Janice Darko Becomes First Black Woman Graduate From The University Of Utah’s School Of Dentistry

Janice Darko Becomes First Black Woman Graduate From The University Of Utah’s School Of Dentistry

Janice Darko made history, becoming the first Black woman to graduate from the University of Utah’s School of Dentistry.

Darko, who moved to America from Ghana with her family, will receive her historic degree later this week. “This is bigger than me. This is not just about me. This is about representing my community,” she said in an interview with KUTV. “Being a Black woman from Africa, I still have to go home. Cook, clean, be a wife, take care of my children. I have all of those responsibilities”.

Though the University of Utah’s program is relatively new, a spokesperson says it has been a major attraction for students of color.

So, Darko decided to use her time at the institution to create the Black and Dental Art Student Association, according to AfroTech. “The mission of the BDSA is to provide a firm and stable policy environment for effective mainstreaming of the African culture into all aspects of University of Utah Dental school life,” she said during an interview with the school. “To ensure strong emergence of a vibrant, creative art environment at the University of Utah campus. To entertain, inform, and inspire people around the globe and the dental community through the power of unparalleled art, reflecting iconic creative minds, and innovative technologies to bring inspiration, and innovation to every dental student, faculty, and staff who has a talent for art.”

In addition to her commitment to her family and peers in the program, Darko is also a member of the United States Navy Reserve, according to AfroTech. “When I interviewed her, I realized what a remarkable young woman that I was interviewing,” said Dr. Bart Watts, DDS, who is part of the admissions committee for the program. Dr. Watts hopes that more students of color will feel encouraged to apply to the University of Utah’s School of Dentistry despite its lack of diversity. “Apply. Come. Come. Just because Dentistry has been traditionally a white profession in the state of Utah for so many years, that doesn’t mean that the profession is closed to anyone else,” he said.