The French-American Foundation for Medical Research and Education (FFMRE) and David Blende, DDS, of San Francisco have awarded a $5,000 scholarship to Desy Wilson, a graduating dental student at University of the Pacific’s Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry (also located in San Francisco).

Each year, the FFMRE awards scholarships to medical school students in the San Francisco Bay Area. Blende, a member of the organization’s Board of Trustees since 1990 and a past president of the organization, wished to add a dental student scholarship to the FFMRE program, and collaborated with Samer Itani, DDS, to fully fund it.

Through his practice, the Blende Dental Group, Blende and his team provide compassionate dental care to special needs patients, often in their own homes. His goal for the 2010 FFMRE dental scholarship was to boost the career of a promising student committed to entering this challenging area of dentistry.

"I’ve been working with patients with special needs for more than 2 decades," Blende said. "These are people with physical or emotional challenges that make it difficult for them to obtain the dental care they need. We wanted to use this scholarship to support a young dentist preparing to enter this difficult, but ultimately very satisfying field."

Wilson fulfills that criteria perfectly, according to Christine Miller, associate professor and co-director of the Pacific Center for Special Care, an organization within the Dugoni School committed to improving the oral health of older adults and people with special needs.

"Desy has been self-motivated, concerned about ‘access to care,’ and talented with patients since the first day she arrived at our dental school," Miller said. "She has an outgoing personality, and she’s able to create consensus. I’m confident that in the years to come, she will take her many talents, develop expertise, and continue to serve abroad a range of community members, including those who are under-served and cannot access proper dental care."

Wilson, who is preparing to graduate this year, is hoping to specialize in working with patients who have special challenges due to serious orthodontic problems.