Diversity Belief and Commitment

Diversity Belief and Commitment

The University of Iowa College of Dentistry is committed to a welcoming and inclusive collegiate community for all students, faculty, staff and patients.

Diversity allows us to embrace the unique qualities of an individual; enhances the educational environment for our future dental practitioners; and provides the foundation on which we can better serve our patients with cultural sensitivity and competence.

The College of Dentistry is committed to the university’s core values of: diversity, equity, and inclusion; student success; research and discovery; and engagement. This is reflected in the college’s strategic plan.

DEI Office

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics is responsible for cultivating and championing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for faculty, staff, students, residents, and patients.

The Letter D


Diversity refers to all aspects of human difference, social identities, and social group differences. This includes, but is not limited to: race, ethnicity, creed, color, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual identity, socio-economic status, language, culture, national origin, religion/spirituality, age, (dis)ability, military/veteran status, political perspective, and associational preferences. 

The Letter E


Equity refers to fair and just practices and policies that ensure all campus community members can thrive. Being equitable means acknowledging and addressing structural inequalities—historic and currentthat advantage some and disadvantage others. Equal treatment results in equity only if everyone starts with equal access to opportunities.

The Letter I


Inclusion refers to a campus community where all members are and feel respected, have a sense of belonging, and are able to participate and achieve to their potential. While diversity is essential, it is not sufficient. An institution can be both diverse and non-inclusive at the same time, thus a sustained practice of creating inclusive environments is necessary for success.

Iowa: A Framework for Life and Service

Hayley Harvey ('94 DDS, '96 MS)

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DEI News

Megha Puranam delivering the keynote address

Megha Puranam's Keynote Address

Thursday, May 19, 2022
The Center for Inclusive Excellence at the University of Iowa held its annual graduation reception on May 11. At this reception, fourth-year dental student Megha Puranam delivered the keynote address at the graduation reception.
Fireworks over the Old Capitol

Two fourth-year dental students recognized for efforts to promote inclusive education

Thursday, May 19, 2022
Fourth-year dental students Chichi Adeleke and Megha Puranam both received awards at the Center for Inclusive Academic Excellence Graduation Reception. Adeleke received the Dean's Achievement Award, and Puranam received the Student Leadership Award. Puranam also delivered the keynote address at the reception.
A UI REACH student smiling with her provider

College of Dentistry Hosts Event for UI REACH Students

Wednesday, April 27, 2022
On April 7 and 14, students from the UI REACH program learned about oral health and received one-on-one tooth brushing instructions from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry.
Ariene Leme-Kraus and Eric Teixeira

Iowa Dentistry Faculty Receive Industry Grant for Restorative Dental Materials Research

Thursday, March 31, 2022
A German Pharmaceutical company awarded Ariene Leme-Kraus and Erica Teixeira a $10,000 grant for their project investigating the effectiveness of a newly developed glass-ionomer dental material. In particular, the project will evaluate whether this novel dental material can effectively be used to treat root tooth decay.
Three women dental students examining an x-ray

UI Impacting Future of Women in Dentistry Since 1887

Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Written by: Emily Nelson
Starting with our first female graduate, Jessie Ritchey, in 1887 and continuing to this day, Iowa has proven itself a trailblazer for women in dentistry. The Class of 2024 is the first in the University of Iowa College of Dentistry’s history to have more female students than male students—helping move the national dentistry workforce closer to gender parity.
Patient receiving care in the Geriatric and Special Needs clinic

University of Iowa College of Dentistry Receives Prestigious Gies Award for Achievement

Wednesday, March 23, 2022
During the 2022 ADEA Annual Session on March 21, the ADEAGies Foundation presented the University of Iowa with a 2022 William J. Gies Award for Achievement for Academic Dental Institutions. This award recognizes Iowa’s cutting-edge Geriatric and Special Needs Program, led by director Howard Cowen, the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation Professor in Geriatrics and Special Needs.
Azeez Butali

