AADR Members from diverse backgrounds complete research and change dentistry every day. Learn about some of them! 

M. Nathalia Garcia

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"My involvement in the NIH Human Microbiome Project is a great example of cross collaboration. My participation in this project has allowed me to work with experts in different fields at the NIH and in many U.S. institutions. With the expertise that comes from of many people working together we have obtained amazing outcomes!"

- M. Nathalia Garcia, Chair of the Applied Dental Medicine Department & Section Head of Periodontics at Southern Illinois University, School of Dental Medicine

José A. Lemos

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"But, I think if you have a large research enterprise and have 10 people working in your lab and none of them are from an underrepresented group then maybe it’s time to ask yourself what can you do to attract more URMs to your lab."

- José A. Lemos , Associate Professor, Department Oral Biology, University of Florida

Octavio Gonzalez

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"Since I came to the U.S., I have tried to maintain my connection with my alma mater in Colombia and other Colombian universities. I have had the opportunity to share my research with dental and Ph.D. students in Colombia and invite those young talented students interested in science to have a research experience in my lab"

- Octavio Gonzalez, Associate Professor, University of Kentucky-College of Dentistry

Cristiane Miranda Franca

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"I never felt myself as being target of prejudice from others for being a Hispanic woman. What was challenging for me was the difference from one country to the other regarding the educational system, grant funding programs and publication demands. And of course, the language, it is frustrating not to be able to find the proper words to convey an idea."

- Cristiane Miranda Franca, Oregon Health and Science University Diversity Fellow

Roger Arce

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"I come from a multiracial country and was not familiar with the concept of underrepresented minority (URM). It was not until I moved to the United States that I understood the importance of representation from every ethnicity. Since then, I have tried to serve as a role model for URMs and other groups interested in what I do. "

Read the full interview.

- Roger Arce, Harold Amos AMFDP scholar; Diplomate of the American Academy of Periodontology and Assistant Professor of Periodontics in the Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University

Andrea Ferreira Zandoná

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"As an underrepresented minority (URM), I have been approached by many people who are trying to get into research and when they realize that I am a URM they approach me more easily and ask for support. I have received in my lab many students-visiting scholars or Ph.D. students that are from different places and are underrepresented minorities."

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- Andrea Ferreira Zandoná, Tenured Associate Professor at the Department of Operative Dentistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry

Joana Cunha-Cruz

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"The topic of my research is disparities in oral health, and I am very aware of these disparities and inequalities in this country and the world. I am very aware of the gaps that exist in oral health and quality of life between minorities. I am also aware of the various disparities that researchers experience and building resilience is an important aspect of that."

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- Joana Cunha-Cruz, Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships, Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, University of Washington

Lydia M. Lopez del Valle

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"I have had very great mentors. They encouraged me to get into this field of research, and with these mentors I have made a lot of collaborations. My mentors introduced me to other researchers in various fields like microbiology to help me understand the bacterium Streptococcus mutans and its relation to ECC. An important aspect of research is having great mentors and people in various science fields to collaborate with."

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- Lydia M. Lopez del Valle, Professor, Office of Assistant Dean of Research and Adjunct Professor of the Pediatric Dentistry Department, University of Puerto Rico School of Dental Medicine (UPRSDM)

Luiz E. Bertassoni

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"I believe scientists have a role in emphasizing how important [diversity] is needed for research and the community as a whole. I don’t think we should be told not to speak up when this is something that affects our research so highly....We should also emphasize this in encouraging women to be more involved in science a well. As soon as I had a daughter it made me understand the size of the problem a lot more clearly because when it hits home it’s a whole different perspective."

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- Luiz E. Bertassoni, Assistant Professor, School of Dentistry, Center for Regenerative Medicine and Department of Biomedical Engineering, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon (OHSU)

Ana Paula Piovezan Fugolin

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"In 5-10 years I see myself as an independent faculty member developing relevant researchers. My main goals are to: encourage and give opportunities for motivated people develop themselves, as my mentor does, and to see that my efforts can be reflected in real benefits for the patients."

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- Ana Paula Piovezan Fugolin, Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Restorative Dentistry – Division of Biomaterials & Biomechanics, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland

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