UIC Urban Health Program is Changing the Future of Oral Health
UIC College of Dentistry

Changing the future of oral health through diversity and inclusion.

Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Equality Starts at UIC
UIC is proud to be recognized as having one of the most ethnically and culturally rich college campuses in America.

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is one of the nation’s most diverse public research universities. As a federally designated Minority Serving Institution, we are a living, learning, and working community that embraces our diversity. Our aim is to ensure that neither difference nor disadvantage impede the intellectual and professional achievement of our campus community. Every day we welcome students, staff, and faculty from a variety of racial, ethnic, and class backgrounds, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities to achieve this aim. At UIC, diversity is not an end in itself, but a vehicle for advancing access, equity, and inclusion.


My favorite thing about being a student here is the diversity. I get to learn from people with so many different backgrounds, cultures and ways of life. It’s a very welcoming student experience.
Diversity at the College of Dentistry
The College is a community of diverse, life-long learners who embody and embrace the richness and value of diversity.
White Coat Group Photo
UIC College of Dentistry DMD Class of 2021

The UIC College of Dentistry prides itself on inclusion. In declaring that diversity and inclusion are our core values, we have dedicated ourselves in building a culture of excellence grounded in principles of equity and social justice.  We recognize and embrace professionalism, humanism, collegiality and diversity of age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, religious belief and thought, not only for our students, but also for our faculty, staff, and patients. 

Our welcoming environment and diverse student body engenders deeper learning and provides you with new perspectives on life. Diversity is fundamental to everything we do at the College of Dentistry. In declaring that diversity is a core value, we dedicate ourselves to building a culture of excellence that is grounded in principles of equity and social justice. The College, by policies, practices and spirit, is committed to maintaining a welcoming, inclusive and culturally vibrant learning environment.

Our learning environment recognizes and embraces professionalism, collegiality and diversity of age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, religious beliefs and thought not only for students, but also for faculty, staff, and patients.

The College engages in a continual review of its organizational culture and climate as we recognize the ever-changing world national and local cultural landscapes. The College has developed strategies, programs, and services that advance diversity and address the needs of diverse populations. This includes focused and sustainable programs to recruit and retain diverse students, faculty, and staff.

Definition of Diversity at the UIC College of Dentistry

The UIC College of Dentistry utilizes the University’s definition of Diversity created by the UIC College of Education. We define diversity as the totality of the ways that people are similar and different, including race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation and identity, disability, national origin and citizenship status, age, language, culture, religion, and economic status, particularly when those similarities and differences are used as a basis for unfair advantage and inequity. The College’s working definition of diversity reflects our firm commitment to inclusion, access, and equity by encompassing groups that have been historically under-represented, excluded, marginalized, or otherwise discriminated against in dental education. The University’s definition of diversity can be found in the A Mosaic for UIC Transformation University of Illinois at Chicago Diversity Strategic Planning.

Office of Student and Diversity Affairs

The Office of Student and Diversity Affairs develops and implements policies and practices to achieve diversity, inclusion, equity and equality among our students, faculty and staff.  The Office of Student and Diversity Affairs serves as a resource for the College Community by creating a learning environment that promotes acceptance and appreciation of the differences in age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, national origin, disability and religion beliefs. The office coordinates trainings in diversity and cultural competency as well as provides assistance, feedback and information related to the student recruitment and enrollment, access to programs and activities. 

UIC College of Dentistry Urban Health Program

The mission of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry’s Urban Health Program is to recruit, retain, and graduate underrepresented racial/ethnic minority students, specifically African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans, in the Oral Health Sciences, and to expand educational opportunities for these populations at the pre-college (K-12), undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels.

UIC COD Urban Health Program

Diversity Advisory Committee
Diversity Advisory Committee

The College's Diversity Advisory Committee plays a pivotal role in fostering inclusively and multicultural awareness at the College.  The Committee oversees the College's diversity strategic plan, goals and programs.  The Diversity Advisory Committee activities include sponsoring Diversity Day and diversity lunch and learns that showcase the diversity present in our students, faculty and staff with an emphasis on diversity in healthcare.

Land Acknowledgement

I recognize and acknowledge that the University of Illinois sits on the land of multiple native nations.  I acknowledge and honor the original peoples of the Chicagoland area – the Three Fires Confederacy, Potawatomi, Odawa and Ojibwe Nations, as well as other Tribal Nations that know this area as their ancestral homeland, including the Menominee, Ho-Chunk, Miami, Peoria, and Sac and Fox.

These lands were the traditional birthright of indigenous peoples who were forcibly removed and who have faced two centuries of struggle for survival and identity in the wake of dispossession. Let us acknowledge the ground on which we stand so that all who come here know that we recognize our responsibilities to the peoples of that land and that we strive to address that history so that it guides our work in the present and the future.

I further acknowledge that this land is the current home to one of the largest urban Native American communities in the United States. Native people are part of Chicago’s past, present, and future, and it is our responsibility to acknowledge these Nations and to work with them as we move forward as a more inclusive institution.

University of Illinois System Land Acknowledgement

Diversity Strategic Plan

For more information on the College of Dentistry's Diversity Programs:

Dr. Darryl D. Pendleton
Associate Dean for Student and Diversity Affairs
801 South Paulina Street, Room 104B

Dr. Rhonna Cohen, DDS, PhD
Associate Professor, Director and Advisor of Pre-Dental Undergraduate Program
801 South Paulina Street, Room 104B

Dr. Sheela Raja
Director of Resilience Center
801 S. Paulina Street, Room 104

Ms. Carolyn Feller
Director of Student and Diversity Affairs
801 South Paulina Street, Room 104D

Ms. Braulia Espinosa
Director of Student and Diversity Affairs
801 South Paulina Street, Room 104C

Ms. Meah Rogers, MPH
Assistant Director of Student and Diversity Affairs
801 South Paulina Street, Room 104

Ms. Laura Macias
Admissions Specialist
801 South Paulina Street, Room 104

Ms. Millie Mendez
Student Advocate
801 South Paulina Street, Room 104

Ms. Hannah Bonecutter
Graduate Student Worker
801 South Paulina Street, Room 104