Skip Navigation This page features a timed image rotator. If you would like to disable it, press enter now. Skip to Footer Links
About Us

    Delta Dental Institute Awards $725,000 to Programs Working to Drive Greater Diversity in the Oral Health Workforce

    Inaugural Delta Dental Oral Health Diversity Fund awardees include four organizations focused on inspiring school-aged children from historically underrepresented groups to explore careers in oral health


    BOSTON – October 25, 2023 – As part of its Driving Greater Diversity in the Oral Health Workforce campaign, the Delta Dental Institute announced the inaugural award recipients of over $700,000 from the Delta Dental Oral Health Diversity Fund, the first national investment fund focused on ensuring more school-aged children from historically underrepresented groups consider careers in oral health. The four awardees are: Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships, the Hispanic Dental Association, NAF, and the Society of American Indian Dentists.
    “We are proud to be a part of a program which supports initiatives that inspire and empower underrepresented youth to explore careers in dentistry,” said Erik Montlack, president of Delta Dental of Massachusetts. “By fostering a more diverse and inclusive workforce, we aim to improve patient experience, health outcomes, and overall equity in oral healthcare. Delta Dental of Massachusetts remains committed to this commission and will continue to invest in creating opportunities for students of color to enter the dental profession.”
    Research has shown that racial and ethnic diversity among health professionals is linked to better patient satisfaction and improved health outcomes. However, the current oral health workforce does not reflect that diversity; fewer than 10% of dentists are Black or Hispanic, while those same groups comprise more than 30% of the U.S. population. The funded programs propose innovative ways to address the barriers that underrepresented populations face in seeking oral health careers.
    Separately, here in Massachusetts, Delta Dental of Massachusetts (DDMA) contributed $200,000 to fund scholarships at local community colleges and improve workforce diversity. This year’s endowment provided tuition support to dental hygiene students of color at Bristol Community College, Middlesex Community College, and Quinsigamond Community College. Expanding on last year’s pilot program, this donation supports DDMA’s goal of increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in dentistry and creating greater opportunities for students of color to enter the dentistry profession.
    The inaugural award recipients of the Delta Dental Oral Health Diversity Fund are:

    Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships, whose Diversify Dentistry Youth Summit™, offers high school students from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds hands-on experiences, educational insights, and mentorship to inspire them to consider a career in dentistry. The Diversify Dentistry Youth Summit™ toolkit will be expanded to serve as a guide for dental schools to host similar events.

    Hispanic Dental Association, whose program, BOLD: Building Our Leaders in Dentistry, is a pre-dental school mentorship program designed to introduce dentistry as a career option to students and influence more underrepresented minorities to enter the profession. Outreach presentations and workshops will be geared toward Head Start, elementary school, high school, and undergraduate students.

    NAF, whose program, Promoting Oral Health Pathways, will be a newly-established curriculum within their Academy of Health Sciences. This new program will include authentic, project-based learning activities that can be applied to solve challenges impacting a student’s career field or community, along with opportunities to take part in immersive, work-based learning with experts while developing skills to make informed decisions about their futures.

    Society of American Indian Dentists, whose program, Telling the Story of a Path to Dentistry: Connecting AI/AN Dentists with AI/AN Youth, will address the lack of dentist role models in American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. Volunteer AI/AN dentists, armed with tailored materials, will present to Native students in their community high schools, sharing their unique journeys to becoming dentists, and inspiring more Native youth to consider and work toward a career in dentistry.
    The next round of applications for the Delta Dental Oral Health Diversity Fund will open in the Spring of 2024; please visit to learn more.


    About the Delta Dental Oral Health Diversity Fund
    Delta Dental has established the first national Oral Health Diversity Fund. This industry-leading fund makes targeted investments in comprehensive solutions, innovative pilots, and scalable models that inspire school-aged children from historically underrepresented groups to pursue a career in oral health. Visit to learn more.

    About Delta Dental Institute
    The Delta Dental Institute is dedicated to advancing oral health for all Americans in partnership with Delta Dental companies and dedicated partners across the country. With expertise rooted in Delta Dental's rich history of oral health leadership, we engage in and support oral health research, community outreach, and advocacy, striving to ensure that everyone understands the importance of oral health to overall health and has access to the care they need. Visit for more information.

    About Delta Dental of Massachusetts
    Delta Dental of Massachusetts (, the largest provider of dental benefits in the state, is a leader in innovative programs that improve the overall health of members, prevent oral disease and reduce health care costs for employers, groups and individuals. Headquartered in Charlestown, Mass., Delta Dental of Massachusetts, a member of the Delta Dental Plans Association (, covers more than 2 million people. Follow us on Twitter (@DeltaDentalofMA), Facebook (, and Instagram (@deltadentalofma).

    About Delta Dental Plans Association
    Based in Oak Brook, Illinois, Delta Dental Plans Association is the not-for-profit national association of the 39 independent Delta Dental companies. Through these companies, Delta Dental is the nation's largest dental benefits provider, covering more than 89 million Americans and offering the country's largest dental network with approximately 152,000 participating dentists. Over the last decade, Delta Dental companies provided over $1.88 billion in direct and in-kind support to improve the oral health of our communities. Visit for information on individual dental insurance plans and group dental insurance plans. Follow us on Twitter @DeltaDental and Facebook: Delta Dental Plans Association.