Diversity + Outreach

Diversity and the dental school experience

On May 21, ASDA celebrated the United Nations’ World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development for the third consecutive year. According to the UN, “The day provides us with an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity … [it] is a driving force of development, not only with respect to economic growth, but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life.”

ASDA chooses to honor this holiday because we believe that diversity plays a crucial role in our experience as dental students and future practitioners. According to the E-4 Sensitivity to Diversity Policy, ASDA defines diversity as “differences among individual characteristics, professional choices or demographics including, but not limited to: race, religion, ethnic background, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identification and gender expression.”

Each group faces unique challenges we cannot always fully comprehend. However, our hope is that spreading awareness about diversity will shape us into a generation of increasingly compassionate health care providers.  

This year, nearly every ASDA district participated in our Instagram-based diversity initiative. We asked ASDA members to explain how they incorporate diversity into their dental school experience and what diversity means to them. Each repost on ASDA’s national Instagram was seen by an average of 600 people. Check out ASDA’s Instagram to watch the Diversity Day highlight. Thanks to everyone who shared their meaning of inclusivity with our dental community.

Continue to think about some ways your school celebrates your colleagues, staff and patients. Here at Roseman ASDA, we’ve established a cultural chair position, tasked with organizing initiatives that highlight diversity in our student body and faculty members. Some of these events include:

  • Social media spotlights on individuals and their cultural backgrounds/traditions
  • Interviews with our dental faculty members who completed their training in other countries
  • A cultural fashion show during the annual school talent showcase
  • Lunch and learns on history and traditional foods shared during major world holidays (Diwali, Cinco de Mayo, Chinese New Year, etc.)

We hope that this year’s World Day for Cultural Diversity initiative sparked conversations and creative ways for you to incorporate diversity into your dental student experience. After all, it is these interactions that teach us how to celebrate our differences and appreciate what makes us all human.

~Joell Chen, Roseman ’21, ASDA Council on Professional Issues Associate

Joell Chen

Joell Chen serves as chair of ASDA’s Council on Professional Issues and is a D4 student at Roseman College of Dental Medicine. She is pursuing a General Practice Residency upon graduation and looks forward to serving as a future National Health Service Corps provider. Major personal interests include hiking, camping and making the most of Utah’s great outdoors.

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