SDM Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity Matters - Diverse Students.

Supporting our Community and Advocating for Racial Justice

The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee at the School of Dental Medicine joins the University at Buffalo President, the Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Dental Medicine in recognizing the impact of the tragic and unjust loss of Black lives on our students, staff, faculty and entire community.

As we share the feelings of heartbreak, grief and anger over the loss of George Floyd and so many others such as: Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Samuel DuBose, Sandra Bland, Walter Scott and Terrence Crutcher, we must act in solidarity to foster compassion, justice and the respect for diversity and inclusion that we stand for. It falls on all of us, regardless of our race, to work together until racial injustice, bigotry and unequal treatment no longer exist in our communities.

We understand the need for drastic change that goes beyond just listening. The path forward starts with awareness, clear communication and an honest determination to achieve our goals. The School of Dental Medicine is committed to collaborate with all members of our community to uphold our values of inclusive excellence, condemn acts of hatred and racism, and engage in meaningful ways forward to help our community heal.

In solidarity,

Bushra Azhar

Brian Cruz                                                                 

Arian Johnson     

Anisa Tocilla

Delaney, Katrina                                                

Dr. Thikriat Al-Jewair                                                        

Dr. Dian Chinkit-Wells                                                                      

Dr. Yoly Gonzalez-Stucker

Dr. Elaine Hennie-Megna                                      

Dr. Dana Keblawi                                                              

Dr. Stephen Abel                                               

Dr. Stefan Ruhl                                                   

Dr. Joseph Rumfola                                                           


The University at Buffalo, School of Dental Medicine, places special emphasis on recruitment of students, faculty and staff who are historically underrepresented in the dental profession and on training clinically and culturally competent clinicians equipped to meet healthcare needs, especially in underserved communities.  We aim to create an institutional culture of inclusive excellence which will strengthen diversity in our School, enhance teaching and scholarship, increase cultural competency, and create a welcoming environment in which all faculty, staff, and students are valued, respected and empowered to achieve their highest potential.

The SDM Diversity and Inclusion office will:

  • Promote an environment that embraces and sustains respect of diversity and inclusion among students, faculty, and staff;
  • Collaborate with the Offices of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and International Student Scholar Services to develop and co-sponsor faculty and staff development focused on maintaining a supportive learning environment for our diverse student body, building the capacity of culturally competent teachers on issues of identity, privilege, race, gender/gender identity, implicit bias, cultural competence, health equity, social justice, and related topics; 
  • Collaborate with the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence in responding to incidents and challenges related to bias, discrimination and harassment, and in identifying appropriate interventions and follow-up;
  • Work with the School’s Human Resource Officer to provide guidance and serve as a resource to department chairs, faculty search committees, and student admissions to implement effective strategies to increase the diversity of our students, faculty, and staff;
  • Implement CODA predoctoral and advanced education accreditation standards as they relate to diversity and cultural competency;
  • Expand cultural competency training in the curricula;
  • Ensure best practices and strategies to support student success, with special focus on students from populations historically underrepresented in the dental profession and international students; 
  • Work with the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs to expand access to oral health care in our clinics;
  • Create an environment of openness and acceptance for all students, faculty, and staff in which people of all backgrounds, identities, and perspectives can feel secure and welcome;
  • Serve as an advocate, mentor, resource, and support to students, faculty, and staff from underrepresented, international and diverse populations. Identify and provide appropriate and culturally and structurally sensitive support to the SDM students, faculty or staff experiencing bias and discrimination.