It is widely acknowledged that there are many social benefits to having a multicultural health force, including ensuring that there is less of a barrier around access for underrepresented groups. Despite this, certain healthcare professions, including dentistry, have struggled with the historical legacy of being conceptualised as a “white” profession and whether it is ethnically representative of the public it serves. This article examines the role and place of ethnicity in the dental profession in the UK. It will describe the changing ethnic composition of UK dentistry and highlight some of the challenges faced by the profession from an equality and diversity perspective. The current qualitative work of the author exploring the barriers and facilitators faced by students from an ethnic background pursuing a career in dentistry will also be introduced. It concludes by encouraging more research on this topic.
- leaky pipeline