George Floyd’s horrific death and the events of the last month have highlighted the issues of inequality and racism that are present globally, including in the UK.
The Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP(UK)) is proud of its long standing commitment to promoting equality and inclusion. The diversity of our Board is central to its effective representation of the general dental profession, however we know that more needs to be done. We want to be proactive in addressing these issues in our organisation and in our profession. We believe that black lives matter and we are an anti-racist organisation.
The FGDP(UK) represents general dental practices throughout the UK. The dental team is a diverse community of dental care professionals which includes many members of the BAME community. The term BAME is homogenous and describes a wide group in which the members have very different experiences. We are aware Black colleagues are a more disadvantaged group and do not have equality of representation and opportunity in dentistry. We are committed to addressing the impact of discrimination and believe this will benefit our patients and our profession.
Actions we will be taking immediately
- Educate ourselves about the issues that affect the various groups within the BAME community, and ensure our organisation actively promotes inclusion at every level. As part of this, we will review our ongoing equality and diversity training for FGDP(UK) Board members and educational programme leads to ensure that it is fit for purpose, and can implement positive and lasting change.
- Invite dental health care representatives from Black, Asian, Chinese and other minority groups to join a task force, to be chaired by FGDP(UK) Vice Dean Onkar Dhanoya FFGDP(UK), to identify the areas in dentistry which directly or indirectly disadvantage these groups.
- Collaborate with organisations and individuals across the profession to actively promote equality, diversity and inclusivity in general dental practice.
Dean of the Faculty, Ian Mills FFGDP(UK), said:
“This is an extremely important issue and I am extremely grateful to Onkar, and many other colleagues, who have had a significant role in influencing changes within dentistry. I am proud of the progress which our Faculty has made over the years to embrace equality and diversity, but it is clear that we still have significant work to do. The first step is to acknowledge that inequality exists within many areas of dentistry, and large sections of our profession are at a disadvantage in terms of opportunities and progression. This is particularly evident in relation to leadership roles within dentistry, where there is a distinct lack of diversity within many organisations. The FGDP(UK) and the new College of General Dentistry are amongst a number of dental organisations who are committed to influencing change to ensure that there are equal opportunities for all.”
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, FGDP(UK) Vice Dean Onkar Dhanoya FFGDP(UK) shares experiences from his education and career as an Asian dentist, and discusses actions the profession can take to address racial inequality in general dental practice.