Moving Dentistry Forward
New Resource Launched to Increase Diversity in Dentistry
The Wolverine Dental Society is one of six dental organizations that came together this year to create online resources to encourage a dental career among students in under-represented communities. The Michigan Diverse Dental Alliance includes Wolverine, the Hispanic Dental Association, the Society of American Indian Dentists, the Student National Dental Association, the American Association of Women Dentists, and the Michigan Dental Association. There was also helpful participation among informal ethnic communities as well as Michigan’s two dental schools. The website and related videos – one featuring WDS former president Dr. Ron Livingston – can be seen at www.midiversedentalalliance.org.
Promotion to schools, guidance counselors, and students will begin in earnest after January 1. Next up for the Alliance is scheduling panel presentations to be offered live on Zoom to highlight the dental careers, featuring diverse dentists, dental assistants, and dental hygienists. Recording the live programs will allow the Alliance to feature the video on the website so that students and parents may watch the program online at their own convenience. In addition to hearing about dentistry, it’s important to help students connect with dentists so they can learn more about the dental profession in real life, so the Alliance will be seeking dentists across the state who are interested in participating in a shadowing program. Anyone who would like to get involved in these new initiatives should contact Brandy Ryan at the MDA, who staffs the MDA Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, at email@example.com.
The Alliance members are also committed to reducing financial barriers to a dental career, and have established a Diversity & Inclusion Dental Fund through the MDA Foundation. The Fund has already given $24,000 in grants for this effort. The University of Michigan’s Profile for Success program and Detroit Mercy’s Summer Enrichment Program have each received two, $6,000 grants to help pay for the participants test preparation and DAT test costs. Grants are used specifically to assist and expand the availability of the programs to students from Michigan’s under-represented communities. Wolverine members are encouraged to make a donation to support the fund at foundation.michigandental.org.