WITH a noble goal to improve dental healthcare in rural and disadvantaged communities, the Country Women's Association of Western Australia has awarded its annual dental scholarship to The University of WA (UWA) student Ebony Grigo.
Now in the second year of a postgraduate Doctor of Dental Medicine degree, Ms Grigo, 22, said growing up in Bunbury she had not received the same interactive learning about dentistry that her city colleagues had.
"I have seen a disparity in dental health standards between remote and rural areas compared to metropolitan areas," Ms Grigo said.
"I want to see this change.
"I also feel that regional centres such as Bunbury and Dalyellup that don't have access to fluoridated drinking water is saddening.
"These areas are far from remote and fluoridation is a simple, safe and effective means of reducing tooth decay.
"Such preventative measures are particularly important in regional areas where access to a dentist can be difficult and infrequent."
In its eighth year, the dental scholarship offers financial support to UWA students who are dedicated to improving health care and education in rural or regional areas of WA.
Ms Grigo fits into this category, with a passion for treating and educating children in the South West, Mid West and Wheatbelt regions of WA about oral hygiene.
"I am very enthusiastic about getting involved in such substantial public health matters and, once I have graduated and gained more experience, contributing to finding ways to solve them," Ms Grigo said.
The CWA Rural Dental Scholarship was established in 2012 and the recipient receives $5000 annually for the term of their full time postgraduate degree.
CWA WA president Elaine Johnson said the organisation's collaboration with UWA had been going for more than 30 years.
"Our most recent dental scholarship recipient Rani Flynn, commenced in private practice in Esperance this year," Ms Johnson said.
"We look forward to watching Ebony progress through her studies and wish her every success in fulfilling her dreams to work as a dentist in regional WA."
UWA associate professor, dean and head of the UWA Dental School Robert Anthonappa said Ms Grigo's intentions were commendable and he was confident she would do well in her future endeavours.