Student Summit at Midwestern University

Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships Hosts Successful Student Summit in Arizona

Pre-dental students at the first Diversify Dentistry Student Summit at Midwestern University.

Watch our recap video on Instagram.

Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships (DIDM) is proud to announce the expansion of our Diversify Dentistry summit in Arizona! Partnering with Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine, we brought our new Student Summit to their beautiful Glendale campus. This milestone marks a significant step forward in our mission to diversify the field of dentistry by recruiting and supporting underrepresented students.

Reflecting on our journey from our initial summit at SPEAR in Scottsdale in 2021, we’re ecstatic about the incredible support we’ve received to further our mission. From our humble beginnings, we’ve grown to include A.T. Still University Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, and now Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine on June 10th, 2024. This expansion is a testament to the dedication and passion of our team, partners, and supporters who believe in the importance of fostering diversity in dentistry.

Our collaboration with Midwestern University led to the conception of our Student Summit, specifically designed for pre-dental students from high school, college, and beyond. Every underrepresented student interested in dentistry deserves a chance to get the support they need to become dentists and effect change in their communities. The summit aimed to provide these students with not just knowledge, but also inspiration and a sense of belonging in the dental community.

The summit day was packed with exciting hands-on lab activities using state-of-the-art educational equipment at Midwestern. The students toured the beautiful campus, experiencing its commitment to dental education firsthand. The lush landscaping, recreational courtyards, and welcoming common areas, including a chapel, made the campus a perfect environment for learning and growth. It was clear that Midwestern is dedicated to creating an environment where students can thrive both academically and personally.

The day began with inspiring introductions from Dean Sheri A. Brownstein, our founder Dr. Laila Hishaw, and Dr. Denise Mills, followed by a comprehensive overview of the dental admission process from Dr. Cara Copeland. The students then proceeded to the Sim Lab for Dental Anatomy 101 and rotated through three engaging stations, each with dedicated dental student mentors and faculty members to ensure personalized attention and support. This high mentor-to-mentee ratio ensured that every student received the guidance and encouragement they needed throughout the day.

DIDM’s mentors are so dedicated to the #MentorsForTheMovement initiative that they took time from their practices to attend the event at their alma mater. Notable attendees included Dr. Elieza Yonan, DIDM’s Advisor, and Dr. Susan Sergie, DIDM’s Executive Secretary, who flew in from Alaska for the day! Dr. Mills, a member of our board of directors and a professor at Midwestern, was instrumental in spearheading this collaborative effort.

The first station, Drill & Fill with Handpiece, allowed mentees to practice dental restoration on a typodont, drilling out caries, molding, sculpting, curing, and polishing resin to a high luster. This hands-on experience gave students a real taste of what it’s like to work in the field of dentistry. At the second station, students explored Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology, designing and printing their own dental crowns to take home. This exposure to cutting-edge technology was both educational and exciting, showcasing the innovative side of dentistry. The final station featured the Simodont Dental Trainer, a cutting-edge VR and haptic technology system that simulates the tactile experience of drilling into various tissues. This hands-on experience, new to many dental professionals, was a highlight for our students.

Lunch, generously provided by Midwestern, featured a Q&A panel where students asked experts about dental admissions, financial aid, and specializations. The interactive session was informative and engaging, with students asking insightful questions. This session was invaluable in demystifying the path to a career in dentistry and providing practical advice and encouragement.

As the student summit concluded, our students participated in a memorable White Coat Ceremony. Dr. Denise Mills delivered a heartfelt speech on the significance of the ceremony, and the students recited the Hippocratic Oath, symbolizing their commitment to the dental profession. Watching the students beam as they donned their white coats, assisted by dedicated dentists and dental students, was truly inspiring. This ceremony was not just a symbolic gesture, but a powerful affirmation of their potential and commitment to their future careers.

For underrepresented students from communities with limited resources and few mentors, a day in a dental school lab can be life-changing. Being surrounded by mentors who have walked the same path and are eager to support their journey is invaluable. This is the essence of what we do at Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships. We want these students to know that dentistry is not out of reach; it is a rewarding profession where they can be the change needed in their communities to close the gap in oral equity.

They just need someone to show them that they can achieve it. With your support and that of our sponsors, such as the Delta Dental Institute Oral Health Diversity Fund, We D.I.D. it…So Can You!

To find out more about our summits and when the next ones are, visit our events page or email us at [email protected].

Learn more about our virtual mentorship program to become a mentee and be matched with your own mentor!

If you’re a dental professional who would like to become a mentor, we need you! Sign up here.