Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of the University of Southern California
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The Dr. Clifton & Lois Dummett Scholarship is named in honor of Dr. Clifton O. Dummett, (May 20, 1919 - September 7, 2011).
Dr. Clifton O. Dummett, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of the University of Southern California, studied at Howard and Roosevelt Universities before earning his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) from Northwestern University in 1941.He earned master's degrees in periodontics and public health from Northwestern and the University of Michigan, respectively.In 1947, Dummett was named dean of the School of Dentistry at Meharry Medical College, where he was the youngest dean in the United States at 28.
An advocate for social justice and equality for all people, it was Dummett's resolution in the American Dental Association (ADA) House of Delegates that led to the lifting of restrictive membership within the organization.
He served the National Dental Association (NDA) for 22 years as editor in chief.
A retired life member of the ADA with 60 years of membership, Dr. Dummett is Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Dentistry at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry.
Editor's note: Dr. Clifton O. Dummett was a witness and participant to the events of the 1950s-60s.
As the editor of the National Dental Association's journal in the 1950s, he published an editorial calling for more inclusive membership policies among the dental profession, which led to a supporting resolution by the NDA House of Delegates.
Dr. Dummett was given honorary ADA membership in 1969, which according to the Bylaws at the time was an honor for "an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the advancement of the art and science of dentistry.
"The goals of the group were to create a national instrument of post-graduate education for black physicians and meaningful experiences in the medical specialties, to combat racial discrimination and exclusion in hospital care and functions and to represent allied health practitioners in actions to eliminate inequities in health care services," writes Clifton O. Dummett, DDS, distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry in Los Angeles, in his essay, Dentistry in the African American Community.
"These aims helped to elevate the quality of health care available to African Americans."
In 1932, the organization was renamed the National Dental Association (NDA).
In the mid-20th century, individual black dentists were among the most outspoken activists for civil rights, Dummett continues.
"Impatient with the slow pace of desegregation, younger-generation NDA members embraced the spirit of the turbulent sixties and adopted nonviolent avenues to channel defiance of odious segregation, particularly in the South."
In 1971, the National Dental Association Foundation (NDAF) was created and has been responsible for distributing scholarships and grants to worthy black dental students, dentists and auxiliaries for research and graduate studies in preparation for the dental specialties.
Since 1977, African Americans have been appointed deans or interim deans at a number of American dental schools, even in the Deep South, Dummett writes.
"A singular breakthrough occurred in 2002 when Dean Ronald Johnson at the University of Texas (Houston, Texas) was appointed vice president of Health and Medical Affairs at that institution.
In the field of dental hygiene, Konnetta Putman, RDH, became the first African American president of the American Dental Hygiene Association."
Most importantly, African American dentists have made it a goal to improve access to dental care.
"Traditionally, the vast majority of African American dentists have dedicated themselves to providing acceptable, high-quality, oral health services to minority and underprivileged populations," Dummett writes.
The guest speaker was Dr. Clifton Dummett, distinguished professor emeritus at USC.He has had an exemplary 64 year career in dentistry.
His teaching career in periodontics began at Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry where he ultimately became dean and director of dental education at age 28, establishing a record as the youngest dental dean in the United States.While at USC, Dr. Dummett was professor and chairman of the Department of Community Dentistry and Public Health, and associate dean.He was inducted into the Hall of Fame at USC Dental School.
Dr. Dummett was the first dentist to serve as associate chief of staff for research and education at one of the nation's VA hospitals.In 1969 he became the first member of the dental faculty at USC to be elected President of the International Association for Dental Research.
In 1972, Dr. Dummett was one of the first three dentists in the nation and the first USC faculty member to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine.
Dr. Dummett gave an inspiring talk to those in attendance.
Divisional Presidents of the International Association for Dental Research (left to right): S. Matsumiya, Japanese; G. H. Rovelstad, North American (President-Elect); C. H. Tonge, British; J. F. Van Reenen, South African; K. F. Adkins, Australia-New Zealand; M. Skougaard, Scandinavian-NOF; G. Cimasoni, Continental European; C. O. Dummett, North American (President).
After calling the meeting to order at 9:00 A.M., President Dummett welcomed the members and guests.He introduced the president or representative of each of the other IADR divisions, who extended a message to the Association for his division, as follows:
President Dummett, ladies and gentlemen.
INTRODUCTION OF MAYNARD K. HINE BY CLIFTON O. DUMMETT
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