“We talk teeth”: Exploring faculty EDIA (equity, diversity, inclusivity, and access) capacity in dental education

Lindsay K. Macdonald, Venise D. Bryan, Shauna M. Hachey, Lorraine M. Thirsk

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review


Purpose: There are increasing concerns regarding inequitable educational access and experiences for underrepresented populations in health education, prompting dental faculties to recognize EDIA (equity, diversity, inclusivity, and access) capacity as a strategic priority. Faculty members contribute to the establishment and reinforcement of institutionally engrained norms within learning settings with significant influence on the experience of students. Currently, there is limited literature on faculty EDIA capacity within dental education and minimal evidence to inform barriers to development. This study sought to explore how dental faculty members perceive their personal and institutional EDIA capacity and to identify current strengths and weaknesses of EDIA development within the institution of study and dental education. Methods: Using a hermeneutic study design, semi-structured interviews were conducted on a convenience sampling of dental faculty members (n = 10) and a thematic, interpretative analysis was applied. Results: Findings revealed six dominant themes impacting EDIA capacity. Knowledge of EDIA language, interfaculty communication, and institutional messaging are identified as weaknesses, whereas informal, community building events for EDIA development are identified as novel strengths meriting prioritization. Motivation to engage in EDIA by faculty members overall is illuminated in relation to emotionally provocative experiences. Conclusion: Current institutional communication of EDIA is unconsciously restricting capacity building based on hierarchical and prescribed parameters. Developing capacity in dental education requires a redirection of resources to initiatives valuing social bonding over prescribed box-checking. This study reveals a new narrative of EDIA capacity within dental education and sustainable pathways for development with high transferability to other health programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)987-996
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Dental Education
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul. 2023


  • cultural diversity
  • education
  • faculty
  • inclusive environments
  • institutional development


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