10:03 AM

DentaQuest Contributes $100,000 to University Research Projects Supporting Students of Color Entering the Dental Profession

Investments include programs at Meharry Medical College and UTMB (University of Texas Medical Branch) Galveston

DentaQuest recently announced an investment in research programs designed to support students of color and increase diversity in the dental profession.

With this investment, DentaQuest is advancing research dedicated to growing the pipeline of students from communities of color to careers in dental care. DentaQuest is providing $50,000 to each of two university research projects. Meharry Medical College in Tennessee is investigating ways to expand existing pathways into dentistry for students of color. UTMB (University of Texas Medical Branch) Galveston is developing best practice models for interprofessional care delivery in underserved communities.

“Ultimately, the goal for these two programs is to identify replicable ways to support students’ academic success and subsequent success in community practice,” said Steve Pollock, DentaQuest president and CEO. “Increasing the representation of dental providers across the country starts by enabling student success with the proper tools, mentoring and other supports. With research like this, we’re getting one step closer to a more inclusive profession and community.”

Meharry Medical College, College of Dentistry, Center for Educational Development Support

Through a combination of interviews and focus groups, this study aims to identify sustainable approaches to recruiting and retaining Black, Latinx, and American Indian students interested in dental careers with an emphasis on dental professional training as an essential period of transition. The study team will deliver a final report containing specific steps to which dental schools, dental professional associations, the dental care industry and dental philanthropy can commit in order to advance equity in student recruitment, provide support during the academic program, and upon successful completion, placement in dental careers.

Meharry Medical College is one of two HBCUs (historically Black colleges and universities) with a dental college.

UTMB (University of Texas Medical Branch) Galveston

This research will lead to a best practice model for community-based interprofessional care that values oral health as essential to the overall health and well-being of patients. Researchers will test protocols for whole person interventions and preventive care at St. Vincent's House, a cooperative effort with UTMB, and at St. Vincent's Clinic, an interprofessional student-run clinic that caters to underserved populations, providing quality health and dental care to over 3,000 patients each year.

UTMB Galveston has graduated more minority physicians than any other school in the state and has been ranked as one of the top five medical schools for graduating Hispanics and one of the best for Hispanic students by Hispanic Business magazine.

Today’s announcement is DentaQuest’s latest investment in university programs dedicated to addressing racial inequity and advancing the dental profession. Previously, DentaQuest announced a $30,000 investment in three university externship programs and a $20,000 investment in a dental school admissions pilot program with the Society of American Indian Dentists.

For more information on this and other donations, check out DentaQuest’s corporate citizenship resources.

About DentaQuest

DentaQuest is a purpose-driven oral health care company dedicated to improving the oral health of all. We do this through Preventistry® – our all-in approach to better care, expanded access, value-based financing, and innovative solutions. We manage dental and vision benefits for 30+ million Americans and direct patient care through our network of more than 75 oral health centers in 6 states. We provide outcomes-based, cost-effective dental solutions for Medicaid and CHIP, Medicare Advantage, small and large businesses, and individuals nationwide. And, we've invested more than $230 million in grants, programs and other corporate citizenship efforts to achieve measurably healthier communities across the country. By advancing prevention-focused oral health, we will achieve better overall health for everyone. Learn more at and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.