Bulletin of Dental Education

New Manual Provides Strategies to Combat Faculty and Minority Shortages in Academic Dentistry

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A faculty shortage and the lack of underrepresented minority (URM) faculty place academic dentistry in the midst of a crisis. The American Dental Education Association (ADEA), supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, has identified best practices to recruit and retain URM faculty that highlight the importance of leadership, institutional climate, mentoring, and valuing diversity.

A lack of growth in the graduation of new dentists and a shift in U.S. population demographics are creating the crisis, which especially affects underserved and minority groups. Dental school faculty share the responsibility of educating the next generation of dentists; they shape and determine admissions policies and practices, curricula, and research. Ultimately, diversity among dental faculty is critical to a diverse dental workforce.

“The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has long been committed to improving oral health for vulnerable children and families,” says Alice Warner, Program Officer for the Kellogg Foundation. “ADEA’s work  to increase the underrepresented minority faculty in dental schools, as illustrated in this book, is a critical step to help address the severe oral health needs in communities of color.”

Woven into ADEA’s strategic directions and its mission is the commitment to address the dental school faculty shortage and the severe shortage of underrepresented minorities in dental school faculty. The 126-page book Growing Our Own: The ADEA Minority Faculty Development Program: A Manual For Institutional Leadership in Diversity presents diversity in three dimensions, which include compositional (demographics), cultural competency education, and institutional climate.

ADEA Minority Dental Faculty Development (ADEA MDFD) grants were awarded to six participating academic dental institutions and one consortium of dental schools over six years. The results, including deans’ personal commentaries, site visit observations, and recommendations, are now available in Growing Our Own. Collectively, the institutions represent different institutional profiles among U.S. dental schools. Their unique features will contribute to long-term outcomes, as envisioned in ADEA MDFD sustainability planning.

Participating schools were University of Alabama at Birmingham, Baylor College of Dentistry, Howard University, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Oklahoma, and the New York State Academic Dental Centers (NYSADC), which includes New York University, Columbia University, University at Buffalo, Stony Brook University, and the University of Rochester. ADEA MDFD grants were used primarily to support direct educational costs for URM dentists.

The ADEA MDFD program intends to promote health systems change that focuses on primary care, prevention, and public health by building networks and involving a variety of outreach programs. It provides the perspective that diversity be considered a value to quality academic environment for all students and promotes the inclusion of diversity across all policies and programs. Clearly defined institutional mission statements, the deans’ leadership teams, and institutional climates were sustaining factors for the six grant objectives: mentoring, academic partnerships, resource support, community outreach, tracking, and leadership.

Order Growing Our Own online or call 202-289-7201.

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