Harvard’s School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) was recently honored with an award for diversity in its Pathways into Dentistry Pipeline Program. The program targets middle and high school students from predominately low-income and underprivileged backgrounds to visit HSDM, introducing them to the college experience and what they can expect when pursuing a degree in dental medicine.
The award, handed down by Insight into Diversity, a four-decade-old print and digital magazine that maintains as the most tenured diversity publication in its space, chose Harvard for this annual honor (among others) in relation to its thriving STEM program. Harvard’s efforts to provide mentorship, academic and professional support to students of color who wouldn’t otherwise have such opportunities stands out among the work of many institutions of higher learning across the country.
“We’re honored to receive national recognition for our program,” said Josephine Kim, Ph.D., HSDM Director of Diversity and Inclusion, to Dentistry Today. “Our DMD students, particularly the Diversity and Inclusion Fellows, are great advocates and mentors for young students who may otherwise lack opportunities to learn about the field of dentistry. It is truly a team effort with students, faculty, and staff from all areas of the school contributing to the program.”
Harvard, as one would expect, offers an extensive and rigorous program through its school of dental medicine. Not only do students receive a crash course regarding college curriculum but they also execute labs and learn thoroughly on the mouth-to-body connection. Moreover, daily sessions include details about the college admissions process followed by an intimate panel discussion with members of Harvard’s diversity and inclusion fellowship program.
“If we can convince one middle school student that they can do it and give them guidance on what it might take to get there, then we create a ripple effect. We’ve now helped one more person to get there, and this person will become another advocate for countless others,” reaffirmed Mindy Truong, Senior Diversity and Inclusion Fellow.
By partnering with global organizations that represent prospective students, HSDM can identify and court well deserving students for its STEM program. The universities offices of Diversity and Inclusion and Admission join with organizations that include: Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, MEDscience, MGH/Revere Cares, Reactions in Action, the National Student Leadership Conference, Seeds of Hope, and Indian Island School.
These connections ensure students that wouldn’t otherwise operate in such spaces have the opportunity that could change their lives or their families lives. In continuation, students who express further interest following the program can join in heightened pipeline programming that includes, but is not limited to, job shadowing with local dentists in their area.
HSDM is also working through a budding pilot program that tasks Diversity and Inclusion staffers with recruitment missions. Just recently, select staffers have given presentations at historically black colleges — Spelman College and Oakwood University — and at least one Atlanta high school.
Insight into Diversity announced Harvard University and other 2018 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award winners this past August.