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Diversity in Dentistry Action Group (DDAG) Releases “Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within Dentistry. A profession wide commitment”

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  Posted by: The Probe      14th May 2021

The Diversity in Dentistry Action Group (DDAG) has released its report, “Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within Dentistry. A profession wide commitment”, available to read on the FGDP(UK) website.

The DDAG report is endorsed by the following stakeholders: ADG, ACDA, ADH, BACDT, BASCD, BADN, BADT, BAOS, BDA, BDIA, BDSA, BES, BIDST, BOS, BOAMS, BSDHT, BSPD, CDS, CGD, COPDEND, CQC, DLA, DPA, DPLtd, DSC, EDSA, FGDP(UK), GDC, HEE, LDC, NASDAL, NHSBSA, NIHR, RD-UK, RCS FDS, SBDN.

Chair of the Group, GDP & Clinical Leadership Manager for OCDO, Nishma Sharma, said: “The issue of racism, prejudice, bias is an outdated, stagnant corroded bolus, stuck and wedged into the throat of society; choking progression, suffocating innovation, stifling the potential of a fresh representative workforce where there are no glass ceilings. This can no longer be ignored. Its deep roots are steeped in history, entrenched in the many conflicts and injustices endured over the years. It is now time to break down the barriers using the armoury of education, understanding, empathy, proactive reaction, energy, insight and allyship. Together we are a profession, yes, but we are also individuals with a responsibility for change within our own spheres of influence and extending to wider society.”

CDO England, Sara Hurley, also commented: “I have asked the action group to garner the seldom heard, to identify and acknowledge the conscious and unconscious bias, to challenge the system to listen and act, to work collaboratively across the profession to co-ordinate sustained action. This publication, and the commitments from each and every one of the organisations that have contributed to our call to action, sets the scene for sustainable change; from practice level to corporate boards, from dental policy to dental public health, from academic arenas to regulation. These organisations and their members, by virtue of their position and influence on the profession’s culture, values and ethics, have publicly placed themselves in the vanguard of change, fostering greater equality, diversity and inclusion.”

Background:

  • The DDAG mission statement is: “DDAG exists to promote a collaborative approach to shape a dental profession which respects, values and lives by the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion.”
  • The founding and development of the DDAG was driven by international social justice activity to uphold racial equality. It was recognised that advancing efforts to tackle inequalities would support the best possible outcomes for patients, the profession and broader society.
  • This is the first time dental stakeholders are working together in this way and with such widescale buy-in from across the profession
  • The ambition of the DDAG is to co-create a systematic approach for practical action across the profession, to nurture a culture of equality and inclusion and to address issues such as discrimination and underrepresentation. The aim being that this should result in positive changes in all areas of dentistry, including education, workforce development, staff wellbeing and patient care
  • Via regular webinars and workshops the DDAG enables organisations to share good practice, find opportunities for collaboration and support and learn from one another, allowing change to be delivered more effectively.
  • The inaugural event took place on 25th November 2020 drawing over 70 representatives from across the profession.

The Report:

  • “Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within Dentistry. A profession wide commitment.” sets out the DDAG’s aims, plans and recommendations. It marks the DDAG’s commitment to collaborative action and confirms the dental organisations which have pledged to the key principles for change set out below:
    • Working together to address inequalities and increase diversity in dentistry
    • Ongoing improvement through constant enquiry, investigation and learning
    • Creating a positive open learning culture across the profession and organisations which develops understanding and supports people to embrace diversity and inclusion
    • Exploring and developing opportunities for representation and inclusion
    • Actively committing to addressing racism and discrimination
    • Organisational commitment to change at all levels
    • Embracing workforce diversity
  • Other key messages from the report include:
    • There will be an initial focus by the DDAG on racial equality in dentistry, with this later expanding to address wider protected characteristics and discrimination issues
    • The top 3 priorities of the DDAG (as voted for at the inaugural event) are currently:
      • Creating a diverse, inclusive and representative workforce; with equal opportunities in the workplace
      • Creating diverse, inclusive and representative educational environments
      • Ensuring equitable access to dental care for patients and the public
  • The use of evidence and collaboration with stakeholders, we will explore opportunities to influence policy, practice and perceptions
  • Endeavour to learn from models and exemplars of success from within dentistry and from other sectors

To find out more about the work of DDAG and how the ambitions of the report can help improve equality in your place of work, please contact any of the stakeholder organisations who form part of DDAG. They can discuss the work of the group and how you and your colleagues can help to create a profession which is open, inclusive and ready for change.




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