Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion at HSDM

April 8, 2019
Headshot of Lonnie Norris, DMD76, MPH77

HSDM kicks off its inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Week on April 22. The week will feature an exciting lineup of events through April 26, including speakers on the topics of diversity and inclusion in dental education, race and gender equity in dentistry, and culturally competent, accessible care for patients with different needs.

“While great progress is being made throughout the year, HSDM’s inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Week serves as an exclamation point. It is a School-wide opportunity to pause together and take notice of where HSDM is headed,” Josephine Kim, director of diversity and inclusion at HSDM said.

The week will begin with the Joseph L. Henry Oral Health Fellowship Lecture given by Lonnie Norris, DMD76, MPH77 (pictured above), who served as dean of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine for 16 years. Norris’ talk will explore ways to improve the educational pipeline to increase diversity in oral health leadership, educators, and the workforce.

Engaging talks will be offered each day at noon in the REB Auditorium, and at 3pm (HSDM’s tea time) there will be dynamic performances by dancers, drummers, and singers, as well as artwork, ethnic foods, and hands-on demonstrations celebrating diverse cultural traditions.

Wednesday, April 24 will also feature a special unveiling of a portrait of a significant figure in HSDM’s history, Robert Tanner Freeman, DMD 1869, the first African American to graduate from Harvard Dental School, and the first to earn a dental degree in the United States.

We're thrilled to be able to give proper recognition to Dr. Freeman by displaying his portrait at HSDM. He was truly a trailblazer and is a central figure in the School’s history, as well as the history of dentistry in the U.S.,” Dean Bruce Donoff said.

Many of the week’s events were made possible by the generosity of HSDM supporters, Drs. Anne Koch and Allen Ali Nasseh, MMSc97.

“Presenting a Diversity and Inclusion Week is important because as clinicians we need to be providing culturally competent health care,” said Dr. Anne Koch former director of the postdoctoral program in Endodontics and Microsurgery at HSDM. “Health disparities among diverse communities is both significant and very real. We need to do better as health care providers,” she added.

Dr. Koch, a strong advocate for transgender health issues, will present a talk on Culturally Competent Care for the Transgender Patient on Thursday, April 26.

Dr. Allen Ali Nasseh hopes students have the chance to participate and take away important lessons.

“Diversity of thought and opinion is the backbone of sound thinking,” Nasseh said. “I’m hoping to do my part in supporting HSDM’s approach to diversity and education.”

The program is open to the entire HSDM and Longwood communities. See a full list of events


See also: Community, Diversity