ADEA Names Sonya Gyjuan Smith, Ed.D., J.D., Senior Vice President for Access, Diversity and Inclusion

(27 Nov. 2017, Washington, DC) The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) has named Sonya Gyjuan Smith, Ed.D., J.D., Senior Vice President for Access, Diversity and Inclusion (SVP ADI). Dr. Smith joins the ADEA leadership team with a rich background in academic affairs, equity and inclusion. She most recently served as Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. In her new role, Dr. Smith will provide strategic vision for ADEA’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. 

“Dr. Sonya Gyjuan Smith has worked tirelessly throughout her career to improve recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty, staff and students. She has led programs addressing multiple aspects of diversity and inclusion including recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty and students, implementation of holistic admissions, assessment of campus environment, infusion of cultural competency into curricula, and promoting community engagement.” says Richard W. Valachovic, D.M.D., M.P.H., ADEA President and CEO. “ADEA’s inclusion and diversity efforts such as the Summer Health Professions Education Program, Student Diversity Leadership Program, Holistic Admissions Review Workshops, the ADEA Diversity Workshop and many other efforts are central to our work and the future of academic dentistry, and we look forward to Dr. Gyjuan Smith’s efforts to extend and broaden our impact.”

During Dr. Gyjuan Smith’s tenure at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, she worked collaboratively with deans and academic and faculty affairs staff to advance diversity, learning, and the planning and evaluation of academic and student programs, services and opportunities. 

Previously, in her role as Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Dr. Gyjuan Smith implemented recruitment and retention best practices for underrepresented students and developed outreach programs to improve academic readiness. She also oversaw the ADEA/AAMC Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP, now Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP)) at Nebraska. 

Her research is in the areas of public health law and the linkages among social policies, educational inequities, poverty, residential segregation and law and policies impacting health disparities. Dr. Gyjuan Smith graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a B.S. in History and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. She received her J.D. and Ed.D. degrees from Vanderbilt University. 

About ADEA:
The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) is The Voice of Dental Education. Our mission is to lead institutions and individuals in the dental education community to address contemporary issues influencing education, research and the delivery of oral health care for the overall health and safety of the public. Our members include all 78 U.S. and Canadian dental schools, more than 800 allied and advanced dental education programs, more than 50 corporations and approximately 18,000 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®