Penn Dental Medicine

Life at Penn Dental/Diversity

Student Organizations

A number of student organizations and student chapters of professional organizations help to foster the social interaction and professional development of Penn Dental Medicine students. Following are the current active student groups complied by the Penn Dental Medicine Executive Student Council with mission statements and/or planned acitivities for the year provided by each group.

Post-Graduation Interests

Academy of General Dentistry Fellowship Track Club

Distinguish yourself professionally through quality continuing education with an AGD Fellowship. Attaining AGD Fellowship status culminates with receipt of your award at the AGD Convocation Ceremony, held each year at the AGD annual meeting. Learn more about fellowship award requirements > You must be a member of AGD to accumulate continuing education hours.

Endodontics Society

The Penn Dental Medicine Endodontic Society provides information and guidance to students who have a desire to learn about the field of endodontics. The organization aims to provide early exposure for predoctoral students to the field through interactive modules and shadowing opportunities with residents and faculty. Through these interactions, predoctoral students will have multiple opportunities to learn about cutting-edge technologies and research in endodontics.

Orthodontics Society

The Orthodontics Society is a student-run organization dedicated to serving the predoctoral students at Penn Dental Medicine who are interested in the orthodontics specialty. By hosting information sessions featuring current orthodontics residents, by holding meetings explaining the orthodontic residency application process, and by aiding students in making connections with orthodontists, the Orthodontics Society helps students learn more about the field. The Orthodontics Society provides a valuable connection between the predoctoral students and the elite orthodontics residency program at Penn Dental Medicine.

Pediatric Dentistry Journal Club

The mission of the Pediatric Dentistry Journal Club is to initiate and promote a better understanding and appreciation for the scientific literature within the field of pediatric dentistry. The primary objective is to discuss the literature in a supportive seminar style atmosphere in order to build confidence in each student’s ability to effectively review and analyze resources. Additionally, the Journal Club seeks to provide the skills necessary to thoroughly understand the literature and promote lifelong learning.

Pediatric Dental Society

As written in the constitution for the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine Student Chapter of the AAPD: The purpose of the organization is to initiate and promote a better understanding and appreciation of dentistry for children among dental students at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. Our ultimate objectives are to: (1) foster a relationship between the dental students and the pediatric community through educational presentations, screenings, and dental projects, and (2) to foster networking and learning between students and faculty, residents, and other pediatric practitioners in the surrounding area.

Prosthodontics Study Club

Our mission is parallel to that of the American College of Prosthodontists: to represent the needs and interests of aspiring prosthodontists within organized dentistry by providing a means for stimulating awareness and interest in the field of prosthodontics. Our goal is to be the global resource for all aspects of the specialty within the Penn Dental Medicine community.

Schoenleber Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Society

The Schoenleber Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Society at University of Pennsylvania serves as a foundation for dental students interested in pursuing a career in the field of oral and maxillofacial surgery. Our members participate in guest lectures, admissions Q&A, journal club, suturing workshops, and networking events. Our goal is to raise interest in the specialty and help our members reach their goal of becoming an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Nonprofit/Community Service/Public Health

American Association of Public Health Dentistry

Our mission is to be an organization that is closely affiliated with both the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and the American Association of Public Health Dentistry that is committed to improving the oral health of the public by creating awareness of current oral health issues on the local, state, national, and even international levels. We focus on dental education, oral health policy and law, epidemiology, community research, and advocacy.

Day of Service

Each Spring, Penn Dental Medicine partners with multiple organizations on the Penn campus and in the Philadelphia community to host one-day of volunteer events open to students, staff, and faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. This day encourages our school to collectively reach out to the surrounding community and celebrates the importance of community service. Past service sites include a YMCA health fair, two Ronald McDonald houses, and a Penn Presbyterian health fair. Through this event, students have taught children oral education in fun and interactive ways did basic dental screenings for underserved patients, cleaned and baked at a Ronald McDonald House to help support families with terminally ill children. At the end of the day, all of our volunteers meet back at the school for a fun celebration of everyone’s hard work and dedication to service.

