The Importance of Diversity in Improving Oral Health

Dr. Martha Somerman

Research shows that teams with members from diverse backgrounds are more likely to generate innovative ideas than teams made up of members from similar backgrounds. For NIDCR to succeed in our mission to improve dental, oral, and craniofacial health, we must continue to recruit scientists who have different backgrounds and life experiences. Their participation is vital to the realization of NIDCR's Strategic Plan.

NIDCR's goal is to attract and retain a larger proportion of people from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, people with disabilities, and people from economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. To achieve this goal, we must increase applications from individuals from underrepresented groups by communicating more broadly and effectively about what we have to offer.

Already, our staff attends national scientific conferences to consult with and advise students and scientists at all career levels about research training and career development, and research support (grants and funding). Our other communication channels include the Diversity & NIDCR portal and social media presence on Twitter and LinkedIn. In addition, potential applicants can learn about programs and resources across NIH at the NIH Office of Scientific Workforce Diversity website.

We invite you to explore the Diversity & NIDCR portal to learn about programs that support a vibrant and inclusive research community.

Sincerely yours,


Martha Somerman, DDS, PhD
Director, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health

NIH Leaders

NIH leaders discussed evidence-based approaches for enhancing the diversity of the workforce on April 24, 2015, at the expert panel discussion, “Enhancing Diversity and Inclusion: Insights from the Experts” (from left): Director of the NIH Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Debra C. Chew, Esq; NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity Hannah Valantine, MD; and NIDCR Director Martha J. Somerman, DDS, PhD.

Last Reviewed
July 2018