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Press Release

Four Dental Pipeline Schools Awarded Connections Grant

December 15, 2006, New York, NY - Thanks to the continued support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Program Office was able to provide a new grant opportunity for currently funded Pipeline schools. Dental Pipeline Connections consisted of grants of up to $50,000 intended as “seed funding” for developing or enhancing URM mentor programs. After reviewing many compelling grant submissions, the Connections Review Committee, drawn from the National Advisory Committee, has awarded grants to the dental schools at the University of Southern California, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Connecticut, and Meharry Medical College. Below are brief descriptions of each school’s program.

University of Illinois at Chicago

The goal of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) mentoring program is to use existing collaborative institutional partnerships to develop a network of mentors. The target group for the mentoring activities includes the following:  pre-dental college students, enrolled dental students, dental residents and also dental students who are Illinois residents and not enrolled at the University of Illinois at Chicago. After identifying and recruiting of mentors and pairing them with students, there will be a series of monthly structured activities such as:  professional dental association meetings, formal mentorship trainings, local CE events, UIC sporting events, and other Chicago area social, educational and cultural events. Our partners include the Hispanic Dental Association, Lincoln Dental Society (NDA), Chicago Dental Society (ADA) and the UIC Chapters of SNDA and HSDA.

For its mentoring program, Meharry will create two programs that will target third and fourth year pre-dental college students:  1) Diverse Dental Students through Partnerships (D.D.S. Partners) and 2) Impressions.  D.D.S. Partners will offer workshops, science reinforcement courses and DAT preparation for the pre-dental students.  It will train alumni mentors to conduct interviews for dental school applicants who are unable to travel to Meharry’s campus. Minority mentors for the D.D.S. Partners program will be recruited from alumni, undergraduate faculty/advisors, and members of national organizations. The Impressions Program will target undergraduate students who attend the National Dental Association’s annual convention and offer them workshops, mock interviews and test-taking strategies.  Additionally, Meharry will host a pre-health advisor workshop in conjunction with the Impressions program.

University of Connecticut
The objectives of The University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine’s  mentoring program is to increase the participation of local dentists of color as mentors into a network for underrepresented third and fourth year college students and enrolled pre-doctoral dental students.  A survey will identify the mentors and a social event will be held to recruit a minimum of 15 mentors.  Following this mentors and students will be paired and expected to meet monthly.  Students and mentors will communicate via e-journals and attend three training sessions and a recognition dinner.  Upperclassmen in the pre-doctoral program will be recruited to join in the mentor training for the second session and take on a leadership role in the mentoring process thereafter.  The Mentoring Plan also has an extensive monitoring and evaluation component to help guide the process.

University of Southern California
The University of Southern California’s (USC) mentoring program incorporates the pairing of minority faculty, alumni and community dentists with current dental and pre-dental students (including international 3rd year dental students).  Establishing and maintaining a database of potential mentors’ geographic locations to help better match alumni mentors and students will facilitate this mentoring project. The mentoring activities planned are for both one-on-one and small group interaction that will include topics such as academic guidance, financial planning, career counseling. Shadowing opportunities, and educating students’ families about these topics will also be arranged.  A mentoring committee including minority faculty and students from the Minority Student Dental Association will plan the events, the outreach efforts and the evaluation of the program. Stipends will be provided to mentors, and funds made available for materials, shared meals, and a recognition event.

Pipeline, Profession & Practice: Community-Based Dental Education is an initiative encompassing 15 dental schools designed to help increase access to dental care for underserved populations. For more information about Dental Pipeline contact Celia Cameron, Communications Specialist, 212-304-7455.





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