The National Dental Association Foundation (NDAF) sponsors various research projects that focus on improving the oral health and overall health of minority communities. Our objective is to enhance the research capabilities of our two-predominately minority educational institutions, Howard University College of Dentistry, and Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry. We accomplish this part of our mission by funding small pilot projects for researchers to begin the investigational process for more comprehensive research studies. We also fund student researchers to help increase the pipeline of minority researchers. In addition, the NDAF sponsors a major grant to fund a joint project (HMACS) focusing on specific dental issues that affect minority communities.


The NDAF has sponsored Howard University College of Dentistry and Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry with a million dollar grant to focus on the effect of sugar sweetened beverages on minority communities. This multiyear endeavor has helped us to begin to understand the correlations of the many sugar sweetened beverage products on the market today and their effects on minority adolescents.

Research Day

Research Day is a joint venture between Colgate and the NDAF. Students from across the country are invited to the campus of Colgate’s Technology center, where they present their research project to researchers at Colgate, members of Colgate’s leadership team, dental Deans and NDAF research team members. In addition to competing for a monetary award, the winning student project participant is also afforded the opportunity of being the luncheon research presenter at the NDA Minority faculty forum at the annual NDA Convention. Past Research Day presenters have gone on to have great careers in dentistry, including becoming faculty at various dental institutions.

Recent Publications

An Approach to Engaging Schools In Oral Health Initiatives: The Howard Meharry Adolescence Caries Study (HMACS) – Journal of Health Care, Poor and Underserved
Food insecurity, meal behaviors, beverage intakes, and body mass index in underserved adolescents - Journal of Health Care, Poor and Underserved

Papers Pending
Association between Sugar Sweetened Beverage Consumption and Dental Caries in Underserved Black Adolescents: The Howard-Meharry Adolescent Caries Study

Strong Devotion to Research

“NDAF sponsored research is very important, as it offers a platform for Minority researchers to collaborate and exchange ideas. It also helps to foster students in choosing research as an additional career path”
Jennifer Webster-Cyriaque, DDS, PhD

Howard College of Dentistry

The College of Dentistry at Howard University was established in 1881. It is the fifth oldest dental school in the United States. The mission of the College includes the philosophy that education, research and service are inseparable constituents of a modern dental education. The College’s primary goal is to remain a national resource for dental leaders and a comprehensive education and research institution, which attracts highly, motivated and academically accomplished students from culturally diverse backgrounds. The College has trained thousands of highly skilled dental professionals to serve their communities, particularly the under-served.

Meharry School of Dentistry

Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry is located in Nashville, Tennessee. True to its heritage, Meharry places special emphasis on providing opportunities for people of color, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, and others regardless of race or ethnicity. The College focuses on delivering high quality health services and conducting research that fosters the elimination of health disparities. The research vision of the School of Dentistry is to ensure research training is fully integrated within the academic programs and encouraging our faculty and students to be fully engaged in research activities.