Operation Smile

Operation Smile at Penn Dental Medicine is a local chapter of the international charity organization “Operation Smile”. Our mission is to fundraise for life-changing reconstructive maxillofacial surgeries provided by healthcare volunteers in over 60 countries around the world. OSPD also works to promote public awareness of cleft lip and cleft palate, disfiguring and possibly life-threatening conditions that affect every 1 in 700 children. Our goal is to help transform smiles worldwide, one child at a time.

Philadelphia Oral Cancer Walk/Run

The Oral Cancer 5K Walk/Run aims to primarily raise awareness for oral cancer. Through various community events, we strive to educate the Philadelphia neighborhood on the causes and dangers of oral cancer as well as stressing the importance of getting screenings and early detection. Our efforts culminate in the annual 5K Walk/Run where, with the help of corporate sponsors and donors, we raise money to donate to the Oral Cancer Foundation.


Vernon Brightman Research Society

This society is named in honor of Vernon J. Brightman, former Penn Dental Medicine faculty member and strong supporter of student research. The Vernon J. Brightman Research Society (VBRS) hosts events each year to encourage and support student participation in research, including the Introduction to Research Seminar Panel, Student Research Reception, and the Oral Health Fair/Student Research Day, which includes a vendor fair as well as poster presentations from students who participated in summer research, Bridging the Gaps, and honors programs. We plan to begin a Research Mentorship program whereby students who have participated in research can provide guidance to others through individualized meetings as well as seminars. Since its inception, VBRS has helped numerous students find their niche in research at Penn Dental Medicine. As a student-run organization, VBRS strives to promote interest and participation in basic and clinical oral health research. VBRS is the Penn Dental Medicine chapter of the AADR National Student Research Group.


Penn Dental Women Network (PDWN)

Penn Dental Women Network (PDWN) looks to provide networking opportunities for female students, faculty, and alumni in addition to preparing students for life in and out of the office throughout their dental careers. We want to provide an environment for female dentists to voice their concerns and have them answered in a manner that is both realistic and motivating. PDWN will foster relationships both near and far within the Penn Dental Medicine community to help smooth the transition from dental school to the real world.

Tau Sigma Lambda

Tau Sigma Lambda is an organization for Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) dental school students. The objectives of the group can be generally defined as establishing and developing practitioner/student, student/student, and student/community interactions. Discussion among students and between students and current military dentists will serve to facilitate the students’ seamless navigation through the intricacies of the HPSP. Efforts will also be put towards helping homeless veterans in the West Philadelphia area.


AMALGAM (A mixture of allies, lesbians, gays and more)

The Penn Dental LGBT Alliance (AMALGAM)’s mission is to promote social support and inclusion among the dental professional community at Penn Dental Medicine for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, queer, and more) dental students, faculty, administration, staff, and their supporters. We strive to maintain an alliance among the student body regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity, as the purpose of this student population is to endorse non-discriminatory policies and actions. The alliance also serves as a resource for awareness and education regarding the health needs of the LGBTQ population.

American Student Dental Association (ASDA)

The American Student Dental Association is a national student-run organization that protects and advances the rights, interests and welfare of dental students. It introduces students to lifelong involvement in organized dentistry and provides services, information, education, representation and advocacy.


The mission is to raise awareness about global health issues within and outside the dental field, to establish multidisciplinary connections with organizations locally and internationally, to educate Penn Dental Medicine students about the integration of global health policy with oral health objectives, and to translate this into effecting policy change.

