News Release

MI-AHEC’s Southeast Regional Center and UDM School of Dentistry Offer Free Program to Address Shortage of Dentists in Michigan

Summer Initiative Gives Aspiring Dentists Chance to Brush Up on Academic and Job Skills - The Michigan Area Health Education Center’s (AHEC) Southeast Regional Center and the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) School of Dentistry have teamed up to offer aspiring dental students the chance to brush up on their academic, job readiness, and networking skills this summer. The Summer Enrichment Program at the University of Detroit Mercy is a free, six-week initiative that will run from Monday, May 19 through Friday, June 27, 2014. Its purpose is to expose students to careers in dentistry, increase the number of disadvantaged students pursuing dental careers, and help students become successful dental school applicants.

Selected students will strengthen their academic skills; network with dental students, faculty, and professionals and students; and participate in hands-on activities, seminars, workshops, and other active learning opportunities. They will also practice strategies for taking the Dental Admission Test (DAT) and receive assistance with the dental school application process.

Michigan AHEC, a program of Wayne State University, seeks to improve access to primary care in underserved communities. Through a network of regional centers, Michigan AHEC prepares underrepresented and disadvantaged youth for health care careers, promotes clinical training opportunities for students in shortage areas, and provides continuing education programs for health professionals. The Southeast Regional Center implements AHEC goals in nine counties: Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne. The regional center is hosted by the Greater Detroit Area Health Council, an organization that develops and evaluates innovative solutions that improve the health and well-being of people living in southeast Michigan.

“We are proud to support the Summer Enrichment Program,” said Joie West, executive director of Michigan AHEC’s Southeast Regional Center. “This initiative helps us achieve our mission to prepare young people for opportunities in the growing healthcare industry and make sure that Michigan residents have access to primary care professionals. We are pleased to work with the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry to provide students with access to training, tools, and resources they need to succeed and to increase the number of dentists in our state.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Services and Resources Administration (2012), 48 of Michigan’s 83 counties are designated as dental health professional shortage areas. The cities of Detroit (Wayne County) and Flint (Genesee County), which are serviced by Michigan AHEC’s Southeast Regional Center, are shortage areas.

“We are excited about continuing this collaboration with Michigan AHEC and its Southeast Regional Center,” said Dr. Deirdre Young, director of multicultural affairs and clinical assistant professor for the University of Detroit Mercy and director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded Dental Pipeline National Learning Institute program at UDM. “By working with our partners on pipeline programs, we are able to offer students hands-on exposure to the field of dentistry and work to address the shortage of dentists from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Detroit’s population is 82 percent African American. According to the American Dental Association, less than 4 percent of dentists in the United States are African American. Michigan AHEC and the UDM School of Dentistry are working together to increase the number of underrepresented minorities and disadvantaged youth who pursue careers as health professionals.

The Summer Enrichment Program is open to undergraduate students that have completed at least two years of college. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or nationals, should demonstrate interest in pursuing a dental degree, and have an overall grade point average of 2.75. Interested students must complete the online application and submit a resume, three letters of recommendation, and academic transcripts. Participants must also be economically or educationally disadvantaged.

Applications must be received by Monday, January 27, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. Students can review eligibility requirements and access the online application at Students can also request applications by contacting Yvita Fox, coordinator of pipeline programs, at (313) 494-6652 or

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The Michigan Area Health Education Center strengthens the state’s health care workforce by recruiting, training, and retaining health professionals committed to increasing access to primary care. For more information, visit or call (313) 577-5161.

Release date: November 14, 2013

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