UMKC School of Dentistry: “Diversify Dentistry Youth Summit Brings Community to the Dental School”

On April 19th, UMKC SOD and Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships Inc. partnered to bring the Diversify Dentistry Youth Summit to Kansas City to help inspire the next generation of dentists of color.  Read about the event from UMKC School of Dentistry:
“Diversify Dentistry Youth Summit Brings Community to the Dental School



“It was an incredibly moving experience to stand before these young people, many of whom had never considered a future in dentistry, and share that I once sat in the very same room nearly 25 years ago, feeling out of place because I didn’t see others who looked like me,” said Dr. Laila Hishaw, Tucson pediatric dentist, founder of Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships, Inc. and UMKC School of Dentistry Alumna, Class of 2000, pictured above, “But thanks to the Diversify Dentistry Youth Summit at UMKC, we were able to show them that they truly belong in this field and that we need them to ensure better oral and overall health outcomes for all communities.”



The organization 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.



The event involves a series of engaging hands-on activities with dental instruments, interactive discussions on dental anatomy, oral health, and the process of becoming a dentist. The students are paired with dental mentors who provide valuable guidance and encouragement.



The day culminated with a White Coat Ceremony, a traditional rite of passage for dentists, in which a white coat is placed on their shoulders signifying their entrance into dentistry.



Dean Steven Haas presided over the ceremony, highlighting the important of the white coat. “The white coat is a traditional garment worn by health professionals that symbolizes trust,” said Haas. “Patients must trust that you will use what you have learned to do good, beneficence, and to do no harm, nonmaleficence. This means that dentists are entrusted to honor the tradition of the learned professions in placing the interest of the patients above self.”



This is all part of Dr. Hishaw’s goal to strengthen pathway from middle school to dental school and get students on the right path to success through mentorships, education and exposure. She hopes the program will spark interest and plant, what she calls, “a seed of possibility”.


In their post-summit survey, many students said they will now consider dentistry since experiencing the event, and shared kind and encouraging words about what they most enjoyed about the day: “I loved my mentor, the doctors and I am grateful for the heartfelt experience!” said one. Another shared, “I most liked seeing Black and Brown med. Everything was super cool!”



Joyce Hernandez, Manager of College Access and Success for Kansas City Public Schools, said, “My staff reported that the students remarked that the event was “life-changing, career confirming, and can’t wait to apply to UMKC”.



“It was the students favorite field trip ever according to my busload of students and better than any amusement park,” Hernandez continued, “One resounding opinion was that you had so many staff and students who looked like our students and representation can’t be beat. ”

You can view photos from the event by clicking here, and see some video recaps from Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships Inc., below:

Diversify Dentistry Youth Summit at UMKC recap for social media

Making our own Waves–Social Media recap”


Read the full article from UMKC SOD here.