Influence, guidance, direction — three benefits of mentorship — help prepare the dentists of tomorrow. Benco Dental announces a partnership with, and support for, Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships, a 501(C)(3) nonprofit educational organization with a mission to educate and empower underrepresented minority students to explore dentistry through mentoring. 

At the Diversity In Dentistry Mentorships YouTube channel, Dr. Laila Hishaw, the organization’s founder and director, shares an overview of the organization, discusses the collaboration with Benco Dental and explains how new volunteer mentors can make a difference.

What inspired Dr. Laila Hishaw to create Diversity In Dentistry Mentorships?

Racial diversity among dentists does not mirror that of the U.S. population. In the latest report from the Health Policy Institute, of all U.S. dentists, only 3.8% are Black, 5.2% are Hispanic and 1.1% totaled American Indian, Alaska Native, and Pacific Islanders.

Dr. Laila Hishaw created the Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships to educate, empower, and mentor African American youth and other underrepresented minorities to dentistry. According to, the organization’s goal is to show those youngsters that dentistry is a rewarding career and an attainable goal early on in life.

As one of the 3.8 percent of Black dentists in America, Dr. Hishaw noted that she strongly believes representation matters, and that children will want to emulate that which they see in their lives.  

With its efforts, Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships aims to resolve the lack of diversity in medicine that, according to recent studies, leads to poor health — and oral health — outcomes among minorities.

Dr. Laila Hishaw, shown at her practice Tucson Smiles Pediatric Dentistry in Arizona, created the Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships to educate, empower, and mentor African American youth and other underrepresented minorities to dentistry.

Missions of Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships and Benco Dental align

How do Dr. Hishaw and Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships aim to support their mission “to increase the number of underrepresented minority dentists”? To begin, they’re creating initiatives to provide:

  • job shadowing opportunities, and
  • resources for young hopefuls to be attractive candidates for dental school.

At Benco Dental, the mission to drive dentistry forward through innovative solutions and caring family culture is very much a part of the way the leadership team and associates approach every day. The same holds true for company’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee mission:

We recognize, leverage and celebrate the differences each of us brings to Benco as a key to our success. Driving Dentistry Forward Together means that Diversity, Equity & Inclusion are woven into the fabric of our Benco Family.

In service of that mission, Benco’s People of Color Subcommittee, in partnership with the Benco Family Foundation, established the partnership with and support for Diversity in Dentistry.

Looking for ways to support Diversity In Dentistry Mentorships?

Volunteer time and expertise with Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships to be a mentor to a student (ranging from middle school through college) to help them discover dentistry and understand all the great things it can do for them and their communities.

Donate to support the Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships 5-week Virtual Mentoring Program with U.S. Dream Academy. Get details about donating to purchase supplies, such as tooth models, white coats, and electric toothbrushes for this endeavor at:

For more information, or to sign up to be a mentor, visit: