The Changing Role of Post-baccalaureate Programs in Dental Education


Connie Kwong, Miranda Werts, April Martinez, George Taylor, Biana Roykh, and Elizabeth Mertz

Feb 2022

Pre-dental post-baccalaureate programs can help address oral health disparities by improving the diversity of the dental workforce pipeline. While long-term outcomes have had a positive impact on underserved areas and communities, dentists of underrepresented minority or socioeconomically disadvantaged (URM/SED) backgrounds remain significantly underrepresented in the overall dentist workforce. Post-bac programs have evolved and today many applicants participate in pre-health preparation programs, shifting the educational landscape, and adding additional educational debt to the pipeline. The aim of this study was to examine changing trends in post-bac programs for pre-dental students and to assess the role these programs play in improving oral health workforce diversity.

The findings of Healthforce Center’s Connie Kwong, Miranda Werts, and Elizabeth Mertz and colleagues raise questions regarding education decisions for pre-dental students, dental school admissions practices, and higher education affordability and financing, especially for public universities.