Importance of diversity

Ensuring a diverse dental workforce is critical to the success of the profession. When dentists are men and women from all types of backgrounds, races and ethnicities, it makes the care the profession provides better for everyone.

Actively encourage minorities with an interest in dentistry to apply to dental school. Remind them of the rewards of being part of a great profession and efforts to eliminate health care disparities. 

When discussing diversity in dentistry, ethnicity, race, gender and sexual orientation are only a few factors dental schools consider. In recent years there have been more people applying to dental school later in life, sometimes after pursuing another career, starting a family or just waiting a few years. We categorize these as nontraditional students and they generally reside within three categories:

  • Career changers: A person who has pursued a career other than dentistry and then decides to pursue a career in dentistry instead. Career changers make this decision later in life and some have been out of school for many years working in another profession before they realize that dentistry is their true calling.

  • International students: An native of a foreign country that is in the process of completing or has completed their undergraduate education in the U.S. or another country that wishes to attend dental school in the United States or Canada on a student visa.

  • Gap year students: A span of time between the end of undergraduate education and the beginning of dental school. It can be longer than a year depending on your circumstances.