S.M.I.L.E. Healthcare Pathway Program

Our Mission

The S.M.I.L.E. (Student Mentoring with Immersive Learning and Enrichment) Healthcare Pathway Program is a partnership between Henry Schein, Inc. the National Dental Association, and other professional associations to help mentor future healthcare professionals, enhance health literacy, expand diversity in the healthcare workforce and ultimately improve health and overall outcomes in underserved communities nationwide.

When and Where

S.M.I.L.E. Healthcare Pathway Program Camp takes place in Washington, D.C. during the summer of 2023 and will expand to other historically diverse colleges and universities in the future. This summer camp will introduce students to careers in oral health, including: dentist, dental hygienist, dental assistant, or dental office administrators.


Two One-Week Sessions Are Available to Students Entering 9th and 10th grade in the 2023—2024 School Year

  • Session 1: June 25—July 1
  • Session 2: July 9—15

The sessions will be held at the Howard University College of Dentistry in Washington, DC.

Applications Are Now Closed

2023 Applicants will receive notification by Monday, June 12.


  • Immersive learning and enrichment for students introducing them to the oral health community.
  • Connect student participants with mentors who will support and provide guidance that facilitates the student’s interest in various healthcare professions.
  • Enhance the student’s knowledge of the health disparities and inequities that can impact one’s health and the overall outcomes of their community.

Supported by a grant from the Henry Schein Cares Foundation and the Robert I. Schattner Foundation, Inc. It is anticipated that 40 students of diverse backgrounds, races, and ethnicities will participate in this innovative program which will be the first introduction to higher education and exposure to a profession that many of them will have ever experienced. Through S.M.I.L.E., we endeavor to dramatically impact the student’s lives and the communities from which they come.

Deadline: May 17th


  • Students from underrepresented communities entering 9th or 10th grade who are in good standing academically
  • Students who are financially disadvantaged will be given priority
  • Students who are interested in learning more about careers in dentistry or the healthcare community


Who is this program intended for and why does it exist?

This program was designed to support 8th and 9th-grade students who are interested in learning more about the healthcare community, impacting their communities, and connecting with other students and mentors who support their interests.

What is the profile of a mentor?

We are looking for empathetic, transparent professionals who are willing to share, sponsor, provide insights to and support students looking to explore potential career opportunities in healthcare. Mentors do not need to be in a specific position to participate, as long as they can share experiences and insights into oral health, healthcare, and/or health inequities in communities.

What is the difference between a mentor and a chaperone?

A mentor is someone who is willing to serve as a longer-term role model and resource for the student, sharing meaningful experiences, providing guidance, and building a formal relationship. A chaperone will be at the university to oversee and safeguard the students' health, safety, and day-to-day needs.

What is expected of the mentor?

The mentor is expected to attend the summer camp program at Howard University June 25-July 1 and/or July 9-15 where on the first night, they will get to know the students, be matched with 1-2 mentees, and begin to build their long-term relationship. Mentors will also be asked to attend nightly dinners and activities where they can bond with their mentees in an informal manner. For the last day and a half of the summer camp, mentors will be asked to support the student's development of their Capstone Project. Following the summer camp program, mentors will be asked to be available to their mentees monthly to guide, support, answer questions, and provide exposure opportunities.

What is expected of the mentee?

The mentee is expected to be transparent with their mentor, share their aspirations and future goals and be willing to learn. At the summer camp, mentees should aspire to connect with their mentor to build meaningful relationships that they can continue long-term. Mentees should ask their mentors for advice and guidance on their Capstone Project and be open to constructive feedback. Following the summer camp, mentees are expected to stay in contact with their mentors at least monthly.

Who sets the goals?

Although the overall objective of the mentorship program is to provide guidance, support, and insights to students about the healthcare community, the mentee is encouraged to develop specific personal goals that they feel their mentor can support them with.


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