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 active student groups for the 2012-2013 academic year as complied by the Penn Dental Medicine Executive Student Council with mission statements and/or planned acitivities for the year provided by each group.


American Student Dental Association

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 Penn Dental Medicine ASDA chapter holds an annual vendor fair each fall for the student body, attends national leadership conferences as well as the Pennsylvania Dental Association Annual Session and sends students to both National Lobby Day in Washington D.C. and State Lobby Day in Harrisburg, PA.

Neurodont Society Club

The motivating factors for the Neurodont Society are based on:

  • Compelling first-hand encounters of patients experiencing dental pain post dental treatment for no observable identifiable cause; the dilemma for clinicians to accept or neglect patients’ perception of pain in spite of unobservable etiology related to their chief complaint.
  • Everyday dilemma for clinicians to decide whether to retain or extract teeth and its possible unproven consequence on the neural wiring in the brain. Studies are underway to prove that retaining the roots of unrestorable crowns preserve both bone and memory and aid in treatment of Alzheimer’s or dementia patients.
  • Insufficient existing literature in support of Orofacial Neurology.
  • Scattered pools of variables among the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary areas related to dental pain and pathology

Meetings topics to include:

  • Finding critical articles related to Orofacial neurology.
  • Discuss and study the relevance of Orofacial Neurology in relation to Neuroscience and its application in different disciplines of dental science.
  • Subsequent discussions to apply in clinical practices.
  • Facilitate discussion on this topic and emphasize its educational value.
  • Potential future goals for this club will be to write letters to the editor regarding the potential of the study; trying to replicate a study; debate team format during study critique.
  • The group shall be meeting monthly to discuss an article.

Penn American Association of Public Health Dentistry

The mission is to have 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 community awareness of current oral health issues and by fostering professional development through education and leadership based on public health principals among future dental professionals.

Philadelphia Oral Cancer Awareness Society

Our mission is to increase awareness about oral cancer, as it is a disease that warrants much attention yet seldom receives it. Our primary objectives are to:

  • Promote awareness throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area
  • Impact public perception concerning oral cancer prevention, detection, and survival
  • Educate future dentists about the critical need to screen and educate their patients
  • Organize a Philadelphia benefit walk and 5K run for the Oral Cancer Foundation

Vernon Brightman Research Society

Vernon Brightman Research Society (VBRS) is a student-run organization that advocates predoctoral interest and participation in basic science and clinical research. Penn Dental Medicine prides itself on the strong research and clinical foundation that it offers students and for this reason, VBRS promotes involvement not only at the local level, but also at the national level by offering opportunities to present research at dental conferences throughout the country. VBRS hopes to be able to send more students to meetings by helping to fund some of the expenses. Each year, VBRS organizes and hosts the “Oral Health Fair” and “Student Research Reception”. Our goal is to help raise and maintain the quality of dental medicine research and education by introducing opportunities to improve oral health care.

Dental Specialties

Penn Dental Orthodontic Society

The Orthodontic Society helps to guide prospective orthodontists build valuable relationships with practicing orthodontists in both academics and the surrounding community. The Society helps prospective orthodontists acquire academic knowledge, assists students in understanding the application process for postdoctoral study in orthodontics, and acts as a resource to provide students with information about the orthodontic specialty.

Penn Pediatric Dental Society

The mission of the Penn Pediatric Dental Society is to initiate and promote a better understanding and appreciation of pediatric dentistry among dental students. Its ultimate objective is to foster relationships between dental students and the pediatric community, including patients, faculty, and residents, through academic, social, and service events.

Schoenleber Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Society

This society strives to bring the Penn OMFS community together, including students, residents, and faculty. We hold a variety of events and meetings throughout the year, including the Suture Club and Journal Club. Membership is free with the society is funded by the Louis Schoenleber estate gift to the Penn Dental Department of Oral Surgery. Join us if you are interested in OMFS or just want to learn more about the field!

University of Pennsylvania Endodontic Society

The University of Pennsylvania’s 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, pre-doctoral students will have many opportunities to learn about cutting edge technologies and research in endodontics. The society will aid interested students in facilitating research opportunities and potentially publish and/or present their research at endodontic conferences.


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 UPENN 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 as UPENN SDM representatives, we have participated in the “Chinatown Health Fair” where we worked alongside representatives from Temple, UPENN and PCOM 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 community service projects that we could become involved in.

Indian Students Dental Association (ISDA)

ISDA aspires to be a social as well as a professional club that serves its members at a multitude of levels. It aims to promote cultural awareness and celebrate the cultural values throughout the SDM community by hosting various events and functions. It also provides the students with an opportunity to network with practicing dentists as well as recent alumni. Furthermore, it strives to encourage and educate the greater Indian community on issues relating to oral health.

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 UPENN SDM 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.

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

The purpose of the Korean Student Dental Association (KSDA) is to uphold Korean traditions while at Penn Dental Medicine, exchange and participate in events with those interested in the Korean culture, and provide service to the communities within and outside of the school. As a large percentage of the student body at Penn Dental Medicine, we would like to expand and inform others of the Korean 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.

Penn Canucks

A “Canuck” is the colloquial term for a Canadian. There are approximately 45 dental students in the Dental School who are Canadian, and many more who have a vested interest in the country, i.e. a desire to move, family, or an appreciation for the culture. The main event Penn Canucks holds each year is a lunch-and-learn presentation on the Canadian National Dental Examination Boards and the dental licensing system in Canada. This has been very helpful to students in the past. In addition, the club allows a venue for us to share exam resources. Throughout the year, the Penn Canucks have hosted various events to support numerous Canadian traditions. For example, we intend to host a July 1 party to celebrate Canada day, and support Canadian hockey teams and Olympic teams throughout the play-offs as we have in the past.

