Dental Tribune UK & Ireland

New report addresses equality, diversity and inclusion in dentistry

By Iveta Ramonaite, Dental Tribune International
June 01, 2021

LONDON, UK: Seeking to show the commitment of the dental profession to fight discrimination and bias in dentistry, the Diversity in Dentistry Action Group (DDAG) has recently published a report on equality, diversity and inclusion in dentistry. The report urges those in the profession to listen to those whose voices have been under-represented and to take collaborative action to make dentistry more inclusive.

The DDAG is a strategic oversight group that was formed by the Office of the Chief Dental Officer England in June 2020 as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement, which has prompted a widespread discussion on race and equality and has encouraged some organisations to reconsider their work practices and core values. The group aims to unify the dental profession in order to facilitate the effort to tackle discrimination in the field.

The report, which was published in May 2021, lists the dental organisations which have agreed to take some key steps towards change. These steps include continuously addressing racism and discrimination, seeking and creating opportunities for representation and inclusion, and committing to organisational level change.

Commenting on the report, Dr Raj Rattan, dental director at Dental Protection and a member of the DDAG stakeholder group, said in a press release: “We welcome this vital report and are pleased it has been supported by a wide range of dental organisations. There is a duty on all of us in the dental profession to ensure we play our part in creating a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion.”

The topic of discrimination has received increased attention in the past year, and some higher education institutions, such as the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, have already stepped up their efforts to make dentistry more diverse by facilitating entry into the profession for people of colour. However, there is still more work to be done in order to have a truly diverse dental workforce.

“An ongoing commitment is needed if we are to reap the many benefits of cultural competence within the profession and reduce the risk of ethnocentricity. This can affect the patient experience and may also have a detrimental effect on treatment outcomes,” Rattan concluded.

Editorial note: The DDAG report can be found here.

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