A $50,000 alumnus donation to the School of Dental Medicine will go towards creating an LGBTQ+ fund at the institution.
The LGBTQ+ Fund, announced on Jan. 20, will support research into biases against LGBTQ people in the dental field and at the Dental School in particular, Penn Dental Medicine reported. The money will also help the Dental School work to eliminate biases against LGBTQ people in dentistry.
The Dental School plans to collaborate with Penn’s LGBT Center on this initiative, Penn Dental Medicine reported. To research these biases, the LGBTQ+ Fund will support data collection, surveys on students’ feelings about the school’s environment, and the development of resources to support LGBTQ students.
The Dental School will also offer more training programs on biases regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, Penn Dental Medicine reported.
“As an academic community, understanding the root of homophobia, transphobia, and bias related to actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity requires intentional study,” Mark S. Wolff, Morton Amsterdam Dean of the Dental School, told Penn Dental Medicine.
Penn Dental Medicine has made efforts in recent years to provide a more supportive environment for LGBTQ members of the school. In 2016, the Dental School revised its plan to recruit a more diverse group of faculty to include members of the LGBTQ community.
In 2019, the Dental School held its first annual Penn Dental Medicine Pride Celebration to foster a sense of community and promote diversity within the school, Penn Dental Medicine reported. The conference was held again virtually in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns.