From left: Marcus Johnson, Mrs. Beverly Deas, Executive Associate Dean for Administration Steven Donofrio, Assistant Dean for Admissions Novella Jones,
Dr. Gerald Deas, and Mrs. Rosalyn Smith (Marcus’s mother).
Dean Alfano has announced the establishment of a four-year, $100,000 scholarship in the name of Gerald W. Deas, MD, a physician, patient advocate, media personality, social activist, and public health
crusader. The Gerald W. Deas Scholarship in Dental Education seeks to increase the number of underrepresented young people
pursuing careers in dentistry by working with community leaders to identify highly qualified individuals from underrepresented groups and to motivate them to choose dentistry as a career option.
“This new award mechanism,” said Dean Alfano, “is
designed to begin to change the demographics within dental education
so that the profession can be more diverse.”
The award operates on the premise that key community
leaders are heroes to the young people they interact with and can
positively influence their career choices. To be eligible for the
program, an applicant must be identified and personally recommended
by an invited community leader who has demonstrated a commitment
to increasing the diversity of the dental profession. The applicant
must then be accepted by NYUCD on the basis of strong academic credentials
and financial need. If these criteria are met, the applicant becomes
eligible to receive a scholarship in the community leader’s name.
In addition to maintaining a
solid academic record, the program requires each scholarship recipient
to spend a specific number of hours doing outreach and mentoring high school
students in underrepresented groups.
The first recipient of the Gerald W.
Deas Scholarship is Marcus Johnson, a graduate of Rutgers University, who
began his dental studies at NYU in fall 2004.
For over 40 years,
Dr. Deas has been one of New York City’s most respected and
dedicated physician-educators and an icon within the city’s
African-American community. A professor of preventive medicine
and director of health education communication at Downstate
Medical Center in Brooklyn. Dr. Deas was the first black
medical reporter for television’s “McCreary
Report,” and continues to write a weekly medical column for the Amsterdam
He has devoted several TV shows to championing
dentistry as an attractive career option for young people and
has also sponsored outreach led by minority NYU dental students
to local high schools.