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

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."

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- Roger Arce, Assistant Professor of Periodontics, Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University

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, Portland

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 of Oral Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville

Lily T. Garcia

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"As a Mexican-American woman, I did not encounter many role models of similar background....I had supportive key people who asked me to join them in their work based on my area of expertise in prosthodontics....The majority of my mentors up until the last 10-15 years have been primarily men...both peers and senior colleagues. My group of mentors has been respectful, encouraging and supportive; I am grateful for my network that has grown through the years to build on support and expertise."

- Lily T. Garcia, Associate Dean for Education, College of Dentistry & Dental Clinics and Professor, Department of Prosthodontics, University of Iowa, Iowa City

Nicholas Rodriguez

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"I was giving a poster presentation San Francisco and someone came up to me after my presentation saying  “Have you ever thought about this?” and it kind of lead to my next research aim. Cross-collaboration helps with getting different perspectives on topics and they can give you a different view of your own science and your field in general."

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- Nicholas Rodriguez, D.D.S./M.P.H., Student, University Of Texas School Of Dentistry at Houston; President, AADR National Student Research Group (NSRG); Board Member, American Association for Dental Research (AADR).  

Keith Mays

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“I believe creating opportunities has to be intentional. We think that every person that comes in our doorstep is interested in doing research and has everything all together but that’s usually not the case. There may be some teaching that needs to be done so that people can learn and develop those ideas. It is best to meet every person where they’re at and bring them up to where they need to be.”

- Keith A. Mays D.D.S., PhD., M.S., Academic Affairs and Associate Professor in the Department of Restorative Sciences, Division of Prosthodontics, University of Minnesota School of Dentistry

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

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

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

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