DPH resident honored with national public health award
July 20, 2020
The American Public Health Association’s Oral Health Section presented Salma Elwazeer, BDS, MDS, MPH, with The Anthony Westwater Jong Memorial Community Dental Health Pre-Professional Award for her abstract entitled, “Impact of social determinants of health on Human Papillomavirus vaccination among Texas teenagers”.
Dr. Elwazeer explains that throughout the nation, Texas’ population ranks among the lowest receiving human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations, while also having one of the highest minority populations.
“My research investigated the influence of social determinants of health from the larger perspective of HPV vaccination levels among teenagers in Texas,” she says. “Our findings showed that there are many structural barriers to HPV vaccinations that are not under direct control of the individuals.”
Dr. Elwazeer believes her findings emphasized the need to develop strategies that would address barriers, such as insurance status, geographical location, language, and the mother’s educational and marital status, to increase HPV vaccinations in the state of Texas.
Suman Challa, BDS, MPH, director of the dental public health program, shared his pride in Dr. Elwazeer’s achievements.
“Dr. Elwazeer has been a phenomenal resident,” he pronounces. “This well-deserving award is a testament to her proactiveness, hard work, and incredible motivation.”
Successfully completing her dental public health residency program on July 1, 2020, Dr. Elwazeer expressed her profound gratitude for the training she’s received.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to receive my dental public health training at the UT Health San Antonio,” she says. “It has been an enriching experience that has added so much to me as a public health dentist. I would like to thank Dr. Suman Challa and all the DPH faculty for their tremendous support throughout my residency.”
A trained pediatric dentist from Egypt, Dr. Elwazeer looks forward to now pursuing an academic career track.
“My passion is to continue to serve my community on the research and service levels while contributing to the preparation of a new culturally competent generation of dentists with a more inclusive mindset.”