News Release

UDM Launches New Dental Training Initiative to Recruit and Retain Underserved Students, Address Oral Health Crisis

University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) partnering with MI-AHEC has been selected to successfully implement a yearlong recruitment and retention campaign through the Dental Pipeline National Learning Institute (NLI). Introduced by the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), the premier association serving the dental education community, in partnership with the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, the NLI is a new training program dedicated to increasing recruitment and retention among underserved student communities at dental schools.

The University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry was chosen along with 10 other dental schools to support the NLI’s ultimate goal of creating a diverse workforce of dentists who understand the oral healthcare needs of patients from underserved populations. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, each NLI institution will receive $12,000 along with other support and resources, including a three-day training course about Dental Pipeline best practices, advocacy, and leadership; peer mentor match-ups; access to various online courses; and fundraising and development tutorials.

Other dental schools participating in the NLI include: East Carolina School of Dentistry, Georgia Health Sciences University College of Dental Medicine, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Indiana University School of Dentistry, Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine, Marquette University School of Dentistry, Medical University of South Carolina College of Dental Medicine, Oklahoma University College of Dentistry, University of Minnesota School of Dentistry and University of Nevada, Las Vegas, School of Dental Medicine.

"Our goal for the National Learning Institute is to create an environment that embraces differences so that future dentists can learn effectively," says Kim D'Abreu, ADEA senior vice president for access, diversity, and inclusion. "While working to forge better partnerships between dental schools and their respective communities, we also hope to sound a clarion call about the growing epidemic of oral disease-related deaths among underserved populations due to lack of the 'right' care."

The Dental Pipeline effort is based on the concept that dental institutions can address the access to dental care crisis by recruiting and admitting more students who come from underserved student communities, increasing cultural competency of all students and educating dental students through community rotations in health centers and other safety-net dental settings. These principles served as the basis of a decade-long nationwide effort among dental schools and community partners that have positively impacted dental education and access to care.

“This is a great opportunity to extend the lessons of a decade of dental pipeline activities and foster new partnerships dedicated to improving oral health for underserved people” says Paul Glassman, D.D.S., project director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant that is supporting this initiative and director of the Pacific Center for Special Care at the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry.

More information regarding the Dental Pipeline National Learning Institute can be found at


About the American Dental Education Association
The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) is the voice of dental education. Its members include all U.S. and Canadian dental schools and many allied and advanced dental education programs, corporations, faculty, and students. The mission of ADEA is to lead individuals and institutions of the dental education community to address contemporary issues influencing education, research, and the delivery of oral health care for the health of the public. ADEA’s activities encompass a wide range of research, advocacy, faculty development, meetings, and communications like the esteemed Journal of Dental Education, as well as the dental school admissions services AADSAS, PASS, and CAAPID.

About the Pacific Center for Special Care at the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
The Pacific Center for Special Care is an organization within the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry committed to improving the oral health of underserved people on the local, state and federal level. The Center has created best-practice models of, and advocates for, improved access to dental care for anyone who faces challenges receiving oral health services through the traditional oral health care system. This includes groups and individuals who have difficulty maintaining good oral health or accessing oral health services because of medical, physical, social, economic, and geographic conditions. The Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry is highly regarded for its humanistic model of education that respects the dignity of each individual and fosters limitless potential for growth; accelerated year-round pre-doctoral program where students are able to complete four academic years of instruction in three calendar years; and innovation in dental curriculum, including comprehensive patient care and competency-based education.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change. For 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. Follow the Foundation on Twitter ( or Facebook (

Release date: December 18, 2012

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The University of Detroit Mercy is Michigan's largest private Catholic University, with more than 100 academic majors and programs. Sponsored by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and the Sisters of Mercy, the University has campuses located in downtown and northwest Detroit.

UDM is one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities and the largest of 17 Mercy institutions of higher education in the United States. For the 15th consecutive year, University of Detroit Mercy is listed in the top tier of Midwest regional universities in the 2016 edition of the U.S. News & World Report's "Best Colleges."