Philadelphia — Penn Dental Medicine students celebrated Black History Month with a special event on February 16, highlighting “Inspirational African American Dentists Past and Present.” Sponsored by the Penn Dental Medicine Chapter of the Student National Dental Association (SNDA), the celebration included live performances by a local singer, Rafiya, and the L&L Sterling Dance Company. Faculty awards were also presented to Dr. Beverly Crawford, Director of Diversity and Community Outreach, for collaborative and administrative support and to Dr. Olimbi Ekmekcioglu, Clinical Associate in the Division of Community Oral Health, for outstanding support in community service.
Among the past and present dentists featured in a display were Robert Tanner Freeman, the first African American dentist to receive a DMD from Harvard University, and Sheila R. Brown, DDS, current president of the National Dental Association, who is working to increase scholarship funding for minority students.
The evening’s guest speaker was Pennsylvania Senator Anthony H. Williams, who represents the 8th District of West Philadelphia.
“Members of the Black Graduate and Professional Organization (BGAPSA) and the Undergraduate Student National Dental Association (USNDA) from Temple University were some of our invited guests, making our event a success,” says Alison St. Paul, President of the SNDA. “We came together to celebrate Black History Month with a focus on dentistry but not forgetting the other professions.”
”This was a celebration, indicative of the rich diversity here at the School of Dental Medicine,” adds Dr. Crawford.
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