SPEA in Dentistry

The Student Professionalism and Ethics Association (SPEA) in Dentistry is a national, student-driven association that was established to promote and support students’ lifelong commitment to ethical behavior in order to benefit the patients they serve and to further the dental profession. The objectives of the Association are:

  • Act as a support system for students in strengthening their personal and professional ethics values by: providing a resource for ethics education and development; fostering a non-punitive, open-forum environment for ethics communication; and promoting awareness of ethics standards and related issues within dentistry
  • Collaborating with leadership of the dental profession to effectively advocate for our members

Student National Dental Association (SNDA)

Founded in 1970, the Student National Dental Association’s mission is to promote diversity and minority retention in dental schools; to educate its members in social, moral, and ethical obligations of dentistry; and to improve the delivery of dental health to all through community service. The SNDA is committed to its mission through programs such as the Impressions Program and the Randolph School Internship Program for high school students.


Chinese Dental Association (CDA)

The purpose of this association is primarily to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and experiences, the establishment of professional and community contacts, service-based outreach to the Philadelphia community, and the discussion of common interests and concerns among its members.

Membership in the CDA shall not be limited to persons of Chinese background, but rather, is open to all students, residents and faculty members interested in Chinese culture. We are planning to host a Chinese New Year’s event intended to both celebrate this occasion and to educate the Penn Dental community about the traditions and cultural significance of this holiday.

We strongly feel that community-based service outreach should also be an integral part of this club. In the past few years, we have participated in the “Chinatown Health Fair” where we worked alongside representatives of area medical schools in providing health care access and screenings to the people in Chinatown. Building upon last year’s desire to establish outreach to the local Chinese community, we have actively sought out involvement in existing community service projects. In addition to providing weekly oral hygiene instruction and referrals to other clinics for those with dental needs, we successfully staged an oral cancer screening event where we screened patients and raised awareness of oral cancer. This year, we will be performing free oral education and possible screenings under the supervision of faculty members within the Chinese community near the Penn campus. Through these events and outreach projects, we hope to continue to become more involved in both the Penn Dental Medicine community as well as the larger Philadelphia community.

Christian Fellowship

Penn Dental Christian Fellowship exists to glorify God by motivating, educating, and equipping Christian dentists and students to serve with professional excellence as witnesses of Christ’s love and compassion, and by advancing biblical principles of healthcare within the Church and to our culture.

Hispanic Student Dental Association

The Hispanic Student Dental Association (HSDA) is dedicated to promoting and improving the oral health of the local Hispanic community, expanding the presence of Hispanics in the dental workforce, and providing advocacy for Hispanic oral health professionals across the United States. The annual Fall Fiesta is meant to expose the Penn Dental Medicine community to Hispanic traditions and culture in an effort to raise awareness of the growing diversity that exists among students, faculty, staff and the Philadelphia community.

Indian Student Dental Association (ISDA)

The Indian Student Dental Association (ISDA) is a young, vibrant, and highly active organization at Penn Dental Medicine. It aims to promote Indian cultural awareness and celebrate the cultural values throughout the dental school and community by hosting various events and functions, such as our annual Diwali Night. Furthermore, it strives to encourage and educate the greater Indian community on dental health.

Jewish Dental Student Society (JDSS)

The Jewish Dental Student Society at Penn serves to provide religious, cultural, and social experiences for its Jewish student body. Events include Shabbat dinners, lunch n’ learns, volunteering opportunities, and social events. The group also collaborates with the Jewish Graduate Student Network of Greater Philadelphia, offering opportunities to interact with Jewish graduate students and young adults across the city.

Korean Student Dental Association (KSDA)

The purpose of KSDA is to uphold the traditions at Penn Dental Medicine, exchange and participate in events with those interested in the Korean culture, and serve to the communities within and outside of the school as an organization. As a large percentage of the student body at Penn Dental Medicine, we would like to expand and inform the culture and plan on hosting events such as the multicultural sports tournament, which takes place in December, the annual Korean dinner, and a spring semester cultural event. We also plan on developing community outreach programs around the area and building strong networks with alumni and Korean student body associations in other dental schools across the nation. As an organization, KSDA will not tolerate any practice or intention of discrimination.

