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Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion

The Office of Diversity Affairs & Inclusion 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:

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.

Introduction to Dentistry Summer Program

Introduction to Dentistry Summer Program is a week-long, commuter program that gives undergraduate college students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the type of preclinical coursework encountered in dental school, attend lectures, and learn about the dental school admissions process.

Bio-Dental Program

The Bio-Dental Program, unique to Penn Dental Medicine admissions, is an early matriculation program, enabling accepted students from five undergraduate institutions to enter Penn Dental Medicine after their junior year. Hampton University, a historically black institution, is among the participating schools supporting the recruitment of underrepresented minority students.

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.

Penn Residency Education Preparation and Support Programs (PREPS) and Shadowing Program

The Penn Residency Education Preparation and Support Programs (PREPS) primary objective is to increase the number of students from underrepresented populations applying to specialty programs here at Penn Dental Medicine. This program is also in partnership with Howard University College of Dentistry and Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry. It will provide funding to students from disadvantaged and underrepresented populations, who have demonstrated an interest in specializing. By relieving some of the financial burden and providing mentorship, it is expected that our specialty programs will attract some of the best and brightest. A secondary objective is to recruit post-doctoral students who can become full time faculty. At Penn Dental Medicine, a tenant central to the core mission of the school is to nurture a diverse family, unified to foster a humanistic environment where all individuals are valued, respected, and empowered.

This program welcomes dental students to spend one week with the graduate residents in University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine specialty clinics. Students can shadow residents and attend lectures in Oral Medicine, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Prosthodontic, Orthodontic, Periodontic, Pediatric and Endodontic specialties. Housing in student dorms is provided for one week.

Download Clinic Visitor Waiver Packet »

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.

Once you have completed the Clinic Visitor Waiver Packet and have all required copies of immunizations, please submit here.

Failure to submit all required documentation mandated by the waiver application may delay the start of your observation.

For any questions/ concerns once your application is submitted, please email:

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 >>

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.

Penn GAPSA Affinity Groups

Penn’s Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA) IDEAL (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access and Leadership) Committee is charged with representing graduate and professional affinity group interests across all of Penn’s 12 graduate schools. Each of these organizations that make up GAPSA’s IDEAL Committee offer a variety of opportunities to connect academically, professionally, and socially. View list of the organizations »


Dr. Beverley Crawford
Director of Student Diversity and Inclusion
Javita Lee
Assistant to the Director of Diversity and Inclusion PDM

Hispanic Dental Association: Two students — Herta Granado, D’21, and Viviana Portillo, D’22 — along with Dr. Maria Velasco represented Penn Dental Medicine at the recent NHMA/HDA 23rd Annual Hispanic Health Conference. This national conference offers an opportunity to meet over 500 Hispanic physicians/dentists and the next generation of health leaders; it features nationally recognized experts who care for or conduct training or research about Hispanic populations. Pictured is Dr. Manuel Cordero, Hispanic Dental Association (HDA) CEO, with Dr. Velasco, faculty advisor to Penn Dental’s HDA chapter; Herta Granado, the Student Trustee for the HDA: and Viviana Portillo, an HDA chapter member.

National Health Service Corps: The Office of Academic Affairs and Student Life and The Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosted Dr. Joan Malcolm, D’94, for a Lunch and Learn Information session on the National Health Services Corps (NHSC). Dr. Malcolm is a member of the National Advisory Council on the NHSC, a member of the Sub-Committee on Diversity of the Penn Dental Medicine Board of Overseers, and a former Trustee for the National Dental Association. Dr. Malcolm spoke about scholarship opportunities for all dental students while in dental school, the Student to Service Loan Repayment Program for 4th year dental students and the Loan Repayment Program after graduation.

Black History Month Celebration: Penn Dental Medicines’ Student National Dental Association hosted their annual Black History Month celebration.
View photos »

Impressions Program: The Student National Dental Association (SNDA) hosts its annual Impressions Program at Penn Dental Medicine. This 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.

Chinese Dental Association: The Penn Dental Medicine Chinese Dental Association hosted a cultural dumpling-making event 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.

Summer Mentorship Program: Penn Dental Medicine hosts Philadelphia Public and Charter school students in its annual Summer Mentorship Program. These students participate in hands-on lab activities and attending lectures given by some of the School’s dental faculty.

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