The Genetics of Cleft Lip and Palate for the Zulu Population in South Africa

Thursday, February 10, 2022
The nonprofit organization, Smile Train, awarded Iowa professor Azeez Butali a $40,000 grant to study the genetic causes of cleft lip and palate among the Zulu population in South Africa. Butali is an internationally recognized expert in the genetics of cleft lip and palate, particularly among African populations. Butali is working with Thriona Naicker, a trained Medical Geneticist and PhD student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Butali serves as Naicker’s mentor for his dissertation research.
Rosalie Reddick Miller and Rufus P. Beshears

Iowa Trailblazers: The First Black Graduates of the College of Dentistry

Thursday, February 3, 2022
Rufus P. Beshears (1909) and Rosalie Reddick Miller (1958) were two of the first Black graduates of the College of Dentistry. Black history month at the College of Dentistry is an opportunity for us to look at our past, celebrate the accomplishments of our esteemed alumni, and drive us to become a more inclusive community for our students, alumni, staff, and faculty.
College of Dentistry faculty, staff, students, and residents attending the International Potluck

The College of Dentistry Hosts an International Potluck

Thursday, December 9, 2021
With a wide variety of dishes from around the world, the International Affairs and Planning Committee and the Officer for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion hosted an International Potluck where faculty, staff, students, and residents brought international dishes to share with colleagues and friends. The celebration was a part of the university-wide celebration of International Education Week.
Salah Abuhammoud

Dentistry Receives Two Innovation Challenge Awards

Thursday, December 2, 2021
The University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center announced their Fall Innovation Challenge Awards, which included two dentistry-related proposals. These awards are aimed at identifying and supporting the most innovative and entrepreneurial projects in a university-wide competition. Dentistry's award winners were Salah Abuhammoud and Melika Farshard.

Dental DEI Events

Exploring the World: Jordan promotional image

Exploring the World: Jordan

Tuesday, May 31, 2022 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Dental Science Building
The purpose of our Exploring the World series is to expand our awareness of other countries, cultures, and health care systems and practices around the world so that we can provide patient-centered care. Dr. Ahmad M. Alkhaza'leh and Dr. Karim Ghishan will discuss Jordan's history, social and religious beliefs and customs, the Jordanian health-care and dental education systems, and identify elements that are helpful to consider when treating patients from Jordan.  Date:  Tuesday, May 31, 2022...
Culturally Responsive Health Care in Iowa Conference Keynote Speaker - Harriet A. Washington promotional image

Culturally Responsive Health Care in Iowa Conference Keynote Speaker - Harriet A. Washington

Thursday, June 2, 2022 12:00pm to 1:00pm
As a part of the annual Culturally Responsive Health Care in Iowa Conference, award-winning Medical Writer & Editor, Harriet A. Washington, will providing the Keynote Address.   This address is open to the public.  Please register here to join this webinar. If you are interested in attending the Culturally Responsive Health Care in Iowa Conference, more information may be found here.  The goal of this multidisciplinary, interprofessional conference is to improve the delivery of culturally...

University DEI Events

Global Alumni Spotlight Series: Geoffrey D'Souza promotional image

Global Alumni Spotlight Series: Geoffrey D'Souza

Wednesday, June 22, 2022 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Join International Programs for the fifth installment in their Global Alumni Spotlight Series featuring alumnus Geoffrey D'Souza (BS political science ‘01). D'Souza will talk with UI International Programs Associate Provost and Dean Russ Ganim about his experiences living and working in Ukraine and how the country has changed over the course of the past 20 years. Free and open to the public, the discussion will be held on June 22, 2022, from 6-7 p.m. (CDT), and will take place virtually through...
Iowa First Nations Summer Program promotional image

Iowa First Nations Summer Program

Sunday, July 17, 2022 (all day)
The Iowa First Nations Program (IFP) provides Native American student high school students the opportunity to live on campus, experience the university setting, explore majors, learn more about the Native American culture, and gain an appreciation for the variety of opportunities at Iowa. Participants will attend structured classroom seminars and field trips to various campus departments, enjoy hands-on classroom experiences, and have the opportunity to get involved in social and recreational...