Racial Segregation in U.S. Dental Schools

Overall there are 56 dental schools in the United States today. JBHE research has determined that in 2006 there are 1,108 black students studying dentistry at these institutions.

Today 449 blacks, or 41 percent of all African-American dental school students, are enrolled at Howard University or Meharry Dental School, two historically black institutions. The remaining 659 black dental school students were spread throughout the other 54 predominantly white dental schools — an average of about 12 black students per school.

Among the primarily white dental schools, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has the most black students. The 50 black students at the University of North Carolina dental school make up 15.7 percent of the student body.

In 2006, 27 of the nation's 54 predominantly white dental schools had an aggregate of fewer than 10 black students. The University of Washington, the University of Arizona, and the University of Minnesota had only one black student. There were no blacks among the 49 students at the National Naval Dental School.

Some of the dental schools with a small number of black students may rightfully claim that the lack of diversity at their institution is due to the fact that there are few blacks in their geographical area. But there appears to be no explanation as to why the dental schools at the University of Southern California, Louisiana State University, and the University of Oklahoma are less than 2 percent black.

Copyright © 2006. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.