Posted: April 21, 2015

Engaging Students to Foster a Safe and Inclusive Learning Environment for the LGBT Community in a Diverse Dental School Setting


Since student populations are becoming increasingly diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, gender identity/expression, and sexuality, it is imperative that dental schools provide a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students. Penn Dental Medicine has employed creative methods of engaging student participation as part of its Action Plan for Diversity. In particular, highlighting LGBT issues has been an integral component of this Action Plan. Prior to 2010, no supportive services or groups existed for the LGBT community at Penn Dental Medicine. Since then, a collaborative effort among students, staff, and faculty has begun to foster a positive culture for the LGBT community and diversity at-large. Simple and impactful student-led LGBT diversity programs have been met with positive reviews from students, staff, and faculty. By engaging LGBT students and allies, it is possible to sustain positive dialogue on diversity as evinced at Penn Dental Medicine. This poster outlines key student-led programs that can be adapted into LGBT diversity initiatives at other health profession institutions.


Population Health, Diversity, LGBT, Student, Public Health Sciences, Dental, Inclusion, Lesbian, Gay, Climate, Strategy


Zesheng Chen, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Jonathan Vo, DMD, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Beverley Crawford, DDS, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Erin Cross, PhD, University of Pennsylvania LGBT Center

Ralph J. De Lucia, MS, University of Pennsylvania