The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) is hosting the Determined To Be a Doctor Someday (DDS) Symposium on Saturday, August 26. It will take place in the UTHSC Student-Alumni Center’s O.D. Larry Dining Hall, located at 800 Madison Avenue, Memphis, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.
The symposium was the initiative of local dentist and UTHSC alumna Christina Rosenthal, DDS, MPH, who saw the national need for an increase in minority health care providers.
“Coming from very humble beginnings in North Memphis, my quest to become a dentist was never easy, but I made it,” says Dr. Rosenthal. “Dentistry has not only allowed me to achieve my dreams, but it has also given me a chance to be a blessing to my family and the community. This could not have been possible without health care providers, who not only provided care, but served as mentors along the way. Now, it is my turn to be that mentor. To whom much is given, much is required.”
Altha Stewart, MD, associate professor of psychiatry and founding director of the Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth at UTHSC and the first African-American president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association in the organization’s 143-year history, will be the event’s guest speaker. In addition to hands-on activities, breakout sessions, and a panel discussion, four $1,000 scholarships will be awarded in honor of Wisdom Coleman, DDS, a Memphis dentist who served as dean of admissions for the UTHSC College of Dentistry.
Currently, professional schools across the nation are reporting low minority enrollment numbers in their programs, and these shortages are not specific to one particular discipline. It is known that minority professionals typically treat minority populations. With a reduction in the number of graduates from these professional schools and an increase in the number of minorities in the general population, the barrier to obtaining health care will continue to enlarge if this trend continues, leaving millions without access to care.
Dr. Rosenthal’s love of helping and sharing knowledge with others has led her to create this initiative. With the help of the American Dental Association and continuous support of UTHSC, she was able to design a program so young people could obtain mentors and receive the necessary resources to achieve their goals of becoming health care professionals. It is hoped that upon completion of these professional programs, they will return to their communities and help close health care access disparities.
One hundred students were selected to participate in this year’s highly competitive symposium. For additional information, please contact Dr. Christina Rosenthal at (901) 758-2127 or firstname.lastname@example.org.