Osseo Senior High Pilots Program to Encourage More Diversity in Dental Field
Osseo Senior High is part of a pilot program aiming to give more students of color exposure in the dental field.
Lily Xiong is one of the recent graduates who participated in the program called Career Equity Project.
“I know from a young age I wanted to be in the medical field,” said Xiong.
Now she plans to major in dental hygiene.
“From what I’ve learned from the doctors I’ve talked to and from family members, they were like if you don’t get experience now you won’t be able to apply for jobs because they look at the experience you’ve gotten,” said Xiong.
The ultimate goal of the project is to create a more diverse workforce in dentistry. The Career Equity Project is an employer-based approach that proactively helps high school students launch careers in oral healthcare with careers like dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental therapists, dentists and administrative professionals too.
“Through this partnership, we’re able to partner up students with mentorship to help them navigate the process, to build up that resume, to apply to programs and get to those goals with some extra supports,” said Elie Bengston, who is part of the Osseo Health Science Magnet program.
Apple Tree Dental is one of the participating providers. It is partnering with Osseo Senior High and Kennedy Secondary School in Fergus Falls. A release from Apple Tree Dental says the two schools were picked because of their racial, economic, and geographical diversity, and because the high schools are close to two of Apple Tree’s largest facilities in Mounds View and Fergus Falls.