Taiwanese Dental Association

The Taiwanese Dental Association (TDA) is established for the purpose of fostering a forum for Penn Dental Medicine to experience the social and cultural aspects of Taiwanese culture. We will establish an environment for natives and non-natives to form networks at the University of Pennsylvania and at an international level. Our mission is to promote student interest in Taiwanese culture at the dental school and to also allow students of common backgrounds to form bonds and to better transition to life in Philadelphia.

Vietnamese Student Dental Association

The mission of Vietnamese Student Dental Association (VSDA) is to raise the Vietnamese culture awareness within the Penn Dental Medicine community and at the same time serves as a forum for our members to exchange professional and academic resources, and provide a support network for members through cultural, social, and educational events. Furthermore, we strive to reach out to underserved Vietnamese populations in the Philadelphia area to promote and improve oral healthcare. VSDA is open to people of all cultures, ethnicities, and background, and encourages any person that is interested in Vietnamese culture to join.

Extracurricular Interests

Art Society

The art society at Penn Dental Medicine promotes art and creativity. We believe that it is important to integrate art outside of the classroom. We aim to uncover all those artists, photographers, writers, sculptors, poets, and art appreciators to build a single creative body composed of individual parts. Let’s provide a healthy way to de-stress and most importantly build a forum for Penn Dental Medicine’s brilliant minds to self-express!

Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar is Penn Dental Medicine’s first co-ed Indian fusion dance troupe that performs a combination of western and South Asian dance. Brown Sugar represents a fresh, unique, and original blend of cultures. Our main performances are at the Penn Dental Medicine Diwali Show that welcomes over 200 people every year and the Gingival Groove, the Penn Dental talent show. We display a variety of dance styles ranging from Raas, Garba, Filmi, to Bhangra. Brown Sugar hopes to spread cultural awareness among the Penn Dental Medicine family.


To provide an informal, friendly, and supportive environment for photographers at all levels of experience to develop a relaxing and rewarding hobby that will enrich both student and post dental school lives. Dentography core goals include:

  • Meetings/Workshops – to learn from each other; subjects such as food photography, landscape photography, macro photography, dental photography, camera operation, types of cameras, lens, flashes, different software (light room, Photoshop), etc.
  • Outings – gardens, parks, architecture, wildlife, restaurants, events, etc.
  • School involvement – annual student photo competition to be framed and mounted in the student lounge or in Penn Dental Journal; be photographers at school events where a professional photographer is not used (i.e. Ex Council School events, Oral Cancer Walk, COH events, etc.)

Ladies 4 Lunch

The purpose of the Ladies 4 Lunch Club (L4L) is to create an organized environment for the women of Penn Dental Medicine to convene during lunch to take a break from their busy days and provide a setting for intellectual conversation, learning, and lunching. Our goal is to create a space where women are encouraged to use their hour-long break to decompress, reflect on their morning activities, ask questions, and plan for their afternoon and most importantly, actually eat lunch. We will foster a sense of camaraderie among the women in our club by supporting each other, sharing our experiences, and providing mentorship throughout the classes. Furthermore, we will invite different female faculty members to our lunches and discuss current topics and exciting advances in the field of dentistry, as well as issues that relate to our lives as dental students, women, and avid lunchers. No longer shall the women at Penn Dental Medicine skip their lunch breaks and refrain from getting the necessary nutrition and knowledge needed to be productive and successful student dentists!

Penn Dental Jam

To encourage students to play music on a weekly basis as a stress reliever from dental school. Students will be able to learn and practice their musical skills. Another goal will be to form a band and perform concerts.

