Part of the UT Health San Antonio.
The Student National Dental Association (SNDA) has been dedicated to increasing the presence of minorities in the dental field for over 50 years. The SNDA was established to connect, support, aid and advance the needs, academic and social environment of underrepresented dental students.This association strives to create opportunities for its members to develop stronger alliances amongst one another, all while developing a sense of community and aiding in advancing minority students in dentistry. The SNDA provides great opportunities to hone leadership skills on both a national and local level. The UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry hosts a chapter of the SNDA led by their president, Uche Nwasuruba, a fourth-year dental student. “I joined SNDA because of its mission, to give an opportunity and voice to underrepresented students. It has been a great way to connect with current and graduated students and dentists at UT Health San Antonio,” Nwasuruba said. “Being a member has allowed me to find mentors and a community of students with many different backgrounds but with the same goal of reaching our community. We are able to speak on different topics and experiences that others may not always understand and learn from one another. I work with all the officers to plan meetings and events for the organization and meet with other SNDA presidents nationwide to discuss and learn more ways to be involved with the national organization.” The following are key membership benefits gained by joining the SNDA: • Support provided for confronting health disparities in underserved populations by advocating for a diverse health force. • By networking and mentorship, students and graduates will attain excellence in all academic and professional areas desired. • Programs are available to provide outreach to decrease oral health disparities nationwide. • Maintain a relationship with National Dental Association while fostering mentorship within our organization. “I joined SNDA to engage with fellow students and learn about the cultures of my fellow classmates,” stated Jonathan Thompson, vice president of SNDA and a fourth-year dental student. “I also joined to help build on the inclusive environment established for all students at the dental school. Since being a member, SNDA has helped me navigate the dental profession as a first-generation college student. SNDA has also helped me to connect with fellow students and learn more about many different cultures.” Thompson, in part, helps support the president's role and assists with student outreach and activities. “The leaders and members of SNDA are an incredibly active and involved group. Personally, they have been amazing partners to work with in regard to diversity, equity and inclusion here at the School of Dentistry. They work very hard, and the impact that they have created will most certainly be a lasting one. I am grateful to have these students as part of our school; it wouldn’t be the same without them,” commented Stefanie D. Seitz, DDS, MEd, assistant dean for students and diversity, equity and inclusion, interim director for the IDEP Program and associate clinical professor for the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry. Are you seeking collaboration, networking and community outreach opportunities with other minority dental students? Join our local chapter for access to invaluable resources, financial assistance through scholarships and lifelong friendships. Email Uche Nwasuruba or Stefanie D. Seitz, DDS, MEd, for more info!