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Dear Dugoni School Family,

I hope you were able to enjoy some time away from your screens during this beautiful weekend.  I find it hard to believe that it has been five weeks since we were all together in our school home at 155 Fifth Street. We have all adapted with a positive attitude and shifted to teaching, learning, and work from home to keep one another safe. It has not been easy, and I am sure you feel some of the same frustrations that I feel. I miss seeing you in person when I would walk through the building. I miss our celebrations and the warmth of our humanistic culture and environment. I am confident that we will make it through this with the grit and perseverance that I see in so many of you. George Washington said, “perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.” Our perseverance and spirit will do wonders in making the Dugoni School family grow and excel through these challenges.

During our Virtual Brown Bag with the Class of 2020 on April 10, some students came up with a very forward-looking and generous idea to support patients in need, once we are able to resume clinical services. We know there will be great need in the community as the financial impacts of the pandemic continue to burden our society.

Students asked whether the funds from the Dr. Henry A. Sutro Oral Rehabilitation Award, for this year only, could be transitioned to our patient care fund to support continuing care for patients who may now be facing economic hardships due to COVID-19. The $100,000 amount would be a significant addition to our fund, which targets chronically underserved individuals in our community.

The funds come from an endowment established by the late Dr. Henry Sutro ’50 and his family. We reached out to the Sutro family last week and they have graciously agreed to this idea. We thank them for their vision and generosity in supporting the change for this year.

As a result, many patients in financial need will be able to have their treatment subsidized. Students, too, will benefit as they will be able to obtain patient experiences that they will need to complete their training, once we are able to resume clinical care.

I also would like to thank the members of the Dugoni School family who pitched in to make a donation to the Dugoni School Student/Patient Emergency Fund. This crowdfunding project has generated nearly $8,000 in donations from 30 people. Thank you for your generosity in helping to grow this fund and help people in need. If you would like to provide support to this critical use, please follow the link here and support the Emergency Fund.

I want to end with gratitude for the incredible generosity of our students in coming up with this idea and our residents, faculty, staff, and alumni.  I cannot say enough about how much you all touch my heart as you continue to live the very best of our values and look for ways to help and support other members of the Dugoni School family and our communities.

Difficult times can bring out the best in people or they can bring out the worst.  This incredibly difficult pandemic has created an opportunity to bring out the very best of the Dugoni School family… I see it bringing out the very best in each of you.

Thank you and be well,

Nader A. Nadershahi, DDS, MBA, EdD
Dean

Dear Dugoni School Family,

As we continue preparing for our return and the healthcare professions and society take a greater interest in personal protective equipment to create safe environments, I wanted to share a blog post written by researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Two types of devices are most commonly used in the healthcare setting:  N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) and surgical masks (commonly called facemasks). When worn by healthcare professionals, FFRs protect the wearer from inhaling respiratory particles, and surgical masks protect others when the wearer of the mask may have a respiratory infection.

FFRs should have a tight seal between the wearer’s face and the mask, which is the primary difference from a surgical mask.  These are worn when treating patients who have an infectious disease transmitted though airborne particles, such as tuberculosis, measles, and influenza when there is potential for aerosolization of respiratory secretions.  As an interim precaution during the current pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends dental healthcare personnel wear the highest level PPE available, including FFRs when treating dental emergencies, and that providers delay all other dental treatment.  This is currently not a permanent recommendation to wear N95 respirators in dentistry.

Above all, this is a reminder for all of us that we should continue to focus on improving our commitment to the evidence-based protocols that already exist—and strengthening a safety culture. Outbreaks of blood borne diseases in dentistry are closely linked to lack of adherence to current guidelines. As the blog post points out, adherence to infection control recommendations can be bolstered with training, observation, metrics, and reinforcing a safety culture.

On a separate note, I also wanted to share a beautiful performance from Easter Sunday by Andrea Bocelli, who performed at the Duomo cathedral of Milan. His live solo performance was broadcast to a global audience via YouTube and was designed to bring a message of love, healing, and hope to Italy and the world.  I hope you enjoy this beautiful and uplifting performance.

Thank you again for all of your kind words and support.  We will continue to update you with new information and news, and we will certainly make it through this one day at a time with an eye toward a bright future for the entire Dugoni School family.

