Bulletin of Dental Education

ADEA Releases Dentists of Tomorrow 2023: Research on U.S. Graduating Predoctoral Students

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AdobeStock_609966109_500 px wThe 2022-23 academic year was a year of hope, with the COVID-19 pandemic lessening its effect and the federal government ending the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. A new generation of dentists graduated from 66 accredited U.S. dental schools in the 2022-23 academic year. U.S. dental schools stood steady in their mission to train and educate oral health professionals and provide oral health care through their clinics to local communities. 

In October 2023, ADEA released new research on the journey of U.S. dental schools’ predoctoral senior class of 2023, from its influences and motivations to pursue careers in dentistry and the graduating students’ perceptions of their dental school experience to their plans upon graduation and the investment in their careers. This research reports findings from data collected through the ADEA Survey of U.S. Dental School Seniors, Class of 2023 (henceforth called “the ADEA 2023 survey”) and for comparison reasons, the ADEA Survey of U.S. Dental School Seniors, Class of 2018.

As in the previous two editions, the Dentists of Tomorrow 2023 analysis compared the response distribution of the overall response sample with the response distribution of historically underrepresented race and ethnicity (HURE) predoctoral senior students. This allows a better understanding of the HURE student journey and difference from the overall respondents.

For the first time, this annual analysis examines the preferences and plans of senior students in pursuing a career in oral health research. It investigates the students’ experience with research activities during their predoctoral dental program, for the entire response group and specifically for the HURE survey participants. Further, it analyzes the timing for a planned career in oral health research.  

Timing of Engaging in Research Activities, Total and HURE Respondents Stating Interest in Being Involved in Research During Their Career, 2018 and 2023 

Dentists of Tomorrow 2023 HURE Chart   
Notes: The number of respondents to this question was 589 total and 117 for HURE students in 2023, and 784 total and 128 for HURE students in 2018.

The historically underrepresented race and ethnicity (HURE) groups include the following four race and ethnicity categories, based on the underrepresentation of professionally active dentists relative to the U.S. population in that race/ethnicity category: non-Hispanic African American, Hispanic or Latino of all races, non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native and non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.

Source: American Dental Education Association Survey of Dental School Seniors, Classes of 2018 and 2023.

This new ADEA release tells the story of the U.S. dental schools’ predoctoral senior class of 2023 with the help of a number of different products. Browse the findings and the research products that are part of this release at ADEA.org/Seniors2023.

ADEA members can also access the summary report on the ADEA website at ADEA.org/Seniors2023. The summary report is available for download and print, and the charts are also available in an interactive format as an online storyboard. Beyond the interactive visual charts, members can download the data behind the interactive graphs.

ADEA encourages members to access a longer version of this analysis in the November issue of the Journal of Dental Education. The individualized school results are released only upon receiving a request from the dental school’s dean at adeadata@adea.org.

We will launch the 2024 ADEA Survey of U.S. Dental School Seniors in early January 2024 to give as many schools as possible the opportunity to distribute the survey to their graduating seniors. We hope you will encourage your senior students to complete the survey and provide important information for the future of dental education. If you have questions regarding this research, please contact Emilia Istrate, Ph.D., MAIS, ADEA Senior Vice President of Policy and Education Research, at adeadata@adea.org.

Published on November 8, 2023

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