February is Black History Month. During this time, the U.S. honors the contributions and struggles of African Americans throughout history. In recognition of Black History Month, Ms. Adediran participated in a Q&A for the New Dentist blog. Below are her responses.
Q: Why do you want to become a dentist?
A: As a first-generation college student from a low-income background, I want to become a dentist because I look forward to giving back to low-income disadvantaged communities. I want to be an example and inspire other Black girls that they can do whatever they put their mind to. As a future Black dentist, I contribute to Black excellence and will become part of the 3% of Black dentists in the U.S.
Q: What does Black History Month mean to you as a Black dental student?
A: As a Black dental student, Black History Month means highlighting and celebrating the success and contributions of Black Americans who have come before us and those who are presently impacting the world, while also providing hope for those who will make their mark in the future. As a Black woman in dental school, I, too, look forward to changing lives by relieving patients from dental pain and creating beautiful and healthy smiles that will contribute to increased self-esteem and confidence. In addition, as a Black dentist, I want to make an impact that is greater than myself because Black history has demonstrated and shown the amount of greatness we possess. We continue to advance in culture and society by dismantling oppressive systems. As a Meharrian, we are on the front lines helping diverse communities in any way possible, especially for underrepresented or marginalized communities.
Q: What steps do you think the dental profession can take to welcome and support more Black dentists?
A: In order to welcome more Black dentists in the dental profession, we need to address the injustices and inequalities that our community still faces to this day. We do have a lack of diversity in the dental field, as only 3% of dentists in the United States are Black. Mentorship is an important aspect in increasing diversity. I believe a mentorship program that matches pre-dental Black students with current dental students/dentists can help Black students become successful dental students. Representation is important in the oral health field because Black patients are more likely to visit professionals in their local community. Increasing the number of dentists will help increase the amount of dental care provided.