Penn Dental Christian Fellowship

Penn Dental Christian Fellowship, a campus chapter of Christian Medical and Dental Associations, 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

Penn Dental LGBT Alliance

The Penn Dental LGBT Alliance’s mission is to promote social support and inclusion among the dental professional community at Penn Dental Medicine for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) dental students and their supporters. We strive to maintain an alliance among the student body regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity, whose purpose 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 LGBT population.

Student National Dental Association (SNDA)

Founded in 1970, the Student National Dental Association mission remains promoting and encouraging the increase of minority enrollment and retention in dental schools; educating its members in the social, moral, and ethical obligations of the profession of dentistry; promoting a viable academic and social environment for minority students; and committing to the improvement of the delivery of dental health to all people, with an emphasis on minorities and the underserved. SNDA is an auxiliary of the NDA (established in 1913) and together the two organizations continue to work together to continue to place emphasis on oral health care for minorities and the underserved.

Taiwanese Dental Association

The Taiwanese Dental Association (TDA) is established for the purpose of fostering a forum for SDM 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 students’ 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.

TDA will explore Taiwanese heritage and culture, reach out to other student organizations and communities, and establish a supportive and unified network of Taiwanese and other interested individuals at school. We will strive to connect with the other Taiwanese associations within the University of Pennsylvania student body and promote dental health and prevention. We welcome the membership of all persons who shall respect the spirit of TDA. Though TDA serves to foster consciousness of Taiwanese culture, we do not advocate any political viewpoints.


Art of Flight

To bring together Penn Dental Students who share a common passion for skiing and/or snowboarding on the wintry slopes.


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.

Penn Dental Acapella Group

The mission of the Penn Dental Acapella Group is to foster members’ interest in singing and performing and participate in community outreach in Philadelphia by providing entertainment for those who reside in hospitals, nursing homes, and other assisted living facilities, especially sharing our passion for singing during the holiday season.

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 an option to eat both healthily and economically.

Penn Dental Relaxation Club

Dentistry can be a very stressful professional career. It is our mission to provide students with an outlet for the stresses of life as a dental student. Our goals are to organize relaxing and mutually enjoyable events which will bring dental students together to take their minds off of school and maintain balance in their lives. We plan to hold various events such as yoga class, cookie decorating, pumpkin carving, wine and cheese night, and various outdoor activities such as ultimate frisbee, hiking, and kayaking. We will also organize informative seminars on biofeedback, aromatherapy, and various other relaxation techniques (for both operators and patients).

UPenn Dental Soccer Club (UDSC)

Club members come from a wide range of ethnic, cultural and racial backgrounds offering unique opportunities for learning and collaboration. Understanding the benefits of physical exercise for the body as well as the mind, UDSC will aid in performance on the field as well as in the classroom and clinic. With this in mind, success will be achieved by planning soccer games or community service activities during times that will not interrupt or interfere with club member’s study, class, or clinic. Club members will have the opportunity to gather and watch soccer games in designated locations. The UPENN Dental Soccer Club will make a positive impact on the club members’ experience at UPENN school of Dental Medicine.

UPenn SDM Flag Football Club

The aim of this organization is to establish a fun and rewarding athletic experience through flag football for students of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. This organization aims for camaraderie, friendly competition, teamwork, stress relief and encouragement of a healthy life style through playing flag football.

UPenn SDM Running Club

The aim of the UPENN SDM Running Club is to create an opportunity for students to support a healthy lifestyle with the help and motivation of their peers. Whether participants have been running for years or are new to the sport, this club is a great way to meet new people, stay fit, and have fun while doing so. In addition, running is a great way to help fundraise for and support important causes. In conjunction with weekly runs, club members will be encouraged to register for the Oral Cancer Walk here at SDM, as well as various organized runs in Philadelphia throughout the year.

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.

Dental Fraternities

Alpha Omega

A coeducational student chapter of Alpha Omega, the Alpha Omega Beta Chapter is the oldest international dental organization. Originally founded in 1907 to fight discrimination in dental schools, it is now primarily an educational and philanthropic organization.

Delta Sigma Delta

Founded in 1882, Delta Sigma Delta was the first professional fraternity in the field of Dentistry. The brotherhood was formed with the objective, “to keep high the standards of Dentistry by inculcating in the minds of dental students and practitioners a spirit of fraternal cooperation leading toward scientific, ethical, and professional progress.” This co-ed fraternity continues to honor its rich heritage and traditions with the induction of new members every year. The widespread community of Delta Sigma Delta reaches beyond nationwide Undergraduate Chapters to numerous Graduate and International Chapters. Membership is a lifelong commitment to excellence and professionalism in the field of Dentistry.

Psi Omega Zeta

Psi Omega Zeta echoes the national mission statement of the fraternity: “The objectives of this Fraternity are to maintain and advance the high standards of dentistry by instilling in its members the spirit of fraternal cooperation; and to exert its influence for the advancement of the dental profession in its methods of teaching, of practice, of research, of ethics and of jurisprudence.” Further, this chapter seeks to provide a sense of camaraderie within the Penn community by hosting various tutoring sessions, social gatherings, philanthropy, and community service events. Psi Omega Zeta promotes unity through friendship and thus continues to maintain a strong network between current dental students and alumni.

Lamarr Holland
“[My classmates and I] are willing to help each other in whatever way we can.”
Lamarr Holland
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The Robert Schattner Center
University of Pennsylvania
School of Dental Medicine
240 South 40th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6030