Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry Student Wins Scholarship from French-American Foundation for Medical Research

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 Research News
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Prestigious award funded by Dr. David Blende and Dr. Samer Itani of San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, June 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The French-American Foundation for Medical Research and Education (FFMRE) and Dr.

David Blende of San Francisco have collaborated to award a $5,000 scholarship to Ms. Desy Wilson, a graduating dental student at University of the Pacific's Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, also located in San Francisco.

The scholarship was officially announced during the FFMRE Awards Dinner at San Francisco's Cercle de L'Union on May 5, 2010.

Each year, the FFMRE awards scholarships to deserving medical school students in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. 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 Dr. Samer Itani to fully fund it.

Through his practice, the Blende Dental Group, Dr. 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 two decades," Dr. 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."

Desy Wilson fulfills that criteria perfectly, according to Christine Miller, Associate Professor and co-directs 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," said Ms. Miller. "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 range of community members, including those who are under-served and cannot access proper dental care."

Ms. 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.

By adding a dental scholarship to the FFMRE Medical Scholarship program, Dr. Blende and Dr. Itani are also determined to highlight the growing understanding throughout the medical world that dental health and overall physical health are very intimately linked.

This is a goal with which Dr. Roland Barakett, the FFMRE's current president, agrees.

"Our Board of Directors recognizes the importance of rewarding medical and dental students equally," Dr. Barakett said, "because good dental care influences people's overall well-being. There's an important interaction between the two disciplines."

About the FFMRE

The French-American Foundation for Medical Research and Education was founded in 1962 by a group of physicians of the former French Hospital and civic leaders of the French Community in San Francisco. Its goal is to support research and education for the benefit, health, and well-being of all people, through scholarships and start-up research grants. For more information, please contact Tanya Mulligan at (415) 263-0907 or

About the Blende Dental Group

Dr. David Blende is a graduate of the University of Southern California with more than 20 years experience providing comprehensive dental care in both hospitals and private practice. He is the founder of the Blende Dental Group.  Bay Area House Call Dentists, a division of that practice, brings dental care to patients with complex needs in their own homes. In addition to his work with FFMRE, Dr. Blende is the former Chairman of the California Dental Association's Council on Scientific Affairs and Research. He is the Chief of the Division of Dentistry at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco hospital and is Chief of the Dental Division at California Pacific Medical Center Hospital.

Dr. Samer Itani has worked in conjunction with the Blende Dental Group for several years treating patients who suffer from anxiety and phobia related to dentistry as well as patients who are physically or medically challenged.  Dr. Itani focuses on restorative implant dentistry and full-mouth restorative solutions.  He is a fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, Vice Chief of the Division of Dentistry at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco hospital, and holds active medical staff privileges at 8 hospitals in the Bay Area.

For more information about Dr. Blende, Dr. Itani, the Blende Dental Group or Bay Area House Call Dentists, please visit or, or (415) 563-4261.

SOURCE Blende Dental Group


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