Dental Pipeline National Learning Institute Kicks Off Second Year of Grants for Oral Health Diversity

    • November 19, 2013

San Francisco, C.A.—The Dental Pipeline National Learning Institute (NLI), a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), has awarded grants of $12,000 along with other support and resources to 10 projects across the nation dedicated to increasing dental school recruitment and retention of low-income and underrepresented minority students. The participating sites are part of the second round of grantees awarded over the past two years.

The NLI, administered by the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry (Pacific) in partnership with the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), is a nationwide initiative dedicated to creating a diverse workforce of providers trained in caring for the oral health needs of patients from underserved populations.

Ten dental schools were selected to implement a yearlong recruitment and retention campaign or engage community-based dental education partners. In addition to the $12,000 grant, each NLI site will attend a three-day intensive training course focused on Dental Pipeline best practices, advocacy, and leadership; peer mentor match-ups; access to various online courses; and fundraising and development tutorials.

“This is a great opportunity to extend the lessons of a decade of dental pipeline activities, while at the same time fostering new partnerships dedicated to improving oral health for underserved people,” says Paul Glassman, DDS, Project Director of the RWJF grant that is supporting this initiative and Director of the Pacific Center for Special Care at the Dugoni School of Dentistry. “We are grateful for RWJF’s support of this crucial initiative.”

The Dental Pipeline initiative is based on the concept that dental institutions can address acute disparities in access to dental care by recruiting and admitting more underrepresented minority students, increasing the cultural competency of all students, and educating dental students through community rotations in health centers and other safety-net dental settings. These principles served as the basis of a nationwide effort among dental schools and community partners that launched in 2002 to positively impact dental education and access to care.

The participating NLI 2013-14 grantees include:

  1. University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine partnering with Ft. Lewis College
  2. Indiana University School of Dentistry partnering with Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation
  3. University of Louisville School of Dentistry partnering with Central High School - Dental Magnet School
  4. University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Dentistry partnering with Latinos of Tomorrow/Greater Kansas City Collaborative
  5. Ohio State University College of Dentistry partnering with Glen Oak High School
  6. Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health partnering with San Francisco State University
  7. Oregon Health and Science University School of Dentistry partnering with Black United Fund of Oregon
  8. Tufts University School of Dental Medicine partnering with IDID Institute Corporation
  9. East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine partnering with North Carolina A&T State University
  10. Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine partnering with Health Legacy of Cleveland

“Our goal for the National Learning Institute is to create an environment that embraces differences so that oral health professionals of the future can learn effectively,” says Kim D’Abreu, senior vice president for access, diversity, and inclusion with ADEA. “While working to forge better partnerships between dental schools and their respective communities, we also hope to sound a clarion call about the growing epidemic of oral disease-related deaths among underserved populations due to lack of the ‘right’ care.”

More information regarding the Dental Pipeline National Learning Institute can be found at

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change. For more than 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

Media Contacts

Melissa Blair

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (609) 627-5937