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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

Today kicks off “CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry” taking place from September 9-11 in a hybrid fashion. Educational events will be held in-person at the Moscone Center as well as online in a virtual format. If you have an opportunity to attend in person, stop by the school’s booth (No. 413) to say hello to our staff from admissions, CDE, and the Alumni Association. Volunteers from our school will also be hosting COVID-19 vaccines and testing opportunities on Thursday and Saturday for attendees. Please note that proof of full vaccination and an ID is required to attend the in-person activities inside Moscone. Learn more on the CDA website

We have some good news about grant funding that will support the school. We were recently awarded a Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Grant through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) that will be administered through the Pacific Center for Equity in Oral Health Care. This $858,000 grant will allow the Dugoni School to establish two faculty tracks: one in pediatric/special care/hospital dentistry and one in geriatrics/AEGD/hospital dentistry for both dental and dental hygiene faculty. Faculty will practice and teach in our Special Care Clinic and Hutto Patterson Pediatric Clinic in San Francisco and the Union City Dental Care Center in the East Bay, in addition to Bay Area community partner hospitals and clinics to enhance their knowledge and skills as part of a larger healthcare team. This award will allow the school to sustain current programs and develop new opportunities, reaching beyond the campus clinics to those most in need while preparing students for an ever-changing and increasingly diverse healthcare landscape.

In addition, we were recently informed that the school will receive a $225,000 grant from the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation to support access to care initiatives. The award will support the following projects:

  • Planning phase to increase access to dental hygiene education through a unique mobile education program in the Central Valley
  • Student/Patient Emergency Fund support to provide care for low-income patients at our clinics
  • Dental care for underserved military veterans through a new partnership with Everyone for Veterans

Please look for more updates as these programs move forward. Many thanks to everyone involved in these grant applications! A lot of work goes into the proposals and we are glad that these new resources will be available to support our people and programs.