About Us

Who We Are

Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships is committed to strengthening the diversity pipeline from middle school to dental school through mentoring, educational and hands-on programming, and scholarships to youth and pre-dental students from African-American/Black, Latinx, and Native American backgrounds.

We aim to reach our youth early to learn how rewarding a career in dentistry is and that it can be an attainable goal. Working with our mentors throughout their educational journey will increase the dental school applicant pool of diverse, strong candidates.  It is our hope this will increase the acceptance rate of historically underrepresented minority students (HURM) into dental school.  Increasing the diversity in dentistry will positively impact both the lives of the dentists and the communities they serve, improving the overall delivery of equitable oral health care to everyone.

Dr Hishaw with students

Our Founder


Dr. Laila B. Hishaw

Dr. Laila Hishaw has been keeping the smiles of her patients healthy for over two decades but what she loves more are the kids behind the smiles. She recognizes she is more than a doctor who just fixes teeth, she is a role model and mentor to children and future dentists.  Dr. Hishaw is one of only 3.8% of Black dentists in America, strongly believes representation matters, and that children will want to emulate that which they see in their lives.  She decided something needed to be done to change this statistic and her passion project has grown into a nonprofit organization.

Dr. Hishaw created the Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships to educate, empower, and mentor African American youth and other underrepresented minorities to dentistry. Her goal is to show them dentistry is a rewarding career and an attainable goal early on in life, getting them on the right educational path to be successful candidates for dental school and ultimately, valuable leaders in the profession of dentistry.  She feels it is incumbent on dentists to nurture and bring up the next generation of leaders in the field.  To continue this movement, net proceeds from her Amazon Bestseller, CAVITY FREE KIDS: How to Care for Your Kids’ Teeth From Birth Through Their Teenage Years, will go toward programming for Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships.

Dr. Hishaw received her doctorate in dental surgery from the University of Missouri–Kansas City and her specialty certificate in pediatric dentistry from UT Health Science–San Antonio and is a board-certified pediatric dentist and the founding partner of Tucson Smiles Pediatric Dentistry in Tucson, AZ where she lives with her husband and three children.