Bulletin of Dental Education

Program Highlight: Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry

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Cherae Farmer-Dixon, D.D.S., M.S.P.H.

The Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry (Meharry SOD) stands as a beacon of commitment to its illustrious heritage while spearheading the advancement of global oral health and health care excellence. Rooted in transformative education, collaborative models, compassionate care and innovative research, it endeavors to enhance both oral and overall health on a global scale.

Each year, the school receives nearly 3,000 applications and warmly welcomes approximately 75 undergraduate dental students along with 10 international dental students. With a comprehensive array of offerings, including distinguished graduate programs in oral maxillofacial surgery and general practice residency, Meharry SOD remains at the forefront of dental education. While continually evolving to integrate the latest advancements, the school maintains its foundational ethos: all first-year students engage in basic sciences coursework through Meharry Medical College School of Medicine classes, fostering interdisciplinary discourse and knowledge exchange for well over a century.

At Meharry SOD, every student is entrusted with the profound responsibility of perpetuating and enriching its esteemed legacy. The campus environment fosters a culture of support and encouragement, providing abundant opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Guiding the institution with unwavering dedication is the esteemed Dean Cherae Farmer-Dixon, D.D.S., M.S.P.H., who embodies principles of resilience and excellence. Dean Farmer-Dixon is a fervent advocate for initiatives aimed at advancing the school’s mission, such as the forthcoming renovation of the first floor, funded by a generous $2 million grant from the Center for Research and Education in Technology. This transformative project will furnish dental students with cutting-edge resources, including state-of-the-art 3D printers and lasers, while also establishing a much-needed clinic for people with disabilities.

In a broader context, Meharry SOD plays a pivotal role in addressing disparities within the dental profession. With only approximately 8,000 Black dentists in the United Sates, a remarkable 27% of whom are Meharry alumni, the school’s graduates often serve in underserved communities where the demand for oral health services is critical. Unfortunately, minority and underserved populations disproportionately bear the burden of oral diseases due to barriers to access and a lack of diversity within the dental workforce.

Twice annually, Meharry SOD extends its impact beyond campus borders by hosting Oral Health Days, which offers free dental care to individuals in Nashville, TN, and surrounding areas. This biannual event, held in spring and fall, provides crucial services such as cleanings and extractions to promote oral health and ensure community members are receiving the oral health care they need, thus contributing to their overall well-being. Through such outreach efforts, Meharry SOD reaffirms its commitment to service and its dedication to advancing oral health equity for all.

Meharry SOD persistently champions transformative dental education, health care and research endeavors. Through its enduring commitment to excellence, inclusivity and innovation, the institution steadfastly shapes the trajectory of dentistry, embodying a beacon of hope and healing for diverse communities globally.

Courtesy of Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry

Published on May 8, 2024

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