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ADA’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

The diversity experience of the ADA stems from long-running programs for engaging a wide range of members and non-members in Association affairs; reducing oral health disparities across population groups; leadership development for diverse dentists; diversity education for ADA leaders; and encouraging under-represented students from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds to pursue dental careers.

Notable progress has been made over the last several years.

  • 2015—ADA elevated its focus on advancing diversity and inclusion across all levels of the ADA, national, state and local, through its 2015-2019 Diversity and Inclusion Plan, which has three primary goals:

    1. A Diverse Membership: Build Membership Diversity
    2. An Inclusive Organization: Foster an Inclusive and Welcoming Environment
    3. A System of Sustainability: Institutionalize Sustainability
  • 2014—The ADA continued its work to increase leadership diversity, including expansion of its Institute for Diversity in Leadership from 12 to 16 participants and approved funding for a new leadership development network designed to increase the pool of potential ADA leaders from diverse backgrounds.
  • 2012—The ADA implemented a two-year diversity and inclusion plan with goals designed to enhance diversity and inclusion within its membership, leadership, and educational resources.
  • 2013—In support of its Diversity and Inclusion Plan, the ADA supported increasing leadership diversity as a strategic focus and launched a process to gain deeper insights into increasing leadership diversity across all levels of the ADA. The ADA also made progress in expanding diverse perspectives to inform the Board of Trustees in its decision-making process.
  • 2011—The definition of diversity was expanded beyond membership diversity.
    • Resolution 54H-2011. Resolved, that ADA diversity is defined as differences related to personal characteristics, demographics, and professional choices.
  • 2010—The year was pivotal for the ADA regarding diversity and inclusion with the historic 2010 National Summit on Diversity in Dentistry and the investiture of Dr. Raymond Gist as the Association’s first African-American president. The Diversity Summit Presidents’ group, stemming from the Summit continues to meet on a regular basis.

In order to accomplish the ADA mission, a continued commitment to diversity and inclusion is critical.  Although diversity and inclusion progress has been made, more work is needed for ADA’s governance, programs and policies to advance diversity in the dental profession and nation’s population. Moving forward, ADA’s strong appreciation for both diversity and inclusion positions it for greater success with new and expanded priorities.