DDS, Dental Foundation, Education, Leadership, Scholarships, Students

Leadership fellow program helps student look into the future

Sylvette Ramos-Diaz, DDS '24, recently completed a leadership program sponsored by the Dental Foundation of North Carolina.

Sylvette Ramos-Diaz, DDS ‘24, recently graduated as an AIDPH Dental Public Health Leadership Academy (DPHLA) Fellow.

“I want to express my gratitude to the Dental Foundation of North Carolina for sponsoring my participation in this wonderful fellowship. I was the only dental student participant in this cohort,” she said. “It was incredible to learn so much from public health leaders and get their feedback while shaping my vision for the future of my Hispanic Oral health Prevention & Education (H.O.P.E.) Program.”

Ramos-Diaz said she knew she wanted to combine her work in public health, pediatric dentistry and preventive dentistry, and the fellowship was the ideal way to move forward and pursue avenues she was passionate about. She was particularly interested in working with special needs patients, and she sought out activities that would help her achieve this goal.

“I knew this would be a program where I would meet many seasoned public health program directors. My cohort had a lot of experience in growing the kinds of programs and services that I hope to provide to the underserved and underrepresented populations I want to continue to partner with upon graduation,” she said.

The value of leadership

Leadership programs like this fellowship offer students insights into how to communicate and delegate, and teach valuable conflict resolution skills, positioning students for a more successful career in a professional setting. It also helps students get a glimpse of life after dental school and what they can pass on to others after they graduate.

Ramos-Diaz said she wants H.O.P.E. to be part of her legacy after she leaves Adams School of Dentistry, and she wants to make sure there is enough funding for her efforts to remain sustainable even when she’s gone.

“I want to ensure that both faculty and students at UNC stay engaged with the community through H.O.P.E., so my goal is to obtain funding to turn H.O.P.E. into a paid precision public health dentistry fellowship program at UNC,” she said.