Pathways into Dentistry Pipeline Program Recognized with National STEM Award

August 15, 2018
Preclinical lab with high school students
DMD students work with Revere Public School students in HSDM's preclinical lab

Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) was recently honored for its diversity and inclusion efforts, receiving a 2018 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. The Award honors colleges and universities nationwide that encourage and assist students from underrepresented groups to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

HSDM was chosen for developing a Pathways into Dentistry pipeline program which invites middle school, high school and college students to envision a career in dentistry.

“We’re honored to receive national recognition for our program,” Dr. Josephine Kim, director of Diversity and Inclusion said. “Our DMD students, particularly the Diversity and Inclusion Fellows, are great advocates and mentors for young students who may otherwise lack opportunities to learn about the field of dentistry. It is truly a team effort with students, faculty and staff from all areas of the School contributing to the program.”

Medscience group photo
HSDM Admissions and Diversity and Inclusion representatives with high school students from the MEDscience program
"This award is particularly important to us because it allows us to inspire youth and expose them to career opportunities they may not have previously considered,” said Ty Adeseye (DMD 2019) senior Diversity and Inclusion fellow. “It is important to have a diverse community of healthcare professionals that is representative of the people they serve, and it starts with educating young students.”

HSDM’s offices of Diversity and Inclusion and Admissions partner with organizations such as the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, MEDscience (HMS), MGH/Revere Cares, Reactions in Action (HMS), National Student Leadership Conference, Seeds of Hope (HMS), and Indian Island School, to bring young students who would not likely be exposed to career opportunities in dentistry to HSDM to introduce them to the field. Students who express an interest in dentistry can participate in further pipeline programming with job shadowing opportunities with local dentists.

“While we have the students with us, we also teach them about oral health and oral hygiene practices so we can contribute to the prevention of oral disease,” Kim said. “Students leave with knowledge about the field, information on the admissions process, and equipped with oral hygiene products (toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss),” she added.

“If we can convince one middle school student that they can do it and give them guidance on what it might take to get there, then we create a ripple effect. We’ve now helped one more person get there, and this person will become another advocate for countless others,” said Mindy Truong (DMD 2019), senior Diversity and Inclusion fellow.

J Taylor giving talk
Jeffrey Taylor (DMD 2020) gave presentations on dentistry and HSDM’s admissions process at historically Black institutions in Atlanta
HSDM also piloted a new recruitment initiative in March of 2018 as part of Pathways into Dentistry pipeline programs when Jeffrey Taylor (DMD 2020), a Diversity and Inclusion fellow, presented on dentistry and HSDM’s admissions process at Spelman College and Oakwood University, both historically Black institutions. A similar presentation was given at a historically Black high school in Atlanta.

HSDM is featured, along with 77 other Inspiring Programs in STEM Award recipients, in the September 2018 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.