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The Sullivan Alliance Awarded New Two-Year Grant by W.K. Kellogg Foundation to Support Increasing Numbers of Dental Professionals of Color


Alexandria, VA (March 12, 2013) – The Sullivan Alliance to Transform the Health Professions (The Sullivan Alliance) has been awarded a new two-year grant to support their continuing work to increase the diversity of the health professions workforce. This grant, provided by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation (Kellogg Foundation), will make it possible for The Sullivan Alliance to focus on expanding the numbers of minority dentists and mid-level dental providers in the United States.

Dental disease is the number one chronic childhood disease. Much of it is preventable with access to proper treatment. Yet, currently there aren’t enough dentists to serve many poor and rural areas. Emergency room visits were the first line of treatment for 830,000 people in 2009. And in 2010, more than 14 million lower income children received no dental care at all.

“This is an expensive and unsustainable way to address the oral health needs of the nation,” said Former HHS Secretary and Sullivan Alliance Chairman Louis W. Sullivan, M.D. “We are pleased to be continuing our work with the Kellogg Foundation to expand training of dental professionals which includes other provider models such as dental therapists who can care for the immediate and preventive oral health needs of people living in underserved communities where currently there are no dentists.”

The lack of minorities within the health professions is considered one of the major contributors to health disparities – and significant disparities exist within the dental and allied dental workforce. Minorities are disproportionately underrepresented compared to their numbers in the general population. Currently only 7% of dentists are underrepresented minorities.

“It’s important to start developing a career pathway for young people of color to become a member of the oral health team,” said Dr. Alice Warner, program officer with the Kellogg Foundation. “This grant will help The Sullivan Alliance expand its efforts to encourage more people of color to enter the dental professions, and ultimately increase the number of providers who are from the communities, where they return to provide much-needed dental care.””

One in three Americans is a member of a racial or ethnic minority group, with African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and American Indians making up more than a quarter of the nation’s population. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that by 2042, there will be no majority population in the United States.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

About The Sullivan Alliance to Transform the Health Professions
Under the leadership of Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Sullivan Alliance to Transform the Health Professions was organized in January 2005, to act on the reports and recommendations of the Sullivan Commission (Missing Persons: Minorities in the Health Professions, September, 2004), and the Institute of Medicine Committee on Institutional and Policy-Level Strategies for Increasing the Diversity of the U.S. Healthcare Workforce (In the Nation’s Compelling Interest: Ensuring Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce). The Alliance’s goal is to provide the focused leadership, deep commitment, and sustainable efforts that will result in the addition to our nation’s workforce of more well-trained health professionals from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds able to provide quality health care and innovative research in the decades ahead.

For more information, go to www.thesullivanalliance.org, Twitter (@SullivanAllianc) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/SullivanAlliance).