JDE Study Finds Positive Impact From Climate Studies at U.S. and Canadian Dental Schools

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Oct. 15, 2021—Climate studies in U.S. and Canadian dental schools have had a positive impact on efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion at the academic institutions that have used them, according to a new report in the Journal of Dental Education (JDE), which marks its 85th year of publication this month.

“Overall, the majority of dental schools reported that the results of their dental school climate studies had positively affected the humanistic environment, curriculum and recruitment efforts of students and faculty members in their school,” wrote the authors of the article titled The status of climate studies in the United States and Canadian dental schools: Deans’ perspectives.”

According to the article, a web-based survey in January 2020 found that 46 parent institutions (85% of the total number) and 27 dental schools (50% of the total number) had conducted climate studies in the past decade. Most parent institutions and dental schools used surveys to collect data from faculty, staff, administrators and students.

“Climate studies are a widely accepted practice at dental schools and their parent institutions,” wrote the authors. “Their results can play a vital role in shaping the climate of these academic units by fostering efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion.”

The authors of the journal article are Todd V. Ester, D.D.S., M.A., with the University of Michigan School of Dentistry; Felicia L Tucker-Lively Ph.D., M.P.H., with the Academy for Advancing Leadership (AAL); Carlos Smith, D.D.S., M.Div., with Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry; George W. Taylor, D.M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H., with the University of California, San Francisco, School of Dentistry; Tawana K. Ware, D.D.S., M.S..D, with the Indiana University School of Dentistry; and Marita R. Inglehart, Dipl. Psych., Dr. phil., Dr. phil. habil., with the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

JDE is a peer-reviewed publication of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA). The journal article comes as ADEA prepares to kick off the first dental education-wide climate assessment survey, which will collect baseline data on diversity, equity and inclusion at U.S. and Canadian dental schools and allied dental education programs. The climate studies cited in the journal article were conducted by individual schools. ADEA’s study will break new ground because it will encompass all academic dental institutions, including allied dental programs.

ADEA is urging each U.S. and Canadian dental school dean and allied dental program director to register to participate in the upcoming ADEA Climate Study. Details on how to participate can be found on the ADEA website.

About ADEA: The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) is The Voice of Dental Education. Our mission is to lead and support the health professions community in preparing future-ready oral health professionals. Our members include all 79 accredited U.S. and Canadian dental schools, more than 800 allied and advanced dental education programs, more than 50 corporations and approximately 15,000 individuals. Our activities encompass a wide range of research, advocacy, faculty development, meetings and communications, including the esteemed Journal of Dental Education®, as well as the dental school application services ADEA AADSAS®, ADEA PASS®, ADEA DHCAS® and ADEA CAAPID®