One Year Ago…

March 16… exactly one year ago today, was a momentous day. The mandatory Shelter-in-Place had been announced by Bay Area counties.  I had just gathered members of our Crisis Management Team and on short notice, we needed to quickly adapt and prepare for a campus closure.

When we announced that the campus would be closed for a period of three weeks, we never would have imagined the days, weeks and months that were ahead of us, and the dramatic impact that the pandemic would ultimately have on us and our world.

Today, we are in a better situation and beginning to have some hope as we see the beneficial effects of public health measures and the impact of mass vaccinations. We have much more work ahead of us, but it is remarkable to think of how much we have accomplished together, and the road travelled. One year ago, we would not have believed that we could endure the challenges of the last twelve months. Thank you for inspiring and supporting one another and showing that with resilience, effort, and relentless commitment to our shared values…we can overcome ANY obstacle.

The ADEA Annual Session is wrapping up today and we received good news from our students over the weekend. Our student ADEA Chapter won two awards — the Gold Chapter Level Award and Growth Award — from the ADEA Council of Students Residents and Fellows (COSRF).

Despite challenges during the pandemic, our students grew and expanded the chapter. They hosted virtual events such as Why I Teach, First Year First Aid, wellness events on social media, Cases That Haunt Us, and even a dental socks sale fundraiser. Our students also served as members of district and national boards at ADEA. They have other events coming up, including the ADEA Academic Dental Careers Fellowship Program information session and Roads to Residency.

Congratulations to our ADEA leaders for all of your involvement!  I look forward to working with and supporting your future efforts.  Chapter officers are:

  • Shalaka Desai, ADEA Rep, Co-President IDS 2021
  • Jordan Jew, ADEA Rep, Co-President DDS 2022
  • Brandon Zegarowski, ADEA Rep DDS 2021
  • Sani‐E‐Zehra (Sani) Zaidi, ADEA Rep IDS 2022
  • Theodore Looney, ADEA Rep DDS 2023
  • Liz McCarty, ADEA Rep DH 2021

Finally, today is Faculty Development Day, a virtual opportunity to share best practices, learn from each other, and hear from special guests. I will be completing meetings of the ADEA House of Delegates and Council of Deans, but look forward to joining you this afternoon. I am proud of how our faculty and staff have worked together over the past year to support our students and residents while growing their skills as excellent educators and mentors.

To close our reflection on the one-year anniversary of our Shelter-in-Place, I will leave you with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that describes how the Dugoni School family has faced this last year.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”