We are pleased to announce our newest program here at the School of Dental Medicine: DENTAL ARCH: Achieving Readiness in Careers in Health. The DENTAL ARCH is our pipeline program focused on getting our younger generation excited about and interested in pursuing a career in dental medicine. With a focus on serving our Colorado community, DENTAL ARCH aims to improve access and quality of oral health care to historically underserved communities (URM, rural and low income) by expanding a more diverse dental workforce. Dental ARCH is modeled after best practices in pipeline programs, which research has proven to increase the percent of underrepresented students enrolling in dentistry. Investing in these kinds of programs encourages earlier academic preparedness and higher academic achievement, resulting in a more competitive applicant pool.
Our commitment and focus in this area is grounded in the SDM’s goals of improving oral health for underserved communities by improving access and quality of care. For example, research shows us that students from rural backgrounds are more likely to return to their own communities to serve as health professionals, which improves access to care. Additionally, when patients and providers share the same native language and cultural values, patients demonstrate increased trust, comfort, communication and adherence to treatment plans.
In partnership with local schools, community organizations and businesses and our own ASDA chapter, this fall we have provided dental hands-on career exploration activities to more than 500 middle school, high school and college students who have an interest and aspirations for degrees in either science or health professions. Additionally, we partnered with the Denver Post, Boulder Daily Camera, Longmont Times-Call and the Loveland Reporter-Herald and Newspapers in Education to provide provides online lesson plans and other innovative materials for K-12 teachers to use in their classrooms to promote newspaper literacy, career readiness and academic preparation. Our first edition, Investigating Tooth Decay, can be found http://nieonline.com/coloradonie/ For more information on the pipeline programs, or if you are interested in helping with the pipeline programs, please visit the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.