ATLANTA, Nov. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kool Smiles, a leading provider of quality dental care in underserved communities nationwide, today announced the winner of its first annual My Kool Smiles Scholarship Fund essay contest, sponsored by the Benevis Foundation. Arth Patel, a student at the University of California, Los Angeles ( UCLA) School of Dentistry, earned a $5,000 scholarship for his winning essay on how dental health contributes to the wellbeing of children and families. "I'm very excited to win the essay contest and to use the scholarship funds to further my education in dental school," said Patel. "I thank Kool Smiles for supporting me on my professional journey to reduce dental health disparities among those in need." In his essay, the UCLA dental student discussed his experience growing up in rural India where quality dental care was not available and how his family benefited from access to community-based dental healthcare programs after moving to the United States. Patel discovered his passion for dentistry while volunteering at a local community health clinic. "When a healthcare workforce provides care to the underserved, it motivates these underserved individuals, in turn, to contribute to their community and try to give back in some way," Patel wrote. "After receiving care from my community whenever I needed it, I feel obligated to volunteer and advance my community in any way possible." "We created the My Kool Smiles Scholarship Fund to support talented students who are passionate about making a difference in their communities," said Dr. Dale Mayfield, Chief Dental Officer for Kool Smiles. "The 2016 essay question reflected the idea that dental health can impact more than a child's smile. I'm proud to say that this year's winner is an excellent example of someone whose passion for service is rooted in a desire to make their community a better place." Kool Smiles is also awarding a $500 book stipend to the dental health essay contest First Runner-Up, high school student Alex Marti. To read the winning and first runner-up essays, click here. The My Kool Smiles Scholarship Fund is made possible by the generous support of the Benevis Foundation.