Fall 2011: Native American Recruitment and Retention


Native American Recruitment and Retention
Guest Perspective: Tamana “Bunny” Begay, Indian Health Service
Campus Spotlight: Creighton University School of Dentistry
Educator Spotlight: Prof. Maxine Janis, Northern Arizona University 

Native American Recruitment and Retention

Dr. Eugene L. Anderson, Associate Executive Director and Director, ADEA Center for Educational Policy and Research

The numbers are startling. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are more than 140,000 practicing dentists in the United States, yet it is believed that fewer than 150 of them are American Indians, Alaska Native, or Native American. More than 50 years have passed since the graduation of the first Native American dental student, Dr. George Blue Spruce, but only in the last decade have we seen significant strides in recruiting and retaining Native American students in the dental professions.

Among the leaders in this arena is Creighton University School of Dentistry, Dr. Blue Spruce’s alma mater and our Campus Spotlight. In this edition of the Ledger, we also visit Northern Arizona University, where dental hygiene professor Maxine Janis works tirelessly to bring Native students into her profession and higher education generally. To begin, we hear from Dr. Tamana “Bunny” Begay, a dentist with the Indian Health Service in Phoenix, Arizona. She shares her personal story and her thoughts about what it takes for Native Americans to enter dental careers today.


Upcoming Events
March 17-21, 2012
2012 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition
Orlando, Florida

June 13–15, 2012
ADEA CCI Summer 2012 Meetings
Doubletree Hotel Chicago Magnificent Mile, Chicago, Illinois

Recent Accomplishments
ADEA CCI Summer 2011 Liaisons Meeting

The 2011 ADEA Commission on Change and Innovation (CCI) Liaisons Meeting, “Engaging Leaders for Change and Innovation,” was held June 27-29 in San Diego, California. This year’s meeting focused on recent “game changing” events in dental education. Some of these major changes include the revised Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) Standards for Dental Education Programs and the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE) plan to develop a single, integrated National Board Dental Examination Part I and Part II.

The purpose of the ADEA CCI Liaisons Meeting is to prepare a core group of faculty leaders to facilitate change in challenging areas such as diversity, community-based education, interprofessional education, and the development of integrated curricula. The meeting focused on the future of dental education through plenary sessions, facilitated small-group discussions, and networking sessions. Opportunities for sharing knowledge, raising questions, and offering solutions were abundant at this gathering of dental education leaders.

The three-day meeting opened with welcoming remarks from ADEA President Leo E. Rouse, followed by an introduction and overview from Dr. Eugene L. Anderson, Associate Executive Director & Director of the ADEA Center for Educational Policy and Research. Each day of the meeting was filled with engaging speakers and plenty of opportunities for networking and group collaboration. Attendees also had the chance to visit the ADEA Curriculum Resource Center (ADEA CRC) lounge, where there were live demonstrations of the web portal’s dental education resources. The ADEA CRC modules currently include dental plaque biofilm, erosion, and dentin hypersensitivity. Liaisons were encouraged to participate in informal discussions about future curriculum resource topics.

Many of the presentations are available on our website. In addition, Dr. Elise S. Eisenberg, Senior Director of Informatics at New York University College of Dentistry, has prepared a list of open courseware resources for easy reference. See the resources.