Black History Month – Past, Present, Future

This Black History Month, we honor those Black Americans who have changed and are continuing to change the way we view and understand oral health and its importance for overall health for all Americans.


David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. David Satcher, an American scientist-physician and public health administrator, was the first Black director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, holding that position from 1993 until 1998, the year that he was appointed the 16th Surgeon General of the United States. He was a four-star admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and he also served as the 10th Assistant Secretary for Health.

The son of a small farmer, Dr. Satcher nearly died of whooping cough at the age of two, but  received life-saving care from the only Black physician in the area. He grew up hearing this story,   and was resolved from an early age to become a doctor. At his racially segregated high school, he was class valedictorian, and he went on to earn a B.S. in 1963 from Morehouse College, a historically Black institution in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1970, he became the first African-American to earn both an M.D. and a Ph.D. (cytogenetics) at Case Western Reserve University.

In 2000, during his tenure as Surgeon General, David Satcher released Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General. It was the first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health and brought light to how crucial oral health is to overall health.

“Without oral health, you’re not healthy,” Satcher has said. “And oral health is about more than just the health of the teeth.”



Cherae Farmer-Dixon, D.D.S., M.S.P.H., M.B.A., F.A.C.D., F.I.C.D.

Dr. Cherae Farmer-Dixon has overcome barriers in race, gender and academia, becoming the third woman to head the School of Dentistry at Meharry Medical College. She remains one of a few select women to lead in the role as Dean of a superior dental program that has produced 40 percent of the nation’s currently practicing African-American dentists.

She sets the bar high for her students and faculty in the program and always works overtime to help them in achieving their goals with excellence.

Dr. Farmer-Dixon is also an academic scholar who immerses herself in published research activities dealing with oral health disparities, caries in low-income children, and community outreach and intervention, and she works tirelessly to address disparities within minority dental school enrollment.

She is recognized by the Nashville Business Journal as one of the 2019 Women of Influence, and is a distinguished 2019 alumna of the Nashville Healthcare Council of Fellows. Dr. Farmer-Dixon is a 2018 fellow of the International College of Dentists, a 2014 fellow of the American College of Dentists, a 2000 alumnae of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program (ELAM), and a member of the American Dental Education Association Leadership Institute 2003-2004 class.



Amara Mbionwu, D.M.D. Candidate

Amara Mbionwu is a member of the inaugural graduation class (the class of 2027) at Kansas City University College of Dental Medicine, where she is a D.M.D. candidate and serves as Treasurer of the American Student Dental Association. She is currently organizing the KCU College of Dental Medicine chapter of the Student National Dental Association with Dr. Latasha Vick, who will serve as the SNDA faculty advisor.

Amara has been a competitive athlete throughout her years at high school, college, and at the KCU College of Dental Medicine. Amara is the current captain of the Team USA Netball team and a TrueSport Ambassador.

She was born in Washington, DC and her family resides in Bowie, MD.


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