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J Dent Educ. 2007 Aug;71(8):994-1008.

What enhances underrepresented minority recruitment to dental schools?

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  • 1University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Health Services, School of Public Health, CHS 31-293, 650 C.E. Young Drive South, Campus Box 951772, Los Angeles, CA 90092-1772, USA.


This study examined the factors influencing the proportion of underrepresented minority students (URM) in dental schools. Using a comprehensive recruitment model, it considered the relative importance of community characteristics (population demographics, oral health policies, dental care system, and university environment), dental school characteristics (Pipeline-supported, mission, and financing), and community-based dental education (CBDE) characteristics of the dental school on recruitment of URM students. Data come from a national survey of dental school seniors and a variety of publicly available sources. Three outcome variables measure URM recruitment: percent URM, percent Hispanic, and percent African American in the first year of dental school. Multivariable results revealed that the most important factors predicting a higher percent URM in first-year classes were a higher proportion of URM clinical faculty and graduating students' perceptions that their clinical rotation experience improved their ability to care for diverse groups. For percent Hispanic in the first year, a higher proportion of URM clinical faculty and students spending more time in clinical rotations predicted greater Hispanic recruitment. Graduating students' perceptions that they were less prepared to treat diverse groups were directly associated with the proportion of Hispanic students in the class. For a higher percent of African Americans in the first-year class, the most important factors were a higher proportion of blacks in the county, support from the national Pipeline program, and graduating students' perceptions of better preparedness to integrate cultural differences into treatment planning. Higher total financial aid awarded by the school was negatively associated with recruitment of African Americans. Results suggest some improved URM recruitment strategies for dental schools.

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