Workshop Helps American Indian Students Prepare for Dental School

Dentistry Today


AT Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) and the National Center for American Indian Health Professions recently hosted the fourth annual American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Pre-dental Admission Workshop (PAW).

PAW is designed to help AI/AN college students who are preparing to apply to dental school navigate the application process and expand their professional networks. This year, five college students from across the country attended the free workshop. 

ATSU-ASDOH alumnae Cristin Haase, DMD, and Sarah Hill, DMD, provided the prospective dentists with mentoring support. George Blue Spruce, DDS, MPH, assistant dean for American Indian affairs at ATSU-ASDOH, welcomed them to campus.

The Society of American Indian Dentists reports that AI communities struggle with limited access to oral healthcare, as fewer than 300 AI dentists serve a population of 5.2 million. Many of PAW’s participants plan to practice where they grew up, increasing access to quality dental care in rural AI communities. 

In addition to preparing for the application process, PAW participants get hands-on experience in the dental simulation lab, one-on-one time with dental students and alumni, and a tour of the dental school. ATSU-ASDOH also provides the students with professional headshots.

The event was funded by a grant from Running Strong for American Indian Youth, which has supported PAW for the past four years through its Dreamstarter grant program.

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