Oral Health Group

Harvard School of Dental Medicine Alumna Reflects on Progress and Potential to Address Racial Inequities

November 12, 2020
by Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Fifty years ago, Dolores Mercedes Franklin, DMD74, PD76, became the first woman of color to attend Harvard School of Dental Medicine and one of the first five women to earn a DMD degree. A trailblazer throughout her life, Franklin, a global leader in oral health policy, achieved many firsts in her career, paving the way for future generations of women and individuals of color in dentistry.

Today, she sees a pressing need to address racial inequities in oral health care in light of COVID-19. She envisions a path to equity for underrepresented racial minorities in dentistry through scholarship. The Freeman, Grant, Franklin Scholarship bearing her name pays tribute to her and other prominent Black figures in HSDM’s history.

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