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I hope your Tuesday is off to a good start. Yesterday was a time of observance of both Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples' Day. Columbus Day was proclaimed a national holiday in 1934, while the celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day took root more recently. Read a brief overview of both days here.

As we look toward the future, please take a minute to reflect on where we have been. Our newly published 2020-2021 Academic Year in Review highlights some of the stories, metrics, and milestones of our last academic year. We compile this publication each year to showcase the important work done by School family. You may see your own projects highlighted among the pages. Thank you to our team members in the Marketing and Communications and Design and Photo departments for your work on the issue. The publication is available online and we will also have a limited number of printed copies available upon request.

This week marks Sterile Processing Week (formerly International Central Service Week), celebrated October 10 - 16, 2021. Please thank the members of the Central Sterilization and Dispensing Department for the important work they do each day. They are on the front lines of patient and provider safety here at the Dugoni School, as they are responsible for cleaning, decontaminating, sterilization, assembling, testing, and otherwise managing the instruments and equipment used to care for our patients. Our clinics could not function safely or successfully without their important contributions.

Welcome back and I hope you enjoyed the break. We are looking forward to a fruitful quarter full of learning and growth.

Our Alumni Association board met on September 24th, and I had the opportunity to share some updates about all of your wonderful efforts.  We have so much to be proud of and that has been possible because of what you do to lift and pull one another up.  Thank you for your incredible efforts.

There are two ways of exerting one’s strength.  One is pushing down, the other is pulling up.” –Booker T. Washington

Congratulations to our three endodontics residents who will mark the completion of their 27-month program tonight with a celebratory gathering with the department. What an amazing accomplishment for these talented professionals. We wish them the best as they move forward in their careers.

We are looking forward to our Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting taking place tomorrow. We are fortunate to have such a supportive group of alumni volunteers who care deeply about the success of our students and residents.

A couple of other updates to pass along:

The Dugoni School was in the news this week as Dentistry Today covered the renaming of the Pacific Center for Special Care as the Pacific Center for Equity in Oral Health Care, along with some other updates about the center’s expanded focus. Thank you Dr. Elisa Chavez for assuming your new leadership role with the center along with many colleagues here at the Dugoni School and elsewhere in our profession. Read the Dentistry Today story and visit the Pacific Center for Equity in Oral Health Care website.

At the national level, much activity is underway in the U.S. Congress about adding dental, vision, and hearing benefits to the Medicare program. A Sept. 20, 2021 communication from the California Dental Association offers some background and context.

The US Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday it would grant emergency use authorization for a booster dose of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine in people 65 and older, people at high risk of severe disease, and people whose jobs put them at risk of infection.  See the full story here.  The CDC will make its final recommendations soon. 

This past Saturday, the family members and relatives of Dr. Arthur A. Dugoni held a memorial mass in his honor at the St. Pius Catholic Church in Redwood City. I had the opportunity to attend and it was wonderful to see the family and many of our graduates and friends. A recording of the service is available

Also last Saturday, the CDA Presents the Art and Science of Dentistry conference concluded at the Moscone Center. Approximately 3,500 people attended in person with another 1,000 attending online. It made history for the city, given that it was the first major conference held in San Francisco since last year’s closure of the conference facility in March.

While the event was much smaller than in previous years, our school’s commitment to CDA and to the success of the event was as strong as ever. Thank you again to those who participated as speakers, helped staff the school booth, gave tours of the school, or connected with alumni during the Class of 2001 outdoor gathering at the InterContinental. We even had three volunteers from the school available at the event to provide rapid COVID-19 tests and vaccines as well upon request.

On a related note, congratulations to our student Dan Wang, DDS ’22, for being selected as the CDA September Student Spotlight. Read her perspectives about life in and out of dental school