New careers program aims to diversify dental profession


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a new plan Dental Career Exploration: A Journey into Practice Delta Dental of Washington is launching a program this month in Tukwila to address a critical dental workforce shortage, particularly in historically underrepresented communities, after a successful pilot.

Led by Nicolette Slaughter, manager of workforce development programs at Delta Dental, the program provides two days of career orientation and workshops to middle and high school students from across Washington state, including hands-on activities, opportunities for job shadowing at partner clinics, and training. Pathways to potential careers in dentistry.

“We are raising awareness about the dental profession, but we are also emphasizing the importance of oral health because we serve historically underserved communities where oral health disparities remain prevalent,” Slaughter said.

Slaughter and her team recently visited Foster High School in Tukwila to meet with high school students to discuss the importance of oral health, help them better understand the dental field, and share the types of jobs they can explore.

“Exposure to dentistry through this program has ignited a passion for our scholars, many of whom previously thought this career was out of reach,” said Foster High School Principal LaTanya R. Parker. )explain. “I believe empowerment, access and opportunity are critical to supporting scholars in achieving their higher education goals in dentistry or other professional fields.”

According to a 2020 report from the American Dental Association, there is currently a severe lack of diversity in the dental workforce. More than 70% of the dental workforce is white, 18% is Asian, 5.9% is Hispanic, 3.8% is black, and 2.2% is American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander.

this Dental Career Exploration The program aims to ameliorate this imbalance and help today's students become tomorrow's dentists in historically underrepresented communities.

“We are raising awareness about the dental profession, but we are also emphasizing the importance of oral health because we serve historically underserved communities where oral health disparities remain prevalent,” Slaughter said. “We also work with local dental practices who are willing to provide training or job shadowing to these young people. We really spend time talking to them because we are talking to a community who may have never considered a career in dentistry themselves.

For more information Dental Career Exploration: A Journey into Practice programs, visits www.deltadentalwa.com or email nslaughter@deltadentalwa.com.

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