Bulletin of Dental Education

Columbia University College of Dental Medicine Receives Higher Education Diversity Award

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The Columbia University College of Dental Medicine (Columbia CDM) has received the 2014 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. As a recipient of the annual HEED Award, a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, Columbia CDM will be featured with 82 other recipients in magazine’s November 2014 issue.

“At the College of Dental Medicine, we are very proud of our targeted efforts to foster a student body diverse in thought, background and experience within an inclusive environment,” says Dennis Mitchell, D.D.S., M.P.H., Senior Associate Provost for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion, Associate Professor of Dental Medicine and Senior Associate Dean for Student Development at Columbia CDM. “As a school that strives to be the number one destination for the world’s greatest scholars, we understand that we cannot achieve this aspiration without realizing our core values of inclusion and excellence. Accomplishing this requires that diversity be a fundamental academic accountability for our university, our schools and our departments and evident through equity in recruiting, advancement, retention and experience.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected Columbia CDM based on its exemplary diversity and inclusion initiatives as well as its ability to embrace a broad definition of diversity, including gender, race, ethnicity, veterans, people with disabilities, members of the LGBT community and other underrepresented communities. In keeping with the mission set forth by the Columbia CDM admissions policy for diversity, which affirms the college’s commitment to ensure a “critical mass” of underrepresented students, as well as a student body that is broadly diverse in character, the school has continued to enroll a diverse D.D.S. class.

The two most recent entering classes of dental students at Columbia CDM have included unprecedented numbers of students underrepresented in the dental profession (20% in both the Classes of 2017 and 2018). Excluding the dental schools of Meharry and Howard University (historically black colleges and universities) and the University of Puerto Rico, Columbia CDM ranks in the top 10% of U.S. dental schools for enrollment of underrepresented minority dental students and ranks first among its peer private dental schools in the northeast.

The Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP), funded through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and administered in collaboration with the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, is a national pipeline program that enhances opportunities in science, medicine and dentistry for underrepresented minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged students. Columbia CDM has enrolled 35 SMDEP graduates over the past decade, including 19 who graduated from the Columbia SMDEP program (three of whom are in the Class of 2017).

The Columbia CDM Office of Diversity Affairs sponsors recruitment trips to several conferences targeting promising students underrepresented in dentistry. Various student organizations sponsor recruitment events on campus and participate in Columbia CDM’s hosting program for applicants underrepresented in dentistry during interview season.

“We hope the HEED award serves as a way to honor those institutions of higher education that recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion as part of their everyday campus culture,” says Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
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