Penn Palate

Penn Palate is committed to promoting an appreciation for the culinary arts through cooking demo workshops, fundraising events, and exploration of Philadelphia’s restaurant scene. We provide a great way for students to take a break from dental school and engage in gastronomic delights with fellow foodies. Our goal is to expose our members to exotic cuisines and culinary skills from around the world, while creating an eclectic amalgamation of recipes ranging from old family recipes to new experimental ones shared by our diverse and creative members. Our club will cater to people who need a relief from their academic studies and provide them with healthy and economical eating options.


The SoundBites is Penn Dental Medicine’s very own co-ed a cappella group! The group was founded by students who love to sing. Our goal is to unite dental students from different musical backgrounds, as we pursue our doctoral degree in dental medicine. The SoundBites perform music from a variety of genres on campus and in the surrounding communities. We hope to perform at Penn Dental Medicine’s annual Talent Show, Gingival Groove, as well as make our first CD! This is a music group for all dental students and residents who secretly have dreams of leaving dental school and becoming the next American Idol. Have you ever caught yourself singing during those late nights in GRD lab? Then, this group is for you!

Zymurgists of Penn Dental

Zymurgists of Penn Dental is dedicated in providing members an opportunity to homebrew, learn the science behind fermentation, and offer a more thorough understanding of the beer culture in America and around the world. Our club is comprised of unique individuals with all levels of home brewing experience who share an appreciation for the libations of hand-crafted beer.


Molar Yogies

Molar Yogies aims to promote overall wellness among members of the Penn community through engaging in yoga practice, as we share our passion and appreciation for yoga with our peers. We encourage commitment to regular yoga practice as an outlet for stress relief and a means of maintaining both physical and mental well-being. The group strives to increase awareness of opportunities to practice yoga in the Philadelphia area, while also brining yoga classes directly to the Penn campus.

Outdoors Club

The primary purpose of the Penn Outdoors Club is to provide students with an opportunity to socialize in an environment away from the hustle and bustle of the school and city environment. Our organization aims to provide members with the opportunity to participate in monthly excursions that may include – but are not limited to – activities such as hiking, biking, apple-picking, skiing, and camping. As busy dental students, the Penn Outdoors Club enables students who have a common interest in outdoor activities to come together and promote healthy-living and an appreciation for nature.

Penn Dental Flexitarian

Penn Dental Flexitarian Club is designed to engage, educate, and empower dental students, faculty, and community members to promote healthy lifestyles and build a just and sustainable living system. What is a Flexitarian? Flexitarian is a marriage of two words: Flexible and vegetarian. The term was coined more than a decade ago.

Flexitarians eat a lot less meat than they used to but do not give it up completely. Advanced flexitarians skip meat 3 to 4 days a week (18 ounces of meat or poultry a week).

Our society is a student-initiated endeavor that focuses on raising awareness and educating Penn Dental Medicine students about benefits of a mostly vegetarian dietary, living, and working in a sustainable environment. As flexitarians, we hope to introduce a spectrum of dietary options, from menu planning with some meat, to quick and easy vegan recipes.

As a group, we are looking forward to working with Penn dining and local restaurants to increase and improve vegan offerings in school events.

Penn Dental Flexitarian Club is not exclusive to flexitarians, but open to all students, residents and faculty members interested in learning more flexitarianism and sustainable living. As a group, we hope to shed light on the benefits of flexitarian diet not only to one’s health but also the environment. By hosting flexible vegetarian dinners, we hope to show the accessibility and variety available in a flexitarian diet and also start a conversation on current bioethics issues. We hope to not only raise awareness about the importance of increasing vegetable intake and sustainable living but also show how one can contribute to the environment by making simple and small changes in their lives. Eventually, we hope to work with Penn Green Partnership to enhance accessibility to recycling facilities around the Penn Dental campus.

Tennis Club

Penn Dental Club Tennis is open to all students whether they played tennis on an intercollegiate level or have just begun to pick up the sport. This organization provides students with the opportunity to socialize with other members in a fun and active environment. In addition to recreational and competitive play at our weekly practices, we will strive to extend our outreach to the Philadelphia community both on and off the tennis court.

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