only 337 applicants to dental schools in the united states were
African-American out of a total applicant pool of 6,735.
Minority entry into the dental profession is slippinga downward
trend that is particularly disturbing with regard to African Americans.
In 2000, only 337 applicants to dental schools in the United States
were African- American out of a total applicant pool of 6,735. And
in the U.S. as a whole, with a population of approximately 35 million
African Americans, only about 6,000 are dentists.
To help broaden
access to dental education for a more richly diverse pool of applicants,
the NYU College of Dentistry has joined forces with key New York
State legislators to identify and motivate highly qualified African-American
young people and other underrepresented minorities to see dentistry
as a career option. Our premise is twofold: (1) the sooner a young
person starts thinking about a future career path, the better; and
(2) local legislators are heroes to their young constituents and
can positively influence their career choices. Subsequently, if
a student applies to NYUCD and is accepted on the basis of strong
academic credentials, potential for achievement, and financial needand
if she or he is personally recommended by a participating legislatorthe
applicant will be eligible to receive a scholarship in that legislators
Among the legislators
who have already endorsed this initiative are Assemblymember Herman
D. Farrell, Jr., chairman of the New York State Assemblys
Ways and Means Committee; Assemblymember Keith L. T. Wright, chairman
of the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators;
Assemblymember Roger L. Green, chairman of the New York State Black,
Puerto Rican, and Hispanic Legislative Caucus; Assemblymember Alexander
B. Pete Grannis, chairman of the New York State Assembly Insurance
Committee; and Assembly-member Adriano Espaillat, chairman of the
New York State Task Force on New Americans and vice-chair of the
Black and Puerto Rican Caucus. Many additional legislators are expected
to take part as the initiative moves forward.
have offered to sponsor outreach programs in high schools in their
communities that offer strong programs in the sciences and a large
African-American student population, such as the Frederick Douglass
Academy and Thurgood Marshall High School, both in Harlem, and the
Science Skills High School in Brooklyn.
conducted a full-day program at the Frederick Douglass Academy sponsored
by Assemblymember Farrell, whose district office is next door. Ms.
Novella L. Jones, assistant dean for admissions and student affairs,
spoke about the benefits and rewards of pursuing a dental career
and encouraged students to start thinking now about colleges that
offer an excellent predental curriculum. Other speakers included
Ms. Connie Turner, coordinator of the Smiling Faces, Going Places
mobile dental care program, and a group of students from the Student
National Dental Association. Afterward, the students boarded the
Smiling Faces, Going Places van for dental screenings and photos
with Assemblymember Farrell. A follow-up field trip to NYUCD is
squamous cell carcinoma - the most common oral cancer.
Oral Cancer Screenings Again Part of NYU Cancer Awareness Month
For the second
year in a row, volunteers from NYUCDs Faculty Practice North,
based at the NYU Medical Center, provided free oral cancer screenings
to the general public throughout February as part of NYU Cancer
Awareness Month. Sponsored by NYUs Rita J. and Stanley H.
Kaplan Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of only 37 National Cancer
Institutedesignated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation,
the event marked the eighth consecutive year that the NYU Medical
Center has sponsored this program, and the second year that it has
offered oral cancer screenings.
participants were screened this year, with seven people recommended
for follow-up care, said Barbara Donofrio, manager of the
NYU Dental Faculty Practice. This is a dramatic increase in
follow-ups from last year, and a clear indication that our involvement
is having an impact on peoples lives.