Scholarships to Support African-American Students Interested in Dental Careers

Dentistry Today


LIBERTY Dental Plan of California has partnered with nonprofit Improve Your Tomorrow (IYT) and Sacramento City College to create the LIBERTY Dental Health Champions of Tomorrow Scholarship Program, which will support African-American students interested in dental careers.

The program will provide up to $10,000 per year, ongoing learning opportunities, and academic assistance for four African-American males entering the Dental Career Education Programs, both the completion of study for associate degree and/or certification programs in dentistry, at the Sacramento City College Campus. Also, the program will match students with mentors within dentistry to support them through their studies and clinical internships.

“This LIBERTY Dental Scholarship is an example of how you formulate partnerships between nonprofits, corporations, and higher education to transform the lives of black males,” said Michael Lynch, CEO of IYT.

Building on the successful IYT Community College program, scholarship recipients will become part of a larger network of young men of color supporting one another toward completion of their post-secondary education goals.

The scholarship also seeks to expand the representation of black professionals in dentistry to support greater trust and utilization of dental services by the African-American community. It is another example of LIBERTY empowering its communities to make members shine, one smile at a time, the company said.

The program grew out of an ongoing initiative that LIBERTY established in Sacramento County to better serve black communities. With the COVID-19 pandemic having a disproportionate effect on health, social, and economic factors in the African-American community, LIBERTY has engaged in an ongoing dialogue with community organizations and advocates within the community about how to improve oral health and utilization of dental services.

Barriers identified included a lack of trust and low representation of black professionals in medical and dental offices, which ultimately impacted the decision to utilize services. The scholarship program breaks down those barriers and invests in the community to increase local health provider representation, the company said.

“As a dental company founded and based in California, we are invested in the communities where we serve, and we know that representation matters,” said Amir Neshat, DDS, LIBERTY’s founder and CEO. “This scholarship is an opportunity to expand career opportunities for young people of color but also to improve the dental field’s ability to serve the African-American community.”

Related Articles

Dalhousie Program Introduces Underrepresented Students to Dental Careers

Pipeline Program Aims to Increase Diversity in Dentistry

Scholarships to Improve Minority Access to Dental Care in Ohio