Targeting the Pipeline to a Diverse Dental Student Body: Saturday Academy at New York University College of Dentistry

Lorel E. Burns, Cheryline Pezzullo, Eugenia E. Mejia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pipeline programs aim to increase the representation of underrepresented minorities in the dental profession. At New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD), two dental students initiated the development of a pipeline program for high school students called Saturday Academy. The purpose of the program is twofold: to mentor and coach underrepresented minority and low-income high school students through the college application process, and to expose them to the field of dentistry as a viable career option through both didactic and hands-on learning. The aim of this pilot study was to determine outcomes for the first five years (2013-17) of the Saturday Academy pipeline program at NYUCD with regard to the high school students’ experience with the program and their career interests after high school graduation. Across five cohorts, a total of 82 students participated in Saturday Academy. A “where are you now?” survey sent to 72 participants who reported high school graduation years between 2013 and 2018 received a response rate of 76%. The survey results showed that all (100%) of the responding Saturday Academy participants had graduated from high school and were enrolled in college, and 71% were interested in health profession careers. Almost half (47%) of the students self-identified as being pre-dental, and 96% reported that Saturday Academy had increased their interest in the dental profession. These pilot results justified an expansion of Saturday Academy at NYUCD in both size and creation of an alumni outreach initiative. Other dental schools may benefit from the strategies used by this program in establishing or expanding their pipeline programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1057-1064
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • career choice
  • dental education
  • dentistry
  • mentors
  • minority groups
  • minority health
  • pipeline
  • underrepresented minorities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Dentistry


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