Diversity Task Force

Established in 2010 the committee’s charge is to move forward the diversity initiatives of the UMKC School of Dentistry’s strategic plan and to cultivate a climate that welcomes and respects diversity.

Support has also been given to this committee through the REACH Foundation (http://reachhealth.org/) and Resource Development Institute (http://rdikc.org/).

Mission Statement – Serve as a catalyst for improving the diversity and cultural competency of the University of Missouri- Kansas City School of Dentistry’s students, staff, faculty and administration by reducing oral health disparities and facilitation of buy in/ownership of its infusion into the fiber/culture of the institutions.

Membership – All students, staff and faculty of the School of Dentistry are always welcome to participate in this taskforce.  The taskforce rotates meetings between the first Thursday OR first Friday of each month. Please contact one of the Task Force chairs for time and location. Members are encouraged to participate in one of the following sub-committees:  (1) Dr. Donald Brown Speaker’s Series (2) Film & Book Discussion (3) Food & Culture Event (4) Taskforce Website Design.

Roles & Responsibilities – All students, staff and faculty of the SOD are always welcome to participate in this taskforce.  Members should share a fundamental belief that diversity and cultural competency are desired and beneficial for the betterment of the School of Dentistry and society in general.

Additional roles and responsibilities include:

  • Commitment to the diversity goals outlined in the UMKC School of Dentistry Strategic Plan.
  • Commitment to growth, participation, and membership in activities and meetings of committee.
  • Be a contributing voice in general, but in particular, areas that constitutes your domain or expertise/knowledge in the areas of discussion/concern.
  • Champion diversity and cultural competency activities in your daily arena.
  • Make advanced preparation for scheduled meeting i.e. research, investigation, literature, references and/or articles on the subject matter.
  • Take leadership in the planning of diversity forums/venues that are directed toward your peer group.

Cultural Competence Definition Approved by Taskforce – “Cultural Competency is the genuine sensitivity, respect, and ongoing commitment to learning about people regardless of race/ethnicity, disability, religion, creed, national origin, socioeconomic status, gender, and sexual orientation.”


  • School wide “Cultural Competency Feedback Survey” distributed in April 2011.
  • Summary survey reports presented individually to student, staff, and faculty groups in Summer 2011.
  • In March 2011 the Diversity Taskforce submitted a proposal to UMKC SOD Strategic Planning Committee with wording suggestions to make the strategic plan more inclusive.
  • The Diversity Taskforce was recognized as a standing committee with full Dean’s support.
  • Display case on second floor has been made available to share diversity initiatives and upcoming events.
  • Established the Dr. Donald Brown Diversity Speaker Series.  First speaker was Mr. Alvin Brooks (Kansas City civic activist and community supporter) in July 2012.  John Fierro (President/CEO of Mattie Rhodes Center) was the second speaker in October 2012.  In March 2013, Bob Kendrick (President of Negro Leagues Baseball Museum) spoke on “The Legacy of Negro League Baseball & Buck O’Neil. This was followed in October 2014 with Congressman Emanuel Clever II speaking on the Affordable Care Act. In April 2015 Mahnaz Shabbir (President of Shabbir Advisors) & Alan Edelman (Ass. Exe. Director, Jewish Federation of KC) spoke on “Building the Most Welcoming Community for All People.”
  • October 9, 2014 Congressman Emanuel Clever II spoke on the Affordable Care Act.
  • Initiated discussion regarding “Bushwacker” name change.
  • Helped establish a volunteer Spanish translator program for the UMKC School of Dentistry clinic.
  • Initiated conversation with Alumni & Development Office regarding inclusion of diverse perspectives at the Midwest Dental Conference speakers and within the Explorer’s Alumni Magazine.
  • Film viewings and book discussions have included:  “Cancer Cell Research: The way of all Flesh” (January 2015.)   Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech (January 2016.)  “From Separate to Equal: The Creation of Truman Medical Center” (January 2016.)

Contact Info
Faculty Chairs:  Dr. Derek Williams & Dr. Jack Nelson
Staff Chair:  Jeffery L. Primos
Student : Sara Qadi, Class 2017; Shayla Barber, Class 2016

Upcoming School of Dentistry Events:
*Dr. Donald Speaker Series
*Food & Culture Event
*Film & Book Discussion