Academics

Dental Pipeline National Learning Institute Launch Meeting Held at Pacific

New training program supports effort to create a diverse workforce of dentists

The University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in partnership with American Dental Education Association (ADEA) is launching the Dental Pipeline National Learning Institute (NLI). Pictured above, National Learning Institute launch meeting attendees at Pacific.

Nov 28, 2012
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The University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in partnership with American Dental Education Association (ADEA) is launching the Dental Pipeline National Learning Institute (NLI). Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the NLI is a new training program dedicated to increasing recruitment and retention among low-income and underrepresented minority students at dental schools in an effort to create a diverse workforce of dentists who understand the oral healthcare needs of patients from underserved populations. 

Through the NLI, 11 dental schools have been selected to implement a yearlong recruitment and retention campaign or engage community-based dental education partners. Each NLI institution will receive $12,000 along with other support and resources.

The NLI was officially launched at the Dugoni School of Dentistry during a three-day meeting held Oct. 15-17, 2012. Attendees from participating dental schools and community-based organizations, ADEA representatives and mentors from a previous dental pipeline project gathered for sessions on best practices, advocacy, and leadership; peer mentor match-ups; access to various online courses; and fundraising and development tutorials.

"This is a great opportunity to extend the lessons of a decade of dental pipeline activities and foster new partnerships dedicated to improving oral health for underserved people" said Dr. Paul Glassman, project director of the RWJF grant that is supporting this initiative and director of the Pacific Center for Special Care at the Dugoni School of Dentistry.

"Our goal for the National Learning Institute is to create an environment that embraces differences so that future dentists can learn effectively," says Kim D'Abreu, ADEA senior vice president for access, diversity and inclusion. "While working to forge better partnerships between dental schools and their respective communities, we also hope to sound a clarion call about the growing epidemic of oral disease-related deaths among underserved populations due to lack of the 'right' care."

Dental schools participating in the NLI include: East Carolina School of Dentistry; Georgia Health Sciences University College of Dental Medicine; Harvard School of Dental Medicine; Indiana University School of Dentistry; Marquette University School of Dentistry; Medical University of South Carolina College of Dental Medicine; Oklahoma University College of Dentistry; Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine; University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry; University of Minnesota School of Dentistry; and University of Nevada, Las Vegas, School of Dental Medicine.

The Dental Pipeline effort is based on the concept that dental institutions can address the access to dental care crisis by recruiting and admitting more underrepresented minority students, increasing cultural competency of all students and educating dental students through community rotations in health centers and other safety-net dental settings. These principles served as the basis of a decade-long nationwide effort among dental schools and community partners that has positively impacted dental education and access to care.

"The message that our individual project was part of the overall effort to reduce disparities in the country helped frame our project on a bigger perspective," shared one dental school representative who attended the launch meeting. "Learning about the success stories from the previous pipeline project was encouraging."

More information regarding the Dental Pipeline National Learning Institute can be found at http://www.adea.org/PipelineNLI