Building Bridges to a Career in Dentistry

Building Bridges

Building Bridges to a Career in Dentistry

Providing opportunity to students from underrepresented and disadvantaged communities to compete in the School of Dentistry

Historically, Minnesota has been one of the least diverse states in the nation. Recently, that profile has changed. The nonwhite population is projected to grow from 14% in 2005 to 25% in 2035. In addition, the state is currently home to a burgeoning immigrant population and has the largest communities of Somali, Hmong and Liberians in the U.S. Over half of the population growth in the state is minority and tends to be younger. These rapid changed have contributed to oral health care disparities and provide challenges to educate a more diverse healthcare workforce.

The school’s new Building Bridges to a Career in Dentistry Program will provide students from underrepresented and disadvantaged communities with an opportunity to develop the skills needed to successfully compete, enter, and graduate from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. The goal is to begin early in the education process to develop a larger and more competitive applicant pool and, once admitted, to retain students preparing for dental careers.

To accomplish this, the dental school is partnering with the Minneapolis Public Schools to help recruit students participants to the project, and the Minnesota Urban Area Health Education Center, which will connect students with community-based opportunities. Other partners include the University’s College of Biological Sciences and College of Liberal Arts. Each will recruit faculty and teaching assistants to teach courses in the structured programs and help tailor the curriculum to the students’ needs.

The Building Bridges program was launched September 2010. This Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) is funded by the Bureau of Health Professions a component of the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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  • Last modified on January 6, 2014