Components of effective outreach and recruitment programs for underrepresented minority and low-income dental students

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Dental schools in the Pipeline, Profession, and Practice: Community-Based Dental Education program that increased the number of underrepresented minority (URM) and low-income (LI) students in their predoctoral programs used focused approaches in their outreach, recruitment, and retention initiatives. Various combinations of approaches were used by the fifteen schools that received funding during Phase I of the program, which spanned 2003 to 2007. URM enrollment in the Pipeline schools increased from 184 students in 2003 to 246 in 2007. These enrollment numbers represent 16 and 20 percent of the first-year class in the Pipeline schools in 2003 and 2007, respectively. If the historically minority-serving institutions-Howard University College of Dentistry and Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry-are removed from these totals, the numbers changed from 100 in 2003 to 144 in 2007, representing 10 and 13 percent of the first-year classes. This chapter describes the approaches used by the fifteen Pipeline schools to increase the number of URM and LI students recruited to and enrolled in their predoctoral programs. It describes the internal infrastructural and organizational approaches these dental schools used to increase awareness about oral health careers among URM and LI students and to recruit applicants from these populations to their educational programs. The effective partnerships and collaborations these dental schools established with each other and external stakeholders to bolster their career outreach and recruitment efforts and some of the informal efforts that supported increased diversity are also examined.

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