Statement of ADEA Policy on Diversity and Inclusion

The need for such a statement:

  1. To facilitate communication of the ADEA Principles of Diversity and Inclusion through a common language.
  2. To lend support to ADEA’s mission, policies and programs that promote diversity and inclusion throughout dental, allied dental and advanced dental education.
  3. To meet the current and expanded role of ADEA in promoting diversity and inclusion now and in the future.

Diversity and inclusion are critical components of success in a global context and in an ever-changing world. ADEA, in its leadership role, will constantly strive to be a model of diversity and inclusion. ADEA’s ability to promote effective inclusion practices is necessary to fulfill our mission and to the quality of the dental education system. ADEA’s Board of Directors, faculty, staff, students and members, therefore, must resemble the diversity that is so proudly reflected in the citizenry of our nation.

ADEA’s value of diversity is embedded in respect and appreciation of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, age, religion or religious creed, disability or handicap, sex or gender, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, genetic information and perspectives of each individual. To be inclusive is to collectively utilize the unique talents and perspectives from the diverse array of individuals that constitute the dental education community and its partners. Thus, ADEA believes that the number of graduates of dental and allied dental programs should reflect their representation in the population and the communities in which they will serve. Recruitment, retention and graduation of practitioners from diverse groups are goals that are important for the public’s health. ADEA is committed to developing and sustaining institutional environments within the dental education community that are inclusive and supportive of all diverse groups of students, faculty, employees and patients. Dental education can show leadership in the following ways:

  • Continued effort to gain visibility for dentistry/dental education where the mission of diversity and inclusion can be advanced in an interprofessional healthcare environment
  • Sponsorship for faculty training and best practices in the creation of an inclusive supportive environment.
  • Faculty and staff recruitment must visibly announce the institution’s nondiscrimination policy.
  • Benefit plans should include benefits that allow same-sex partners to participate in all benefits available to spouses and dependents.
  • Become recognized as visible partners in the community to foster visibility, engagement, and support.
  • Enact student support systems to fully support LGBTQ students during their education.
  • Create an accessible structure for counseling and mental health support for students for all aspects of their gender and sexuality.
  • Support ongoing conversation for students who may request help in deciding whether or not to become visible in the postgraduate applications and other academic milestones.
  • Support for transgender students who may have medical needs because of transitioning and who may wish to change “gender” on their records.
  • Include curriculum time devoted to diversity education, including time to teach about the needs of the LGBTQ communities, unique cultural characteristics and challenges they face in the community. This may include programs like Safe Zone training to facilitate sensitivity, understanding, acceptance and cultural competency.
  • Provide a clinical environment that supports LGBTQ patients by being open, accepting and culturally competent to manage unique needs.
  • Engage members of the community to evaluate success in meeting the needs of patients.

Diversity within dental education plays a critical role in the professional development of a culturally competent dental workforce for the future. Additionally, ADEA’s ability to advocate for effective inclusion practices throughout dental education positions our members to be of value to the increasingly diverse system of higher education in the United States and to the oral health imperative of the nation.

ADEA strongly endorses the continuous use of practices that achieve excellence through diversity and inclusion.

Adopted by the 2006 ADEA House of Delegates, September 29, 2006. Revised and adopted by the 2016 ADEA House of Delegates, March 15, 2016.