Dean's blog

Lyndon F. Cooper | School of Dentistry

I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Carlos Smith as the School of Dentistry’s director of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). In this inaugural position, he will serve as a key member of my leadership team with oversight for all diversity, equity and inclusion activities that support students, residents, faculty and staff in the School of Dentistry and VCU Dental Care.

Dr. Carlos Smith

Dr. Smith will assist in shaping institutional leadership surrounding diversity, cultural sensitivity, and health inequities to address changes needed to the curriculum in support of cultural competency. Additional responsibilities include collaborating with critical stakeholders responsible for diversity, inclusion and health equity across both campuses of Virginia Commonwealth University.

He will collaborate with me and the associate dean for student affairs as needed in the management of concerns related to DEI. He will partner with other university units to create metrics and monitoring systems, including accountability measures, for DEI in the School of Dentistry.

Dr. Smith will continue to serve as director of ethics curriculum and to teach in the Department of General Practice. Because my vision is that this new position will be expanded to an assistant or associate dean, I am seeking approval to move in that direction and will conduct a formal search.

I look forward to working directly with Dr. Smith and supporting this important work, which is critical to the success of our school. A vital first step is the creation of a school DEI statement and website. With contributions from others, he drafted an initial statement and will gather broader comments as the final statement is prepared.

Plans are underway for an inaugural School of Dentistry Inclusive Excellence Week celebrating our rich diversity and commitment to inclusive excellence during Global Diversity month in October.

Dr. Carlos Smith earned his Doctor in Dental Surgery from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and his Master of Divinity, with a concentration in Theology and Ethics, from Duke Divinity School. He began his teaching career in the Department of General Practice in September 2015 after nearly a decade in both public health dentistry and private practice in North Carolina. He has served as Director of Ethics Curriculum spearheading the dental school’s ethics and professionalism effort including our annual Mirmelstein Lecture and first year student summer reading experience.

Additionally, Dr. Smith took on the responsibilities of group practice leader in 2017. A national speaker in the arena of ethics and professionalism, Dr. Smith serves on the board of directors of the American Society for Dental Ethics and the Virginia Dental Association Foundation. He also serves as chair of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Professional, Ethical and Legal Issues Special Interest Group.

An active ADEA member, Dr. Smith was most recently appointed one of 12 nationwide faculty to the ADEA Collaborative on Dental Education Climate Assessment, charged with exploring issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and wellness throughout the U.S. and Canada. He is also a national liaison to the ADEA Commission on Change & Innovation in Dental Education. Dr. Smith serves on the Virginia Health Equity and Cultural Competence Steering Committee, convened by Virginia Secretary of Health Dan Carey.

Please join me in celebrating Dr. Smith’s leadership and vision in this new position.

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