An Edmonds dentist who has been working to break the cycle of poverty for woman and children in Tanzania has received the 2020 American Dental Association (ADA) Humanitarian Award.
Loree Bolin, D.D.S., will be honored at the dental association’s FDC Virtual Connect Conference, a joint meeting of the ADA and the Florida Dental Association this week.
Bolin is the founder of the Health & Hope Foundation, which provides health care, education and economic opportunity to Tanzanian women and children. Prior to founding the Health & Hope Foundation in 2014, she worked in private practice family dentistry, providing her with a groundwork of skills to provide aid internationally – and eventually start her own foundation.
“Dentistry gave me skills and opportunity to provide care and help lift up ultra-poor families in the developing world,” Bolin said. “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.”
The Health & Hope Foundation extends to ensure that children, especially girls, are able to get an education. To do this, the foundation opened the Tumaini Tutor School, which provides free tutored instruction six days per week. To further support women, Bolin established the Women’s Business Program to offer business training and mentorship in product selection, hygiene, marketing and customer service and savings.
First established in 2008, the ADA Humanitarian Award annually honors an ADA member for creating a legacy of volunteer works, and is one of the ADA’s highest honors. Criteria for the Humanitarian Award include significantly improving the quality of life and oral health, demonstrating significant leadership and serving as an inspiration to others both in the dental profession 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 President Chad P. Gehani, D.D.S. “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.”
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. A 10-time Ironman triathlete, she competes and lives by these three mantras and credits them as she moves forward in service: “Strength. Power. Focus. Go.” “Smooth as silk, tough as nails.” and “YES, we can do this!”
For more information about the Health & Hope Foundation, visit HealthandHopeFoundation.org.