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ADEA Access, Diversity and Inclusion — January 2014

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The ADEA Access, Diversity and Inclusion (ADEA ADI) portfolio is pleased to announce the launching of a new program: the ADEA Student Diversity Leadership Program, which will take place at the 2014 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition in San Antonio, TX, March 15–18, 2014.

The new ADEA Student Diversity Leadership Program will create opportunities for students to learn from colleagues and experienced professionals of varying identities and backgrounds to foster successful leadership development and ultimately effective practice in a diverse society. The two-hour leadership development program will help students identify appropriate professional mentors, navigate campus politics and professional environments and develop skills at managing cultural identity in the context of the larger institution.

In 2012, the American Dental Association (ADA) made the decision to close their Career Guidance Department. With that closure, the ADA Student Ambassador Program was also discontinued as of December 2012. There will no longer be a diversity student development meeting at the ADA Annual Session as in past years.

The ADEA Board of Directors approved a proposal in 2013 for ADEA to assume and enhance the activities that had previously been undertaken by the ADA. Since that time, ADEA staff have been engaged in a rigorous planning process to adapt and retool the ADA Student Ambassador Program. The new program, the ADEA Student Diversity Leadership Program, was created in collaboration with the National Dental Association (NDA), Hispanic Dental Association (HDA) and Society of American Indian Dentists (SAID) and their composite student chapters.

During the summer months, ADEA ADI partnered with professional dental organizations to conduct a series of town hall discussions. From those discussions, ADEA ADI learned how best to adapt and retool the ADA Student Ambassador Program into the ADEA ADI leadership development portfolio. The town hall meetings provided students and professionals an opportunity to work together and share experiences and resources for educational and professional growth.

The town hall meetings, which also served as a forum for program development, focused on addressing challenges affecting marginalized students in higher education, developing effective mentorship opportunities for students of color, exploring leadership development and enhancing inclusive professional practice. The outcome of this shared effort resulted in the new ADEA program.

The inaugural ADEA Student Diversity Leadership Program is scheduled for Saturday, March 15, 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. at the 2014 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition in San Antonio, TX.