How a Washington dentist is addressing industry racial inequities: 4 takeaways

Oral implantologist LeRoy Horton, DDS, is working to change the lack of Black representation within the dental field, reports CBS affiliate KIRO-TV.

Four notes:

1. "About 3.7 percent of actively practicing dentists are Black, and keep in mind we make up about 13.5 percent of the population, so there is a huge disparity in representation," Dr. Horton told KIRO-TV.

2. Dr. Horton believes addressing the issue starts with dental education and being exposed to role models from the community at a young age. "Communities trust providers from their own community, so if we can't have that representation in the profession, it's going to be a huge gap in the amount of trust that the people have in the information they are receiving, the recommendations they are given by their providers and the overall acceptance rate of the treatments that are proposed," said Dr. Horton.

3. Dr. Horton has personally partnered with organizations that prioritize STEM education in Black communities and volunteered as an affiliate instructor at Seattle-based University of Washington School of Dentistry.

4. Investing in dental programs with diverse students ultimately increases representation and leads to better oral healthcare for communities of color, according to Dr. Horton. The dentist has collaborated with colleagues to create scholarships for underrepresented students.

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