The Harvard School of Dental Medicine proudly launched its inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Week in April of 2019. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion collaborated with supporters Anne L. Koch, DMD, founder and former director of HSDM's postdoctoral program in Endodontics, and HSDM alumnus Allen Ali Nasseh, DDS, MMSc97, to establish an engaging line-up of speakers and events for the HSDM community. Speakers included Anne Koch, DMD, Lonnie Norris, DMD76, MPH77, Jaimi Lard and Christine Dwyer from the Perkin's School for the Blind, Mercedes Franklin, DMD74, PD76, and Hazel Harper, DDS, MPH. The week's festivities included a special unveiling of the portrait of a significant figure in HSDM history, Dr. Robert Tanner Freeman, the first African American to graduate from Harvard Dental School in 1869, and the first to earn a dental degree in the United States.
Each afternoon included an interactive activity or performance during HSDM's daily tea time. Performances included Grooversity, an Afro Brazilian Drumming group, and a traditional Asian fabric lion dance performed by current HSDM and HMS students. Community members also enjoyed “Calligraphy Across Cultures” with Arabic calligraphy artist, Hajj Wafaa, Hebrew calligraphy artist, Elaine Adler, and Chinese calligraphy artist, Quanzhou Zhao. Finally, we celebrated the Indian Holi Festival of Lights with traditional Indian snacks, arts and crafts, and Bollywood dancing.