Summer Health Professions Education Program: Dentistry

SHPEP Students in Dental Lab

Program Dates: May 13 – June 21, 2024

The Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) is a FREE summer enrichment program focused on improving access to information and resources for college students interested in the health professions.

SHPEP’s goal is to strengthen the academic proficiency and career development for freshman and sophomore students and prepare them for a successful application and matriculation to health professions schools.

UF SHPEP 2024 will be offered in a hybrid format. During the first two weeks of the program, all events, workshops, and instruction will be held virtually. All programming during the remaining four weeks will take place in-person on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, FL, during which participants will be provided on-campus housing and meals.

Health Professions at the University of Florida

UF SHPEP Contact

Rachel Powers, Program Coordinator

Phone: 352.294.8628

UF SHPEP Socials

Applying for UF SHPEP

Application Deadlines

Eligibility Requirements

  • Have a GPA of 2.5 or above
  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or an individual granted deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) status by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Be a new participant to SHPEP (have not previously participated in the program)
  • Be a college freshman or sophomore at the time of application (possess less than 60 credits, excluding AP credits)

Additional Considerations

  • Identifies as a first-generation health professional (i.e., applicant’s legal guardian(s) did not receive graduate degrees in a Health Profession).  
  • Identifies as a first-generation college student (i.e., applicant’s legal guardian(s) did not receive undergraduate degrees).
  • A University of Florida Pell Grant recipient, Promise Student, or Machen Florida Opportunity Scholar.  
  • Comes from an economically and/or educationally disadvantaged background. 
  • Demonstrates a desire to work as a health professional in underserved communities.
  • Identifies as a Non-traditional student with less than 60 credits.  

Dental Career Pathway

SHPEP dental career pathway

Students accepted in the Dental Career Pathway will:

  • Produce hands-on projects in a dental simulation lab
  • Shadow dental students in general and specialty dental clinics
  • Explore dentistry and its specialties with dental faculty, residents, and students
  • Participate in a variety of workshops on topics that might include community outreach, interviewing, professionalism, and financial aid
  • Make connections, bond, and network with students who have similar goals

With 12 SHPEP program sites across the nation, what makes UF exceptional?

The UF Academic Health Center is the country’s only academic health center with six health-related colleges located on a single, contiguous campus.

a unique experience on one contiguous campus


"This program has been awesome for me. It's confirmed that dentistry is, indeed, the profession that I want to pursue…it was through the opportunities that SHPEP provided."

2019 UF SHPEP scholars in the dental simulation lab. Play Video

We stress the importance of inter-professional training in a unique way specific to the UF SHPEP site. Scholars are given the opportunity to participate in a Disaster Drill/Mass Casualty Simulation with the participation of all six health colleges. Health professionals ranging from emergency medicine, pharmacy, county first responders, and various faculty members and students within these six colleges come together to give our scholars a hands-on learning experience with emergency situations.

uf shpep

Mass Casualty Disaster Drill Simulation

*WARNING* Fake but realistic wounds and make-up used during this simulation to provide our University of Florida scholars a hands-on learning experience with emergency situations.

shpep mass casualty drill Play Video

What to Expect at UF SHPEP

Students selected to attend UF SHPEP gain academic and personal enrichment in Gator culture through:


Can I participate in SHPEP if I am a junior or senior in college, or if I have already graduated from college? No. SHPEP is exclusively for current freshman and sophomore college students.

I am a freshman and have not received my grades yet. Can I submit my high school transcript? High school transcripts are not accepted. If you are a freshman and you have not received your first semester grades, please allow them to be finalized before you submit your transcripts.

Can the recommendation be submitted by a previous employer or high school teacher? If a recommendation cannot be submitted by a pre-health advisor or college professor within your major, the SHPEP National Program Office will accept one from an employer that is within a health professions field or from a science high school teacher.

I’m applying online and I see medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, and public health as my career path choice – I’m interested in another career in health, what do I do? While students select from four main concentrations – Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy and Public Health – selected students will be given the opportunity to learn hands on about veterinary medicine, nursing, physician assistant, and a number of public health professions such as clinical and health psychology, speech, language & hearing sciences, health administration, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. It is at the student’s discretion which concentration they should choose when they apply.

Am I able to participate in SHPEP and attend classes over the summer? SHPEP is a full-time commitment with pre-planned days of curriculum, activities, and rotations. Students’ full participation is required during the course of the program dates. Should summer courses be offered following the program, the student is free to enroll and attend, however attending summer courses during the program is not recommended.

Will meals be provided during my time at UF SHPEP? Dining debit cards are provided to all scholars to use at University of Florida’s dining locations on campus. All dining locations are open seven days a week.

I don’t have health insurance. Is there a UF Health insurance option for successful applicants? If a scholar does not have insurance, a limited insurance plan will be purchased by the UF SHPEP program for that scholar.

Will I have free time to explore Gainesville? Scholars have a full menu of extracurricular activities to enjoy. Possible adventures include: touring UF museums, talent show, kayaking, disc golf, volleyball, swimming, tubing, social gatherings with professional students, bowling, movies, and summer concerts on the plaza.

Is housing provided? Where will I live during UF SHPEP? Scholars stay in dormitories located in the center of campus free of cost.

Should I bring a car? How will I get around? Dorms are a ten-minute walk from the Academic Health Center. Scholars also have free access to the campus and city buses.

Will I receive aid with traveling to Gainesville? Travel expenses will be compensated based on availability and distance traveled.

How does the stipend work? Scholars receive a $600 stipend to be disbursed throughout the program.

Is there a cost to attending UF SHPEP? No. Students will be provided with housing, meals and a stipend that will cover through the six weeks.

Who should I pick to write reference letters for me? This should be someone who knows your academic and personal character. Ideally this should be a pre-health advisor and/or a college professor. If none of these persons know you well enough, a high school science teacher or a local dentist or physician who knows you well is acceptable.

For more answers concerning admissions and all things SHPEP, visit SHPEP’s FAQ page online.

SHPEP Dental Career Pathway Photo Gallery

Scholars following Surgery Simulation at Vet Med
UF SHPEP 2017 Group Photo
Dental Mentor Congratulating Scholars
Pre-Dental Scholar with Albert and Alberta
Pre-Dental Scholar with Albert and Alberta
SHPEP Lead Team Welcome
Scholars pose for pool day
Pre-Dental Scholar in SIM Lab
Pre-Dental Scholar Dissecting
Scholars following Pinning Ceremony
Scholars on Mock Interview Day
Pre-Dental Scholar treats fake wound
Pre-Dental Scholars at Disaster Drill
Scholars in Dental SIM Lab
Pre-Dental Scholars observe Oral Animal Bones at Vet Med
Scholars enjoy Pool Day
Scholars Gator Chomp
Pre-Dental Scholar after white coat
Pre-Dental Scholar poses after white coat
Dean Coats Pre-Dental Scholar
Director Congratulates Scholars
Scholars pose at Lake Social
Scholar in SIM Lab
Pre-Dental Scholar volunteers for simulation
Pre-Dental Scholar Suturing
Pre-Dental Scholar Pinning Ceremony Testimony
Scholar in SIM Lab