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This Sunday, March 20, marks the first day of Spring and is also the celebration of Nowruz — the Persian New Year. This “new day” is celebrated by millions of people around the world. Thank you to our Iranian-American Student Dental Association (IASDA) for taking time to assemble the Haft-sin on the 1st floor in honor of the occasion. I am grateful that our Dugoni School family can celebrate Nowruz as my family did as I was growing up.

Haft-sin table at the Dugoni School

March 20 is also the celebration of World Oral Health Day, an initiative of FDI World Dental Federation, an organization that brings together the world of dentistry with the aim of achieving optimal oral health for everyone. A variety of resources are highlighted on the World Oral Health Day website so please check it out.

The American Dental Education Association Annual Session is taking place March 19-22 in Philadelphia and several Dugoni School students, faculty, and staff will be attending starting this weekend. Thanks to those of you who are participating and to the many who have been involved in and lead ADEA Section meetings or other activities. It will be a very special event for me as I will be moving into a new leadership role as Chair of the Board of ADEA for the coming year. It is always a privilege to represent our school and I am grateful for your support and participation.

This weekend, our CDE department is welcoming guests for the 3rd International Bone Symposium in Implant Dentistry being held March 19 and 20 at the school. Learn more about the program and the impressive list of guests speakers from around the world here. Thank you to all involved in organizing this special CDE opportunity.

Today, March 8, is the celebration of International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. March is also Women’s History Month and there are a variety of events and activities being held locally and across University of the Pacific to mark the occasion.

Thank you to the women who are part of the Dugoni School family for what you do each day for the school, our communities, families, friends, and others in your lives.

We are fortunate to have many inspiring women leaders here at the Dugoni School and across the profession. Thank you to our American Association of Women Dentists Student Chapter for elevating and supporting each other through various initiatives and activities over the last  five years. Our DEI Committee also brings a spotlight to women during this month and throughout the year. At the local, state, and national level, we have seen Dugoni School women leaders rise and take key roles in many organizations, including the CDA, ADEA, and ADA. Thank you for serving the profession and inspiring the next generation of women dental professionals.

Over recent years, the percentage of dentists who are women is growing. The Dugoni School is part of that trend, and in recent years we have generally had a 50-50 gender split among our incoming DDS classes. Learn more about the trends in women in dentistry in this ADA article

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” –Maya Angelou

I am grateful for all of you who help strengthen our humanistic educational environment and sense of belonging so everyone who walks into our building is supported and empowered to be their very best.

Please join me in congratulating Kathryn Shimizu from the DDS Class of 2022 for having her essay, “More Than Teeth: What Your Dental Team Wants You To Know About Health Misinformation,” selected to represent the Dugoni School in the American Dental Association’s 2021 Health Literacy in Dentistry Essay Contest. Thank you Kathryn for taking the time to share your thoughts in this national contest! 

Also, congratulations to Dental Hygiene Program Director, Professor Lory Laughter and her fellow co-authors of “Carranza’s Clinical Periodontology for the Dental Hygienist,” for being recognized as a finalist in the Association of American Publishers PROSE Awards honoring scholarly works published in 2021. Their publication was highlighted in the “Nursing and Allied Health” category. Read more about the awards.

Every year, oral health professionals and organizations recognize February as National Children's Dental Health Month. This is an opportunity to promote the importance of good oral health care for children, their caregivers, and children's health professionals across the country. Some resources, including activity sheets for kids, are available on the American Dental Association’s website. Resources for parents are available on the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s website for parents.

Thank you to our students, residents, faculty, and staff at the Dugoni School’s Hutto Patterson Pediatric Dentistry Clinic, Redmond Family Orthodontic Clinic, and Special Care Clinic for all you do to care for our young patients throughout the year.

Children with intellectual and developmental disabilities face a unique challenge and are at an even higher risk of developing oral health conditions. Maintaining good oral hygiene can become difficult due to a variety of reasons such as accompanying health issues or poor dexterity.

Dr. Allen Wong and I had the opportunity to participate in a new cover story, “An Underserved Population: Expanding Access to Care for Patients with IDDs,” in this month’s Inside Dentistry. Learn more about this topic by reading the story (and you can read a digital copy of the whole magazine here.)