Bulletin of Dental Education

East Carolina University SDM Names Inaugural Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

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Wanda Wright, RN, D.D.S., M.S., M.S.D.
Courtesy of ECU SoDM

Wanda Wright, RN, D.D.S., M.S., M.S.D., has been named the inaugural Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine (ECU SoDM).

Dr. Wright, who has been with the school since 2015, is also Assistant Professor and Division Director of Dental Public Health. In her additional role, she will oversee and coordinate all diversity, equity and inclusion-related initiatives and programming for ECU SoDM. She will serve as a member of the school’s senior leadership team and will contribute to the recruitment, retention and success of underrepresented faculty, staff, students and residents.

“Those of us who have the pleasure of working and serving alongside Dr. Wright understand just how passionate she is about changing the world, starting right here in eastern North Carolina,” says D. Gregory Chadwick, D.D.S., M.S., Dean of ECU SoDM. “We are fortunate to have her unique blend of experience and expertise carrying us forward in our commitment to diversity that spans our entire school.” 

The creation of this position reiterates ECU SoDM’s commitment to its mission that emphasizes equity and diversity as core characteristics. The role re-envisions the school’s dedication to fostering an inclusive environment for every person who enters its clinics, classrooms and facilities across the state.

“I am excited to lead the diversity initiatives at the school of dental medicine,” Dr. Wright says. “I hope to develop a culture where diversity, equity and inclusion isn’t seen as a separate goal but central to everything we do at ECU. I am extremely honored and excited to take on this important new role, which is critical to ensuring the continued strengths of the ECU SoDM community, as well as to the school’s ongoing leadership in community-based dental education.”

Dr. Wright’s priorities include identifying funding to develop and support diversity initiatives; designing and implementing strategies for improving recruitment and retention of students, faculty and staff from historically underrepresented groups; and developing and initiating programming for faculty, staff and students related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Dr. Wright is the principal investigator for several current grant awards focused on improving oral health care and access for countless under-resourced patients and opening doors to dental education for promising and service-minded students. She is project director for two HRSA grants totaling more than $5.6 million over nine years to provide Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students.

Dr. Wright helps facilitate the ECU Poverty Simulation Exercise, an annual event for health sciences students and residents that allows them to better understand how poverty impacts patients’ lives at every level.

She also serves on the ECU SoDM Research and Scholarship Committee and the Women and Gender Advisory Council and has served on the Chancellor’s Diversity Leadership Cabinet.

Dr. Wright earned her D.D.S. from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry; an M.S. in Health Services Administration from D’Youville College; an M.S.D. in Dentistry, Dental Public Health and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Dental Public Health from Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine; and a Certificate of Clinical Investigation from Tufts University.

Courtesy of Spaine Stephens, Public Communication Specialist, ECU Division of Health Sciences

Published on March 10, 2021

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