The scholarship for second, third, and fourth year dental students seeks to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the dental profession.

SmileDirectClub has partnered with the National Dental Association (NDA) to establish a scholarship program aimed at increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in dentistry and dismantling barriers to health equity.

“Throughout its 108 years, the National Dental Association has always been dedicated to advancing the concept of health equity,” said Keith Andrew Perry, executive director of the National Dental Association, which is the world’s largest and oldest organization of minority oral health professionals. “The establishment of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in health care, and the education of future healthcare providers, what we now refer to as ‘JEDI’, is paramount in our mission. For without ‘JEDI’ we become participants in the perpetuation of a system of systemic oppression that has historically had a deleterious effect on health outcomes and healthcare delivery in historically underserved communities.”

The SmileDirectClub-National Dental Association Achievement Scholarship is aimed at addressing the critical shortage of ethnic minority dentists in the United States. SDC will award 28 student NDA members with a one-time $7,500 scholarship. Eligible applicants must be second, third, or fourth year dental students and post-graduate public health students. All candidates must demonstrate financial need and a commitment to community service.

“Cultivating and introducing a diverse cadre of new dentists from largely underserved communities into a system, which has to date produced a paltry 3% African American dentists in the United States, is both supremely disruptive and potentially transformational. SmileDirectClub is a bold and sincere ally in this work, and because of their generous investment in the future of health equity, the SmileDirectClub-National Dental Association Achievement Scholarship will be that disruptive and transformational force and a key element to dismantling structural inequality in oral health care for years to come. SmileDirectClub’s visionary corporate citizenship is worthy of emulation.” Perry added.

“As part of our mission to ensure each and every person has access to a smile that they love, SmileDirectClub has launched this scholarship program with the NDA to help underrepresented dental practitioners and underserved communities of color,” said Riddhi Gangoli, BDS, PhD, senior director of professional education and marketing at SmileDirectClub. “We are proud to join with the NDA to empower the next generation of African American oral health professionals to remove barriers, so everyone has access to safe, effective, and high-quality oral care.”

Applications are due November 1, 2021.

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