Dr. Richard W. Valachovic, ADEA executive director, highlighted ADEA’s progress in the development of a collaborative infrastructure for diversity in dental education for the ADEA leadership group on January 27. ADEA’s Strategic Direction #3 is meeting the oral health care needs of a diverse population. Of note is the recently developed Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP), a national program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by the Association of American Medical colleges and ADEA.
Dr. Valachovic described ADEA’s efforts to increase the numbers of students in the pipeline for dental school, acknowledging the leadership of Dr. Jeanne Sinkford, ADEA’s associate executive director and director of the Center for Equity and Diversity, who sat on the Sullivan Commission on Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce when it released its report, Missing Persons: Minorities in the Health Professions in September 2004. Valachovic pointed to ADEA’s acquisition of $22 million in grants since 1998 and six national conferences on minority recruitment and retention since 1993—with another planned for December 2006.
He cited as milestones that:minority enrollment in U. S. dental schools has risen to 12%,nearly 11% of all full-time faculty are underrepresented minorities, andeach dental school in the U. S. has a minority or diversity administrator as a part of its staff.
While ADEA has seen success in diversity and pipeline issues, “Much more needs to be done,” said Valachovic. “ADEA remains committed to increasing minority student enrollment, increasing the development of underrepresented minority faculty, enhancing the cultural competency of the curriculum, and increasing the leadership of minorities in dental education."