Penn Dental Medicine

Life at Penn Dental/Diversity

Diversity » Office of Diversity Affairs

The Office of Diversity Affairs is deeply committed to increasing and celebrating diversity at Penn Dental Medicine. Specific recruitment and retention programs have been developed to attract some of the brightest students who are currently underrepresented in dentistry and support them during their education at Penn. The outreach program consists of the following activities:

1. Summer Mentorship Program

The University of Pennsylvania’s Summer Mentorship Program (SMP) is a month-long, full-day, full-immersion experience on campus for select juniors and seniors from Philadelphia Public and Charter high schools. SMP is administered by the Office of the Vice Provost for University Life, with funding from the Office of the Provost. The program provides classroom instruction, one-on-one sessions with professors, and tours of labs and other facilities. It also includes intensive SAT preparation (provided by Kaplan), writing workshops, and instruction in personal finance.

2. Shadowing Program

This program allows participants from our recruitment initiatives and pre-dental undergraduate students from local universities to visit the Dental school to observe patient care in a school environment.
Waiver for Visitors Observing in Clinical Areas (PDF)

3. Mentorship Program

Dental students at Penn Dental Medicine are given opportunities to network with alumni for “role modeling” and support during their educational experience or when seeking employment or applying to postgraduate programs. Sign up to be matched with an alumni mentor >>

4. Peer Mentorship Program

A support program for incoming students wherein upper classmen provide support and assistance to ensure a smooth transition to the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Dental Medicine.

Through these recruitment and retention initiatives, Penn Dental Medicine is successfully creating and sustaining a critical mass of underrepresented students within its student body, building an academically strong and socially supportive environment.

5. Impressions Program

The Student National Dental Association (SNDA) Impressions Program is composed of a series of one-day workshops geared towards educating underrepresented minority undergraduate college students about careers in dentistry. The Impressions Program consists of lectures and hands-on activities, which expose students to a typical dental school curriculum. Students are also introduced to various dental procedures and the application process, in addition to financial aid and scholarship opportunities. At the conclusion of the program, students will be familiar with the hosting dental school (Penn Dental Medicine) and have information that can make them stronger dental school applicants.

6. Post-Graduate Externship Program

This is a program in partnership with Howard University College of Dentistry and Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry, welcoming junior and senior dental students to spend one week with the graduate residents in University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine specialty clinics. Students will shadow residents and attend lectures in Oral Medicine, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontic, Periodontic and Endodontic specialties. Housing will be provided for one week. This year’s event will be June 2014.
Download registration form (PDF)


Dr. Beverley Crawford
Director of Diversity Affairs

  • 2015 Impressions Program: On March 21, 2015 , the Student National Dental Association (SNDA) will host its annual Impressions Program at Penn Dental Medicine. This annual one-day experience provides undergraduate students with an introduction to dentistry. Through this program, SNDA hopes to encourage increased enrollment in dental schools, especially for interested under-represented minority students. The day’s activities include hands-on dental activities, mock interviews, a dental student panel, dental admissions test prep information, and application process information. To RSVP or for more information contact:

  • 2014 Summer Mentorship Program: Penn Dental Medicine is currently hosting 10 Philadelphia Public and Charter school students in its annual Summer Mentorship Program. Students are being led by second-year dental students Harold Robinson and Kayla Pietruszka. These students have been participating in hands-on lab activities and attending lectures given by some of the School’s dental faculty. Team building exercises included a visit to the Mutter Museum and new this year a visit to The Expressive Hand where the students demonstrated their skill for ceramic painting.

  • CHINESE DENTAL ASSOCIATION: The Penn Dental Medicine Chinese Dental Association hosted a cultural dumpling-making event on Thursday, May 8, at Harnwell Residential Hall. Dumpling wraps and a large variety of meats were provided and students had the chance to blend these ingredients together to create beautiful, scrumptious dumplings. This event was free for all dental students and $5 for non-dental students.

  • Dental student Maryam Akbari (DMD-MPH ‘14) in front of “Daring Dreamers: Women Making History at Penn Dental,” an exhibit she developed, which is on display in the atrium area of the School’s Robert Schattner Center. “It is my hope that stories of these individuals will inspire others to search deeper and raise the bar higher for what can be achieved for the benefit of others,” says Maryam, who also compiled the research for the Penn Dental Medicine Historical Perspective on Diversity.

  • SPARK: This fall, Penn Dental Medicine students Evan Eisler, Hillary Rosen, and Coleen O’Neill acted as mentors in the SPARK Program, to middle school students Devonna Steward and Egypt Stokes, from The John Barry Middle school. On Thursday December 19, they, along with their mentees, took part in the Spark Discovery Night. Spark is an award-winning youth empowerment organization that inspires middle-school youth to pursue their interests, create bonds with their communities, and develop a lifelong passion for learning. Each student completes an in-depth apprenticeship in their field of interest, while also participating in a leadership class that helps to connect apprenticeship learning to class.

  • Penn Dental Women’s Network: On October 2, over one hundred current students, faculty members, and alumni gathered for the first Penn Dental Women’s Network (PDWN) event. The event was a resounding success. After a brief presentation on the history of women at Penn Dental Medicine, attendees were able to mingle with one another and make connections on an educational and personal level. Look forward to future events such as panels, smaller group discussions, social outings, and mentorship opportunities.

Program & Faculty Features

Student Profile: Dr. Alicia Houston, GD’15

Following a Passion for Patient-Centered Dentistry

Penn Dental Journal,

Fall 2014

Read PDF »

The Robert Schattner Center
University of Pennsylvania
School of Dental Medicine
240 South 40th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6030