California dental school gets $1M to increase faculty diversity

The Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine received a $1 million federal grant to increase faculty diversity, the school said Sept. 23.

The Pomona, Calif.-based school received a Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration that will last through 2026, based on federal funds. The grant will be used to recruit and retain full-time dental faculty from diverse communities with experience in general, pediatric or public health dentistry. The goal of the grant is to increase equity in oral healthcare by diversifying the workforce.

Leading the initiative is Marisa Watanabe, DDS, professor and associate dean for community partnerships and access to care, and assistant professor Jamie Parado, DDS.

At the end of the five-year grant, eligible faculty can apply for a subaward that will repay 100 percent of the faculty members' remaining dental school loan debt. Eligible faculty include those in pediatric, general and public health dentistry, and be of a disadvantaged background.

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