Celebrating diversity

Photo submitted by Michael Chew, South Carolina ’21

In 2002, the United Nations General Assembly declared May 21 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. In honor of this day, ASDA’s Council on Professional Issues asked dental students to discuss the importance of diversity and how their chapter celebrates members’ unique differences.

Emilio Tapia, Pacific ’20

Why is diversity important to you?
Diversity is important to me because of the difference it can make in any organization. The world is a diverse place and having an organization that imitates this is important. Diversity allows individuals to foster creativity and innovation and gives us the right tools to solve the problems of tomorrow. Having peers around you who come from a diverse background allow you to look at things with a different perspective. As future health care providers, it is crucial for us to appreciate and celebrate diversity, as we will be working with colleagues from different backgrounds and treating patients from different walks of life.

How does your chapter celebrate diversity?
At Pacific, diversity and inclusion have been integrated into the dental school experience. We are lucky to have a diverse student body, as well as faculty and staff, and this is celebrated throughout the year. One of the best examples of this is our annual Bridge Builders event. During this event, students and faculty are invited to showcase their culture through food and performances of their countries. This event took place a few weeks ago, and I was amazed at how many people from all different parts of the world are part of the Dugoni dental school, which makes our institution such an incredible place.

Regina DelaCruz, Western ’20

Why is diversity important to you?
There is a richness in life when we embody diversity and are surrounded by different cultures. To me, diversity means embracing the communities we live in, while sharing the unique pieces of our identity with others. As a Filipina-American, I love being able to share the language, cultural dances and traditions of the Philippines. The diverse communities across the United States allow me to learn and value the traditions of other countries. This unparalleled diversity empowers us to deepen our awareness of others and to enhance the care that we provide.

How does your chapter celebrate diversity?
WesternU ASDA celebrates and embodies diversity through the stories of our members and commitment to outreach. Together, we have collaborated with other WesternU health disciplines such as the colleges of osteopathic medicine, podiatry and nursing to provide care to the underserved. Teaming up with the Hispanic Student Dental Association, we participate in health fairs, providing oral screenings and dental outreach to serve the Hispanic community of Southern California. The members of our WesternU family and our involvement with other communities have given me a deeper appreciation of the value of cultural diversity.

Photo submitted by Tashana Detwiler, East Carolina ’21

Why is diversity important to you?
We are fortunate to have a multitude of opportunities to learn from and teach one another. In every moment, we must celebrate and embrace the individuality of others and allow it to empower us as we embark on our own destinies. Diversity is so important to me because it is imperative in my becoming an excellent dentist, a true friend and a good person.

How does your chapter celebrate diversity?
Privyet! Thanks to a fellow classmate, I have learned how to say hello in Russian. However, that is only a small glimpse of what my chapter has to offer. I have learned the Pakistani way of putting respect on someone’s name, the logistics behind names in Egyptian culture, eaten more traditional foods of Asia than ever before and appreciated the sweet sounds of Nigerian music. We celebrate by constantly sharing and connecting with each other, and I am beyond grateful.


The American Student Dental Association is a national student-run organization that protects and advances the rights, interests and welfare of dental students.

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