The E-News site has been inactive since February 2011 and may contain outdated information and/or broken links. For current and up-to-date Tufts news and information, please visit Tufts Now at
Tufts University e-news

Search  GO >

this site people
Tufts University Logo Bottom Search Bottom  
left side photo

Dental Grad on Ebony's List

Dental Grad on Ebony's ListDr. Aljernon Bolden, a graduate of the Tufts School of Dental Medicine, was named by Ebony as one of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans

Boston [08.04.05] His name may not be as widely recognized as that of US Senator Barack Obama or entertainer Oprah Winfrey, but Tufts School of Dental Medicine graduate Dr. Aljernon Bolden ranks right up there with them. In May 2005, Ebony recognized Bolden – who heads the National Dental Association (NDA) – on the magazine's list of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans.

"[The honorees] bring their own unique abilities and influence to the table," according to the magazine.

Bolden and his colleagues at the NDA strive to "continually enhance the skills of its members, recruit under-represented minorities into the profession, and create opportunities for research among its members and the communities they serve."

Though Bolden’s name appeared on Ebony’s list, the Tufts graduate says the honor really recognizes “the National Dental Association's services and the importance of organizations of people of color."

The NDA was founded in 1913 to offer membership to minorities who – up through the middle of the 20th century, according to Bolden – were often denied entry into oral health professional organizations.

"We have always believed that oral health care is a right and not a privilege," said Bolden, who also serves as Associate Professor of Preventive and Public Health Sciences and Director of Extramural Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry. "Approximately 80 percent of people of color are treated by people of color, so there's a shortage - about 12 percent of this nation is African American, but less than about 3 percent of the oral healthcare work force is African American. And those patients can least afford to pay."

"We [the NDA] are one of the safety nets to access to care," Bolden continued in a press release. "It's crucial that we have in the workforce an equity that reflects the population of the United States."

As a leader both in the health care community and among minorities working in the dental field, Bolden is well aware of the significance of Ebony’s honor.

"Leadership is both innate and something developed over time. There are some qualities that can be developed, such as administrative qualities," Bolden explained. "But certain qualities – vision, ability to work with multiple people and tasks, the ability to see the big picture and try to get the best out of individuals, and the personal fortitude and belief and passion in what you're doing – these are not things you can teach."
























Related Stories
Featured Profile