• April 28, 2018


UIC dental students are not only training to be excellent clinicians and oral health scientists -- they are preparing to be the next generation of oral health leaders.

Our college community is woven by a richly diverse fabric of cultural and professional backgrounds. Students engage in a number of extracurricular activities and participate in organizations that enrich their dental school experience.  From US and international extramural clinic rotations, or running a volunteer dental clinic that serves the homeless; to advocating policy change in organized dentistry, and mentoring peers through student organization events -- our students are learning while giving back to our communities of need. 

Recently, the college was represented by student leaders nominated to participate in the 2018 ADEA Student Diversity Leadership Program, a two-day collection of events at the 2018 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition in Orlando, FL.

The ADEA Student Diversity Leadership Program (SDLP) engages dental students from across the United States in a partnership for action, dialogue and collaboration. Participants convene to highlight issues and trends impacting student success with an emphasis on developing an inclusive culture and climate within dental schools while exploring access to leadership opportunities and mentorships.


vert-bar-green20x370.jpg“The Student Diversity Leadership Program is designed to help minority students advocate for the communities that shaped us, hold tight to our identities, and call for more representation across all professional health care fields.”

- Christian Caicedo, DMD Candidate, Class of 2019, HSDA President and Student Council President Elect


Representatives of the UIC COD’s Hispanic Student Dental Association and Student National Dental Association were invited to attend the ADEA SDLP led by Renaisa Anthony, M.D., M.P.H. and Sonya Smith, Ed.D., J.D. The two part program consisted of several sessions regarding the need for inclusion and diversity in professional healthcare, career and leadership development, and developing skills for managing cultural identity.

“Drs. Anthony and Smith did a fantastic job keeping the room energized, inspired and motivated. We embarked on a journey of self-reflection, self-motivation and self-awareness through social activities, leadership personality tests, and various thought provoking tasks,” says Crystal Luna, DMD Candidate, Class of 2020, HSDA Executive Board, President and ADEA Executive Board, Secretary.

“Attending the ADEA Student Diversity Leadership Program was crucial to our success as leaders at UIC. Holding a position in an organization is a title, but inspiring and empowering others, working in the community and being a voice for the voiceless is the true meaning of leadership with or without a title,” says DeVonna Purnell, DMD Candidate, Class of 2019.

The target audience for the ADEA Student Diversity Leadership Program is dental students representing or participating in the Student National Dental Association, Hispanic Student Dental Association and Society of American Indian Dentists, and students who have demonstrated an active commitment to diversity and inclusion within their dental schools or wider campus communities.

Renaisa Anthony, M.D., M.P.H. hosted the ADEA Student Diversity Leadership Program. Dr. Anthony is the Deputy Director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Promotion in the College of Public Health and practices at the Charles Drew Community Health Center. Her professional and personal commitments also include eradicating health disparities among minority communities to achieve health equity among all populations.

“It was encouraging to listen to our peers’ testimonies and realize that we at UIC, are not alone in this experience,” says NaJee Harris, DMD Candidate, Class of 2019.

Students received a certificate of completion and an autographed copy of Compassionate Competency: Healing the Heart of Healthcare by Emelia Sam, a book for healthcare professionals to learn how to use compassion as the foundation of healthcare.


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