Pride Alliance Celebrates LGBTQ History Month with Pride Celebration


Philadelphia- The Penn Dental Medicine Pride Alliance recently held its fourth annual Pride Celebration to celebrate its LGBTQIA+ Community. The Pride Celebration brings together faculty, staff, students, and alumni to celebrate diversity and build community within the School.

As part of the event, the Annual LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Awards were presented — This year recognized two staff members, two faculty members, and one student for their efforts to support diversity and inclusion within the school. The awards were presented by Morton Amsterdam Dean, Dr. Mark S. Wolff, and Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Beverly Crawford.

This year’s recipients included staff members Michelle Martino, Primary Care Unit Coordinator, Laurel Graham, head of the dental library; faculty members Dr. Kari Hexem (D’15), Clinical Associate Professor, Division of Community Oral Health, and Dr. Katherine France (D’16, GR’16, GD’18), Assistant Professor of Oral Medicine; and second-year DMD student Riley Russell (D’25).

“I’m deeply honored to be recognized by the Penn Dental Pride Alliance,” says Dr. France. “It is so important for us all to celebrate all parts of our community and am very proud of how the group has increased its visibility through celebrations in recent years.”

As part of the event, students and faculty shared experiences as being a member or ally of the LGBTQIA+ community, with featured speakers including Dr. Oswaldo Nieves, Instructor in the Division of Restorative Dentistry and faculty advisor for the Pride Alliance; Dean Wolff, Riley Russell, and alumnus Dr. Mateo Nelson (D’21).

“I am very touched by this award, as the LGBTQIA+ community is one that is close to my heart. I can’t express enough how much it means to be recognized by PDM Pride,” says Laurel Graham, who also created an online resource guide – LGBTQIA+ Community and Oral Health – on the history of the LGBTQIA+ community at both Penn and elsewhere.

Founded in 2012, “the mission of the Penn Dental Pride Alliance is to support and uplift the voices of the LGBTQIA+ community here at Penn Dental,” says Dr. Nieves. “We strive to create a more accepting environment for all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. This is done by ​creating safe spaces where community members can gather and discuss LGBTQIA+ matters by hosting a variety of events, including educational seminars and social networking opportunities.”

LGBTQIA+ programming at Penn Dental Medicine can be supported through gifts to The Penn Dental Medicine LGBTQ+ Fund, established to support and empower students and advance equality within the dental profession. Keep up-to-date on Pride Alliance activities by following them on Instagram, @PDM_Pride.