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Dental school ranks high in diversity

Tufts School of Dental Medicine is ranked seventh among the nation's 54 dental schools in the number of African-American students enrolled during the 2001-02 academic year, according to the American Dental Education Association (ADEA). The school also enrolled the fifth highest number of Hispanic students during the same year.

In fact, the ADEA says, Tufts was one of only three dental schools in the country to rank in the top 10 for the number of African-American and Hispanic dental students enrolled. The other two were NYU and Temple. During 2001-02, Tufts had 25 African-American and 40 Hispanic students enrolled in its pre-doctoral program.

"This broad-based diversity speaks positively to our efforts to increase the diversity of the student body and the enrollment of traditionally under-represented minority students at Tufts," said Mark Gonthier, the dental school's associate dean for admissions and student affairs. "These efforts come at a time when the rapid growth of the nation's minority population makes it increasingly difficult to render culturally informed and sensitive patient care."

Gonthier, dental Dean Lonnie H. Norris, faculty member Dr. Margaret Howard and Charley Cheney, D04, recently returned from an ADEA meeting in New York that focused on student and faculty diversity in dental education.

"Of increasing alarm to dental education leaders is the fact that fewer African-American and Hispanic students are enrolled in the nation's 54 dental schools today than there were from 1984 to 1995," Gonthier said. "Tufts School of Dental Medicine remains one of the few exceptions to this unsettling trend."