Univ. of Oklahoma center part of effort to increase diversity in dental research

2020 09 28 22 48 3652 Dentist Woman Patient 400

Researchers from the University of Oklahoma (OU) Health Sciences Center are part of a U.S. team working to build a mentoring network to help early-career dental researchers from diverse backgrounds advance their careers.

The team is working to create the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) Mentoring an Inclusive Network for a Diverse Workforce of the Future (MIND the Future) program. The initiative is designed to foster the careers of underrepresented minorities to increase the dental, oral, and craniofacial workforce.

MIND the Future is part of a five-year, $1.3 million grant awarded to the AADR by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). The OU College of Dentistry is one of 11 institutions partnering with the AADR on the mentorship program.

The national team managing the grant includes Dr. Sharukh Khajotia, PhD, associate dean for research at the OU College of Dentistry, and Natasha Mickel, PhD, director of the OU Health Sciences Center's Oklahoma Center for Mentoring Excellence (OCME) program.

Khajotia, Mickel, and the other members will train 10 mentors each year from across the U.S. who will, in turn, mentor 10 early-career researchers. At the end of the five-year grant, the initiative will support 50 mentors and 50 mentees from diverse backgrounds.

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