Transform the Future: Delta Dental Institute Awards $75K for Diversify Dentistry Youth Summit™


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Delta Dental Awards $75,000 to Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships to Expand its Work to Improve Oral Health Equity and Outcomes 

DIDM’s Diversify Dentistry Youth Summit™ Toolkit will help dental schools inspire underrepresented youth to consider a career in dentistry 


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Delta Dental Oral Health Diversity Fund Inaugural Awardees


The Diversify Dentistry Youth Summit aims to inspire high school students from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds to consider a career in dentistry. 


OCTOBER 20, 2023 – Mesa, Arizona – Diversify Dentistry Youth Summit presented by the Arizona-based nonprofit, Diversity In Dentistry Mentorships Inc., offers high school students from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds hands-on experiences, educational insights, and mentorship to inspire them to consider a career in dentistry. On Friday, October 20th, 2023 at the ATSU-Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health in Mesa, AZ, the summit will bring together community dentists, dental students, and 50 students from Peoria Unified School District, MET Professional Academy, and Alhambra Elementary School District for a day of empowerment, inspiration, and possibility. 

Diversity In Dentistry Mentorships, Inc., aims to address the disparity of the dental workforce which is associated with the  lack of proper access to care and poor oral health outcomes in underrepresented communities by encouraging minority youth into the profession.  Through a series of engaging hands-on activities with dental materials, interactive discussions on dental anatomy, oral health, and the process of becoming a dentist, the students will be paired with dental mentors who will provide valuable guidance and encouragement. The day will culminate with a White Ceremony, a traditional rite of passage for dentists, in which a white coat is placed on their shoulders signifying their entrance into dentistry. 

The event is made possible through the generous support of A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) Dept for Diversity & Inclusion/Dreamline Pathways, Delta Dental of Arizona and the Benco Family Foundation. 

“We want to strengthen and lengthen the pathway from middle school to dental school and get these deserving students on the right path to success through mentorships, education and exposure,” said Dr. Laila Hishaw, Tucson pediatric dentist and founder of Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships, Inc. “We hope to spark their interest, plant the seed of possibility, and prepare them to be successful in their journey to dental school, or wherever they find their passion.  We believe a diverse dental workforce that is reflective of our nation will improve access to care and oral health outcomes for all communities.”   

For the past 3 years, the Diversify Dentistry Youth Summit has fostered a sense of unity, empowerment, and possibility among attendees. It served as a way to break down barriers of opportunity and build up pathways for youth to pursue a career in dentistry, regardless of their background. 

For more information, please visit 


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About Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships, Inc.  

Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit education committed to strengthening the diversity pathway 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. We work to guide them on the right educational track, shadowing experience, and provide resources for them to be attractive candidates for dental school. To learn more about Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships, visit, and follow them on social media at @diversityindentistry.   


About A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) 

A founding institution of osteopathic healthcare, ATSU is a leading health sciences university with campuses in Mesa, AZ., Santa Maria, CA., and Kirksville, MO.  ATSU continually earns distinctions for best-in-class curriculum and community outreach mission to help the underserved.  ATSU is the first graduate health education university to receive the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award in 2017, and the following four-years.