others both in dentistry and the general population.
“I was impressed not only for her international volunteerism, but also by her Health & Hope Foundation, which has helped countless people around the world and served as an inspiration to dentists and staff,” said ADA immediate past president Chad P. Gehani, DDS.
“I am glad our member dentists will now get a chance to learn more about her work and perhaps even aspire to follow in her footsteps. Dr. Bolin is a shining testament to the gift that dentistry provides in her promotion of not only oral health but also overall health,” said Gehani.
The ADA Humanitarian Award includes a $10,000 donation to the Health & Hope Foundation. In addition to Tanzania, Bolin has served as a volunteer dentist in the Philippines, Honduras, Haiti, Uganda, and Nepal.