Creating Inclusion and Belonging for LGBTQIA+ People in Dental Education

The LGBTQIA+ community faces barriers to equity in dental education settings. Across 68 accredited predoctoral dental education programs in the US, 61% of schools have a diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative, but only 21% listed equity in the school’s mission, vision, or objectives. Recent survey research done by the American Institute of Dental Public Health (AIDPH) of dental students and faculty found that roughly 50% felt their school environment supported an inclusive learning/teaching environment. Most respondents noted there were very few dedicated comprehensive clinical care curricula in their schools for supporting LGBTQIA+ oral health care, indicating a gap in workforce development toward future clinical patient care. There is a need to determine what actions and/or changes are needed to make dental education settings welcoming and accessible for LGBTQIA+ students and faculty. In collaboration with AIDPH and the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), this study will create a compendium of current dental school LGBTQIA+-affirming programs for broader awareness and adoption.