Dental student Kierra Dages named Community Builder of the Year for ASDA District 7

The national award recognizes members across the country who dedicate themselves to serving others through community service and dental outreach.
Dental student Kierra Dages named Community Builder of the Year for ASDA District 7

Kierra Dages

University of Louisville dental student Kierra Dages is one of 11 students nationwide honored with the 2023 Community Builder of the Year Award by the American Student Dental Association (ASDA). ASDA is a national student-run organization that protects and advances the rights, interests, and welfare of dental students. The organization introduced the Community Builder award in 2023 to demonstrate the importance of serving communities and helping those in need as part of becoming a future dentist.

Dages is a second-year DMD student from Hebron, Kentucky. She completed a bachelor’s degree in Public Health at the University of Louisville in 2019.

She says her background in public health gives her a holistic approach to dentistry and patient care. “I've always had the approach of looking at the bigger picture and systemic health,” she says. Therefore, she believes that she and other dental professionals should “always remind ourselves … that we're not just working on the mouth and we're not just focusing on oral health, but on overall health.”

As Dages progresses through dental school, she will have the opportunity to serve patients at the School of Dentistry’s on-site clinics and at externship sites around the state. Dages says she looks forward to serving a diverse group of patients. “It really prepares you to be able to adapt and think critically and be able to work around issues that you're going to see out in everyday practice,” she says.

During her time at the University of Louisville, Dages has also connected with the community through volunteering with charitable organizations. In particular, she is active in Grow502, an organization founded by UofL School of Medicine student Onu Udoh in 2020 with the goal of reducing health disparities in underserved communities across Louisville.

For example, Dages says just one Grow502 event touched many lives. “We were able to provide dental care, wound care, vaccinations, hot meals, clothing, and showers to the unhoused population in Louisville. This event went over so well, the next clinic is already in the making.”

Dages points out that getting involved in community outreach more than a way to serve others. It is also a good way to navigate a challenging four-year program successfully. “Dental school gets overwhelming and stressful at times, but getting involved is a great way to stay connected and create that support system you're going to need.”

February 6, 2023