Tomorrow’s Dentists - Creating a diverse workforce of dentists who understand the oral healthcare needs of patients from underserved populations is very important to the School of Dental Medicine, and it is crucial for the people of North Carolina.
The American Dental Education Association, in partnership with the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, recently introduced the Dental Pipeline National Learning Institute to increase recruitment and retention within underserved communities.
Our school was selected by the Institute to implement a recruitment and retention campaign. So, we teamed up with North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and the Old North State Dental Society on a project to increase the number of underrepresented North Carolinians considering dentistry as a career and applying to dental school.
In 2013, our partnership established Tomorrow’s Dentists, a program held at the School of Dental Medicine where 37 underrepresented, rural and disadvantaged students interested in dentistry were given an opportunity to advance their understanding of dental school and the dental profession.
School of Dental Medicine faculty and students engaged the potential students in writing personal statements for dental school, gaining hands-on experiences in the clinical simulation lab, and dining with a professional etiquette and communications consultant.
The partners hosted a second Tomorrow’s Dentists event at a private pediatric dental practice where 25 potential students participated in hands-on activities and interacted with private practitioners and ECU dental faculty and students.
Our project is built upon ECU’s commitment to meeting health needs of diverse and underserved communities and on North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University’s track record of educating underrepresented minority students who are prepared to assume leadership roles in their professions and communities.
The School of Dental Medicine expresses thanks to the Dental Pipeline National Learning Institute for helping dental educators and community partners come together to address the problems of workforce disparities and access to oral health care.