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Dear Dugoni School Family,

Welcome to a fresh start to a new month on this first day of February.  As we held our vaccine clinic last night with members of our school family continuing to volunteer their time and serve our school family and community, I was struck by the fact that we started providing these life-saving vaccines to members of our school family and community almost exactly one year ago.

Happy Lunar New Year to the Dugoni School family and to those around the world who celebrate. We certainly hope the “Year of the Tiger” brings healing and good news both here and abroad. Learn more about the international holiday celebrated in many Asian countries here.

February is also recognized as Black History Month. A variety of events, performances, and celebrations are taking place both virtually and in person to highlight the role of Black / African American people in our country’s history. Please see a list of opportunities in which to get involved here.

I have some good news to share as we finish up the week. On Tuesday, the Dugoni School received the Community Excellence Award for Community Engagement from the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District in honor of the many ways we served the neighborhood in 2021. Some of these activities included our clinical services, vaccination efforts, patient emergency care and funding, community outreach, and our public awareness campaign about the importance of oral health.

All of our students, residents, faculty, and staff played a part in making these efforts a success so thank you to each of you. I hope you feel good about your positive impact on the lives of others.

Please learn more in this news story. Also, I had the opportunity to make comments on behalf of the school during a virtual awards presentation you can watch on YouTube below (The school’s section starts at 4:19 and includes pictures of some of our volunteers.)

I would like to call your attention to a couple of new resources that explore oral health across America and our region.

A new comprehensive report from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, Oral Health in America:  Advances and Challenges, is the culmination of two years of research and writing by hundreds of contributors. The report is a follow up to the Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health in America which was published in 2000. 

Dugoni School faculty member Dr. Elisa Chávez played a leadership role by serving as associate editor for the report’s Section 3:  Oral Health Across the Lifespan:  Working-Age and Older Adults. Dr. Chavez is a professor in the Department of Diagnostic Sciences and also serves as director of the Pacific Center for Equity in Oral Health Care. 

Explore the executive summary and download the full report on the NIDCR website

Closer to home, faculty members Dr. Geraldine Gerges Gaid (acting chair of our Department of Pediatric Dentistry) and Dr. Chávez collaborated with Mr. Jeffrey Lewis from the Legacy Health Endowment to author a white paper on the oral health needs of children and older adults in California’s Central Valley. The announcement also highlights the Endowment’s sponsorship of a student’s dental school tuition in return for service to the local community for three years after graduation. The white paper is available here.   

Congratulations to our faculty members for your involvement in these projects — and so many others — that advance our understanding of oral health and overall health.