ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership

The ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership (IDL) is designed to enhance the leadership skills of dentists who belong to racial, ethnic and/or gender backgrounds that have been traditionally underrepresented in leadership roles.

Since 2003, the Institute program has provided a diverse group of dentists with opportunities to:

  • Enhance their leadership skills and gain leadership experience
  • Strengthen their professional network and build a lifetime of supportive relationships
  • Set new leadership paths within the profession and communities

There is no fee to apply and participation is open to all active, licensed dentists, residing in the U.S. Ideal candidates will have demonstrated leadership potential within dental associations or their communities.

The ADA thanks Henry Schein, Inc. and Crest + Oral-B for their continued support of the Institute for Diversity in Leadership.

ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership

Apply for the Institute

Each year thirty-five U.S. dentists are selected to participate in this extraordinary, tuition-free program. Participants are reimbursed for travel expenses to attend three sessions held at ADA Headquarters in Chicago. The Institute Class of 2023–2024 will convene in Chicago for two-day sessions on the following dates

December 5-6, 2024
August 14-15, 2025
December 4-5, 2025

Promising leaders, who are members of racial, ethnic and/or gender groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in leadership, are encouraged to apply.

Institute Application Form
Candidate Reference Form

There is no fee to apply and participation is open to all active, licensed dentists, residing in the U.S. Ideal candidates will have demonstrated leadership potential within dental associations or their communities. Application deadline is April 5, 2024.

To complete the IDL Application you will need to provide:

  • Contact and demographic information
  • Educational history
  • Employment history
  • Names of two references
  • Answers to the following essay questions:
  1. Please share your reasons for participating in the ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership. What are your strengths as a leader and what leadership skills do you want to develop further? After completing the program, what kinds of leadership/volunteer roles would you hope to fill with dental associations, other associations, community organizations or other organizations?
  2. Please describe a situation or project where you demonstrated your talent or promise as a leader. Please include information on results and lessons learned.
  3. Please discuss an issue of social or political concern that impacts the dental profession or your community. Why is this issue important and what could be done to resolve the issue at the local, state or national levels? Would you consider pursuing a leadership project in this area through the Institute for Diversity in Leadership?

If you have questions, please contact: Susana Galvan at 312.440.2809 or

Prepare for an Individual Experience

Applicants should be prepared to commit significant personal time to their individual leadership experiences. In addition to attending all three of the sessions listed above, the full-year program requires all class members to actively participate in:

  • Monthly 60-minute class calls between Chicago sessions with Institute faculty, advisors and staff.
  • An online community, for class communications and updates.
  • Developing a leadership project within your dental association or community.
Expand Your Leadership Network

The ADA is proud to work with educators from the highly regarded Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, and Duke University, Fuqua School of Business, in bringing the Institute to life.

The Institute’s emphasis is fostering personal leadership skills. The program seeks to build a lifetime network of supportive relationships among alumni as they move on to leadership roles for their communities and the profession. As such, participants are encouraged to network with, and seek insight from, the ADA Board of Trustees, leaders from the program’s corporate sponsors and non-profit organizations, faculty, program alumni and ADA staff.

Alumni of the Institute serve as volunteer leaders at the local, state and national levels of ADA and other organizations. Examples of roles include:

  • Delegates and alternates in the ADA House of delegates.
  • Members of the ADA Board’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and officers and members of boards and councils of local and state dental associations.
  • Leaders with the National Dental Association, the Hispanic Dental Association, the Society of American Indian Dentists, and the American Association of Women Dentists.
  • Leaders for Mission of Mercy Programs and Veterans’ Day care events.
  • Architects of new leadership programs at the state and local levels.
Make a Difference in Your Community

An integral part of the learning experience is having the participants put the leadership principles and training they’ve received to practical use. Participants select an issue or challenge in their community, organization or the profession and develop and execute a plan to address it. Institute faculty, national mentors and ADA staff continue to act as ongoing resources throughout the development and execution of the projects.

Alumni fill leadership roles in organized dentistry and community organizations across the nation. One example of alumni contributions to oral health is Dr. Daniel Nam, class of 2013. As part of his leadership project, Dr. Nam created a nonprofit called Just Health 510.