Univerity At Buffalo – UB Now: UB Accepts First Class to Pipeline Program Designed to Increase Diversity in Dentistry
COVID-19 UPDATES • 06/21/2021
The School of Dentistry welcomed the first cohort of 24 students to the Destination Dental School program, a new initiative that aims to remove barriers to careers in dentistry for under-represented students.
The free, eight-week program, open to under-represented undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students nationwide, has drawn participants from 14 states, from New York to Florida to California.
Destination Dental School will provide participants with an understanding of the daily life of a dentist and dental student, help them strengthen their applications in dental school and develop their skills as researchers.
By increasing the number of under-represented students in dental schools, the program will help address the shortage of dentists of color. Latin Americans, African Americans, and Native Americans make up about 5%, 4%, and 1% of dentists, respectively, although they make up a higher percentage of the American population, according to the American Dental Health Policy Institute. Association.
Pipeline programs, however, have proven to be an effective solution, increasing the number of under-represented students in dental schools by 54%, according to a report from the Journal of the American Dental Association.
“The racial and ethnic diversity of the oral health workforce remains worryingly insufficient to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population in the United States,” said program director Wendell Carmona, volunteer adjunct professor at the School of Dental Medicine and General Clinical Director of Aspen Dental in Niagara Falls.
“Dental school appearing as an unachievable goal and limited exposure to the field of dentistry are two barriers that have contributed to this lack of representation,” he said. “Destination Dental School proudly and effectively tackles these obstacles and is an exceptional introduction to dentistry that sparks and nurtures our students’ interest in the field. Our students are educated by dental professionals like them, showing that what is not beyond their reach. “
Held virtually from June 5 to July 31, the program will provide hands-on simulations that teach dental anatomy and the process of creating fillings and taking impressions; presentations that explore the various disciplines of dentistry; networking opportunities with local leaders in dentistry; and dental school application assistance which includes weekly counseling from over 30 UB faculty, staff, students and alumni, as well as preparation for the dental admission test – a standardized exam required for entry to dental school.
Students will also complete a comprehensive research project that can address a range of topics, including disparities in dental care, the long-term impact of veneers on young patients with healthy teeth, and the comparison of the effectiveness of dental care. ‘Invisalign with traditional orthodontic treatment.
The program will cover the cost of the dental admission test, and participants who apply to the UB School of Dental Medicine will receive an application fee waiver.
“I applied to Destination Dental School because I saw support for minorities in dentistry. I felt this was going to be my support system and the program would help me become a competitive candidate,” said said Jasmine Gray, program participant. “I want to help those who don’t feel safe with their smile. I’ve learned that unwavering confidence in yourself and your appearance can help you make your wildest dreams come true.”
Destination Dental School is sponsored by the family of former UB student and former faculty member Philip Galeota, and Aspen Dental. Supplies and resources were provided by Evolution Dental, Henry Schein, Ivoclar Vivadent and Kaplan.
“Supporting Destination Dental School provided a perfect way to express our father’s gratitude for the educational support and access he received as a WWII veteran through the GI Bill – and to honor his express wish that part of her estate be devoted to opening up such opportunities to black and underrepresented minority dental students, ”said children of Philip and Catherine Galeota – Monica G. Hamill, Philip Galeota, Cynthia Galeota and Sandra Galeota-Long – in a statement.
This press release was produced by University of Buffalo – UB Now. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.