The black and white of dental education in the United States enrollment and graduation trends

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Data from the American Association of Dental Schools (AADS) and American Dental Association (ADA) were evaluated for trends in dental school enrollment and graduation. In the last 20 years, African-American enrollment has varied from a low of 4.7% (1980-1981) to a high of 6.9% (1988-1989). This figure declined to 5.2% in 1997-1998. African-American graduation percentages in the last 20 years have varied between 3.4% (1979) and 5.4% (1996). The future percentage of graduating African-American dentists is projected to decline. Historically, minority dental education institutions have educated a significant percentage of African Americans and continue to educate approximately 40% of graduating African-American dentists. Strategies to increase recruitment of African Americans include: 1. Greater support for minority primary and secondary education including the establishment of mentoring programs. 2. Dental education outreach programs to minority secondary school and college students. 3. An increase in affirmative action programs. 4. Greater support for minority dental education institutions. 5. Student loan forgiveness programs, which aid recruitment of minority faculty and dental students who either teach or serve minority communities. (J Natl Med Assoc. 2000;92: 536-543.).

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