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Diversity & Inclusion at the College of Dentistry

Texas A&M University College of Dentistry is an environment comprised of faculty, staff, students, and patients who represent a vast array of cultural backgrounds, preferences, and beliefs. College of Dentistry identifies diversity and inclusiveness among its core values and is committed to maintaining a climate that cultivates a lifelong sense of belonging.

We define diversity as the inclusion, welcoming, and support of individuals from all groups, encompassing the various characteristics of persons in our community. The characteristics can include, but are not limited to: age, background, citizenship, disability, education, ethnicity, family status, gender, gender identity/expression, geographical location, language, military experience, political views, race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and work experience.

Those within the college are expected to show respect for individual differences, seek to understand and value the perspectives of others, and participate in the creation and sustainability of an accessible environment that promotes fairness and equality.

Similarly, the college commits to increasing access to dental care and improving the oral health of the diverse community of Texans through the provision of culturally sensitive care for patients within the college and at community sites in the northeast Texas area and throughout the state.

Goals and strategies for achieving exclusive excellence are detailed in the Texas A&M University College of Dentistry Diversity and Inclusion Plan.

Meet the Assistant Dean

Dr. Lavern Holyfield, Assistant Dean for Diversity and Faculty Development is also chair of the Committee on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access.

Dr. Holyfield is a longtime member of the Minority Affairs Section of the American Dental Education Association's (ADEA). She served as a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee (DIAC) from 2016 - 2019. As a DIAC member, she participated in the development of ADEA's Access, Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Framework 1-1 and its Faculty Diversity Toolkit.

Dr. Holyfield represents the College of Dentistry as its Women's Liaison Officer for ADEA and she was elected in 2018 to serve as the inaugural president of the Women in Leadership Special Interest Group.

Dr. Holyfield's training in diversity and cultural competence spans many years and includes such programs as the University of San Francisco Cultural Competence Training for Health Professionals, the Texas Diversity and Leadership Workshop, the Academic Network Conference on Diversity and Recruitment, and the SEC Business School Diversity Conference. She has also conducted research on cultural competence training in dental education.

As the college's leader for diversity, Dr. Holyfield works collaboratively with faculty, staff and students throughout the institution to foster and sustain a culture that practices, values, and promotes diversity and inclusion, equity and access throughout the institution.

Dr. Holyfield can be reached at: