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Pre-Dental Program for Native Americans One They Can Sink Their Teeth Into

Six Native American high school seniors and undergraduate college students are getting a taste of what a career in dentistry might be like as part of an annual, four-week summer enrichment program offered by Creighton University School of Dentistry.

All tuition, transportation and housing costs are paid by Creighton University and a grant funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. A $1,000 stipend is awarded to each student on completion of the program.

The goal of Pre-Dental Summer Enrichment Program for Native American Students is to meet a chronic need for Native American dentists by recruiting students with strong tribal affiliations who are likely to return to their reservations to practice dentistry. Currently, there are more than 4.5 million Native Americans in the U.S. but fewer than 150 Native American dentists.

During the four weeks, students take classes and labs in basic sciences, dental sciences, patient observation, research, computers in dentistry and more. This year’s program runs from June 20 to July 15.

Approximately 25 students applied for the 2011 class. Participants selected include Bryan Bennett (Navajo), Phoenix; Cristin Haase (Cheyenne River Sioux), Lidgerwood, N.D.; Brittany Ironmaker (Sisseton Wahpeton), St. Ignatius, Mont.; Lindee Lawrence (Cheyenne River Sioux), Eagle Butte, S.D.; Zazell Staheli (Inupiaq Eskimo), Kiana, Alaska; and Matthew Wilson (Rosebud Sioux), Mission, S.D.

To learn more about Native American programs at Creighton, visit http://www.creighton.edu/nac/.