Dental Health

UB dental faculty will get $100,000 NIH range prize

Buffalo Next

Team Smile

Hygenist Jillian Kuzdzal of UB cleans the teeth of Antonio Favors, a student from Makowski Early Childhood Center PS 99 during a day of dental care at Highmark Stadium organized by TeamSmile with the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, Tuesday, May 14, 2024. 

UB dental school gets NIH diversity prize

The University at Buffalo’s School of Dental Medicine is one of 10 institutions to win the National Institutes of Health’s new Institutional Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility in Biomedical and Behavioral Research Prize.

NIH launched the annual prize to recognize 10 institutions implementing innovative strategies to enhance DEIA in research environments. Each of the 10 selected for the inaugural prize received $100,000 and will participate in a summer seminar on their DEIA interventions that resulted in sustained, measurable change.

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UB Dental won for its STEER program, a new mentoring program to help dental staff and faculty achieve career goals through “intentional and formal mentoring relationships” and development opportunities, as well as its Destination Dental School, an intensive gateway summer program for students who have been historically underrepresented in the dental profession.

STEER stands for Support, Training, Early-career Enhancement and Retention. The dental school launched the program last year after a survey of its staff and faculty found that a majority did not feel they received adequate mentorship and professional development, especially underrepresented minorities.

STEER fellows are paired with staff and faculty mentors and benefit from career development opportunities such as national conferences. They can also go on to serve as mentors to future fellows. In the first year of the program, 96% of participants ranked the mentoring and training as very good or excellent, UB said.

UB School of Dental Medicine

Sneha Mathen, a student from India, prepares a model in the wet lab at the UB School of Dental Medicine in 2022.

The Destination Dental School is a free seven-week summer pathway program open to underrepresented college students and graduates of bachelor’s programs from across the United States and Canada considering careers in dentistry. This summer it will graduate its fourth cohort of students.

Besides those programs, the dental school’s focus on diversity and inclusion also led it to create a required online, interactive pre-orientation to equity, diversity and inclusion for incoming first-year dental students and a course focused on the social determinants of health, UB said.

“We are committed to opening up opportunities to underrepresented minorities, serving individuals with disabilities and hiring more faculty from a range of backgrounds and cultures,” said Dr. Marcelo Araujo, the dental school’s dean. “Through ongoing, vibrant initiatives, the dental school is doing its part to make the oral health field more diverse.”

Other institutions of higher education that won DEAI prizes in the first competition include the Rochester Institute of Technology, Duke University Medical School, the University of Florida College of Medicine, the University of Illinois Chicago, the University of California San Francisco and UC Davis.

Canisius launches chiropractic partnership

Canisius University is teaming up with Northeast College of Health Sciences in Seneca Falls to offer an accelerated program for health sciences students at Canisius to go on to earn a doctor of chiropractic degree in three years.

The partnership allows Canisius students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in sports and exercise health care or health and wellness to transition into Northeast’s doctor of chiropractic program and complete it in three years, Canisius said.

The accelerated “4+3” program cuts a year out of the usual eight-year process to earn both degrees, saving students time and money, Canisius said. Students in good academic standing are also eligible to receive merit scholarships from Northeast.

Like many other health services, chiropractic is seeing a growing need for new practitioners. The national Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of chiropractors to grow 10% in the next 10 years, far faster than the average for all occupations.

Canisius’ collaboration with Northeast makes it the second Western New York institution to offer an accelerated pathway to becoming a chiropractor. D’Youville University offers a seven-year dual degree program to earn a bachelor’s in biology and a doctorate of chiropractic, with the ability to complete each in 3.5 years.

SUNY Niagara offers free course to Niagara Falls parents

SUNY Niagara Community College is partnering with the Niagara Falls City School District to offer a free college course to parents whose children are enrolled in the district.

The course, English 102: Writing II and Introduction to Literature, reinforces writing skills and introduces students to the study of literature.

Classes will be held on Mondays from July 8 through Aug. 19 at Bloneva Bond Primary School, 2513 Niagara St., Niagara Falls. Free child care will be provided at the school during meeting times, from 12:30 to 3:45.

“We are proud to partner with the Niagara Falls City School District to provide this resource to our community,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs Lydia Ulatowski. “SUNY Niagara’s commitment to education extends beyond our campus and this initiative is a step in strengthening our community educational development.”

For more information or to register, contact William Brinson at or 716-614-6258.

Welcome to Buffalo Next. This newsletter from The Buffalo News will bring you the latest coverage on the changing Buffalo Niagara economy – from real estate to health care to startups. Read more at


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The Buffalo Next team gives you the big picture on the region’s economic revitalization. Email tips to or reach Buffalo Next Editor David Robinson at 716-849-4435.

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