Dear Dugoni School Family,

Dr. William P. LunderganWith all that is going on, it is nice to share another bit of positive news.  I am pleased to announce that we received word this week from Michael Hunter Schwartz, Interim Provost, and Maria Pallavicini, Interim President of University of the Pacific, that two of our academic leaders have been approved to receive well-deserved recognition for their achievements in teaching, scholarship, and service.

Dr. William Lundergan, Professor of Periodontics and Chair, Department of Periodontics, has been appointed as the Wilbur and Ruth Hughes Endowed Chair in Periodontology.

Dr. A. Jeffrey WoodDr. A. Jeffrey Wood, Professor of Pediatric Dentistry and Chair, Department of Pediatric Dentistry, has been appointed as the Samuel D. Harris Endowed Professor in Pediatric Dentistry.

Both of these endowed roles are effective at the start of our new academic year for a period of five years.

As you know, growing endowments to offset the costs of education and support faculty commitment to excellence is a strong area of fundraising focus.  There was a very thorough review process that took place to evaluate each candidate for the endowed role. I would like to thank Dr. Cindy Lyon and our Faculty Appointment Promotion and Tenure Committee as well as the faculty from each department for your support of these important appointments.  I would also like to thank Dr. Subar for representing us on the University committee.

These appointments are supported by endowments established by Wilbur and Ruth Hughes and Samuel D. Harris, respectively. We are grateful for their leadership in the profession and their vision for creating this sustained support of excellence in our academic and clinical programs.

Dr. Wilbur “Wil” Hughes served our country in the military prior to joining our periodontic department under then chair Dr. Walter Hall. A non-graduate, he and his wife Ruth “adopted” the dental school and its humanistic style of education.  Those of us who were privileged to be educated by him responded to his soft-spoken and easy going personality that belied his rich knowledge of periodontics and empathetic chairside demeanor. Wil and Ruth magnanimously provided for the Endowed Chair in their estate.

Dr. Samuel D. Harris was a non-graduate, philanthropist, and friend of then Pacific School of Dentistry, whose name can be found on the National Museum of Dentistry in Baltimore, Maryland.  He and Dr. Arthur Dugoni, who also started as a pediatric dentist, met through organized dentistry.  Based on this relationship and his deep respect for the humanistic model of education, Dr. Harris generously invested in the Endowed Professorship to provide dental care and preventative guidance to children, their parents, and families.

I am so proud of both Dr. Lundergan and Dr. Wood. They have made a tremendous impact on our school and in their fields. We plan to more formally celebrate their appointments at a time in the future when we can appropriately gather and celebrate. In the meantime, please join me in congratulating each of them on this wonderful honor and achievement.

My hope grows each day as I look at the models and see that we are indeed beginning to see a “flattening” of the curve and slight reductions in expected fatalities throughout the nation.  I want to share some resource links with you, in particular the ADA’s Interim Guidance for Management of Emergency and Urgent Dental Care, which was published last week.  We also will be sharing them with our alumni and posting them on the school website today in efforts to inform the dental community. We will continue to monitor and update our protocol regularly.

In addition, I would like to recognize the efforts of our faculty member, Dr. Allen Wong, who is helping to set up a “Virtual Grand Rounds” webinar tonight to educate health professionals about the impact of COVID-19 on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The free webinar is organized by the American Academy of Developmental Medicine & Dentistry (AADMD) and will be led by Dr. Geoffrey Weinberg of the University of Rochester. Our school is providing the WebEx technology to make the webinar possible. Thank you Dr. Wong for your leadership on this project with AADMD. The webinar will be held tonight at 5:00 pm Pacific time. Details to sign up are here.

Other resources and links for dental professionals include:

American Dental Association:

Centers for Disease Control:

California Dental Association:

City and County of San Francisco:

I hope these resources are helpful as we continue to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in our communities.

Today I want to leave you with another quote and a link to a song. The quote is one that is attributed to Bruce Lee (my brother and I grew up loving his movies), but is also attributed to others, including Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Franklin D. Roosevelt, etc.

Courage is not the absence of fear, it is the ability to act in the face of fear.”

Thank you for continuing to practice our shared value of courage as we all carry such heavy weights on our collective shoulders to reduce the burden on one another.  Now for the song.  I thought you would enjoy the show of human connection in this rendition of “The Weight”.

Be well and stay strong.