E-4 Sensitivity to Diversity (1993, revised 2002, 2014, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2022)

Policy Number: E-4

Policy Category: Dental School Admin Policies and Student Government

The American Student Dental Association believes dental schools should ensure all students, faculty, staff and administration are sensitive to the diversity of their colleagues and patients.

ASDA defines diversity through numerous, intersecting dimensions including but not limited to race, ethnicity, nationality, gender identify, age, physical abilities/qualities, sexual orientation, religious and ideological beliefs, veteran status, citizenship status and personal lifestyle preferences. ASDA recognizes the unique challenges faced by these diverse populations.

ASDA believes dental schools should provide a safe and inclusive environment for all students, faculty, staff and administration. Sexist, discriminatory or insensitive language and practices are unacceptable. Practices that systematically exclude and oppress others should be examined and addressed accordingly.

ASDA supports and encourages the incorporation of diversity training and professional learning regarding cultural competence and cultural humility as part of dental education. ASDA also encourages the recruitment and retention of diverse dental student populations otherwise underrepresented in organized dentistry.

ASDA supports and encourages equity for all students within dental education. ASDA promotes impartiality, fairness and justice to overcome biases within ASDA procedures and policies, educational programming and leadership development. This includes representation, involvement, benefits and access for those underrepresented in the field of dentistry. Availability of equipment and facility accommodations where appropriate to ensure student safety and comfort should also exist.

ASDA supports reasonable academic accommodations for individual disabilities, religious and cultural observances.

ASDA is committed to identifying, challenging and dismantling barriers to involvement for underrepresented students as listed in the dimensions of diversity, while concurrently working to elevate the perspectives of aforementioned students and to educate the membership body on topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion to further the ASDA mission to protect and advance the rights, interests and welfare of dental students. ASDA supports efforts to reduce barriers to care for underrepresented and diverse populations.