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I hope you had a wonderful Easter holiday and enjoyed our first weekend of April. It is a beautiful time of year with all of the spring flowers in bloom throughout the Bay Area.  A good reminder of how our hope blooms as we take steps to reach new milestones such as vaccination of over 4 million people across the country in a single day and averaging 3 million vaccines a day over the previous week.

blossoms

Did you know that April has a designation related to health? It is recognized nationally as Oral Cancer Awareness Month. The Oral Cancer Foundation offers educational resources online to help the public better understand oral cancer. Learn more here.

According to the foundation, nearly 54,000 people in the United States will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2021. The good news is that it can often be found early through a quick and painless head and neck screening. With early detection, survival rates are high and the side effects from treatment are at their lowest.

In addition, the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance has designated April 11-17 as Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week. Learn more here

As oral healthcare providers, we are on the front lines of helping to identify many types of conditions and diseases, including oral cancer. In April and during every other month of the year, we are in a unique position to perform screenings and educate our patients in order to help people lead healthy lives.  Thank you for continuing to maintain high standards and compliance with providing thorough oral and head and neck cancer screenings for each of our patients.

On Mondays we share key campus tracking metrics to keep our community informed. Attached are the dashboards of activity and COVID-19 testing at campus for last week.

I will end my message today with a great quote shared with me by Pedrom Mashaw from the DDS Class of 2022 on service to others.

“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others." –Booker T. Washington

Good Monday morning and welcome to our final week of the quarter.

Congratulations to members of the Dugoni School family who were involved over the weekend in the ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition that concludes tomorrow. I know many of you participated in sessions, special interest groups, section meetings, poster presentations, and other virtual activities. Thank you for your leadership helping shape a stronger future for oral health education.  You represent the best of the Dugoni School family.  I am pleased to walk with you and serve our school and oral health education. My thoughts about the future of ADEA and dental education are available here or at the video below.

On a separate leadership update, congratulations to Dr. Darren Cox, professor of diagnostic sciences. He has stepped up in a national role within his specialty and has been elected by his peers to a three-year term as Secretary-Treasurer of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. Thank you, Dr. Cox, for all that you do for your specialty and for us at the Dugoni School. I am always amazed by our faculty and students who step up to lead and improve our profession.

I will end with an important update that I received Friday about a 7th PREP Act amendment (Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act) that further expands the list of healthcare professionals who may administer the COVID-19 vaccine.  I am pleased to see that with all of our collective efforts and advocacy, dentists are listed in this group.  This amendment will be published as a Federal Register Notice on March 16.  It is publicly available to be downloaded, however, here.

Yesterday, President Callahan sent an update about the fact that undergraduate and graduate programs will remain primarily onlinewhen the new University term starts in January.  I would like to confirm that we continue to stay in touch with our local department of public health, and that the Dugoni School will continue to hold our didactic courses online and provide essential clinical care services in our clinics on site here on campus along with simulation training to prepare students for clinical care.

I would like to call your attention to a webinar taking place today at 9:00 am PT. Closing America's Oral Health Gap is presented by DentaQuest and hosted by Politico. Notable speakers will cover what it will take to improve access and quality of oral health care for Americans, especially for the most vulnerable. Learn more here

I would also like to share some links shared with me yesterday from the COVID-19 Public-Private Partner Dental Coordination Group. I realize this is a lot of information, but there are many developments taking place each day, particularly on the fast-moving topic of vaccine approval and distribution.

FDA Posts the Research Report on the Pfizer Vaccine:  The FDA posted online background material for this week’s upcoming Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) public meeting. The VRBPAC will meet in open session today (December 10), to discuss Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older.

December 10, 2020 – FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) Meeting to discuss the request for emergency use authorization (EUA) for a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer, Inc. (livecast)

December 11, 2020 – Deadline for jurisdictions to tell CDC/OWS where they want their second allocations of vaccine to be delivered.

December 17, 2020 – FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) Meeting to discuss the request for emergency use authorization (EUA) for a COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna Inc. (live-cast)

HHS Publishes COVID-19 Hospital Facility-Level Data: HHS released new hospital COVID-19 capacity data at the facility level. Previously released data about hospital capacity that had been released was aggregated at the state level. This new, more granular data release aggregates daily hospital reports into a "week at a time" picture to protect patient privacy, while providing a view of how COVID-19 is impacting hospitals and local communities across the country. With this data release, how hospitals are impacted by COVID-19 will be shown on a per-hospital basis, allowing researchers, policy makers, and others to have greater insights into local COVID-19 response efforts. This time series data will update weekly, going back to August 1, 2020.

CombatCovid.hhs.gov is New Portal for Volunteers for Clinical Trials and Convalescent Plasma Donation:  How about a one-stop-shop for encouraging people to consider volunteering for prevention and treatment trials?  This is the place to go for those who either (1) have never had COVID-19 and are interested in participating in a prevention trial, or (2) have recovered from COVID-19 and would consider donating convalescent plasma to help others recover.

Study of Healthcare Workers Shows COVID-19 Immunity Lasts Many Months: NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins released a blogpost about a study among healthcare workers that shows COVID-19 immunity lasts many months. New findings from a study of thousands of healthcare workers in England show that those who got COVID-19 and produced antibodies against the virus are highly unlikely to become infected again, at least over the several months that the study was conducted. In the rare instances in which someone with acquired immunity for SARS-CoV-2 subsequently tested positive for the virus within a six month period, they never showed any signs of being ill.

OSAP Webinars: Thank you to Professor Eve Cuny for your involvement in these webinars!  The Organization for Safety, Asepsis, and Prevention (OSAP) is holding a four-part COVID-19 Webinar Series providing specific infection prevention and control information for dental settings. These webinars will be recorded for future access and each will be worth 1 CE hour (ADA CERP Credit), provided through OSAP. The next webinar, COVID-19 Guidance for Dental Assistants, will be held on Friday, December 11, at 4:00 pm ET / 1:00 pm PT. Register here

To end this long update about the advancements of science to help overcome the fear around the pandemic, I thought it appropriate to end with this quote.

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” ―Marie Curie

Dear Dugoni School Family,

I hope this message finds you well.  I had the opportunity to meet with our student leaders from the DDS, IDS, and Hygiene Classes of 2020 yesterday through Zoom. I am so proud of the incredible leaders we have here at the Dugoni School. We discussed many issues of importance for our graduating students.

I also wanted to share the news from earlier this week about the statewide callout for healthcare workers. California is opening additional health care sites to treat people affected by COVID-19 and to relieve the pressure on our health care system by providing care for non-COVID-19 cases. The California Health Corps website is accepting interest from health professionals, including dental professionals. 

We regularly look to highlight various health-related promotional initiatives and I would like to continue to do that to raise awareness. As we begin a new month, I would like to remind you that April is “Oral Cancer Awareness Month.” As oral healthcare providers, we are on the front lines of helping to identify oral cancer. The good news is that it can often be found early through a quick and painless head and neck screening. With early detection, survival rates are high and the side effects from treatment are at their lowest. The Oral Cancer Foundation has a variety of educational resources online to help the public better understand oral cancer. 

In addition, the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance has designated April 13-19 as Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer Awareness Week.

Please feel free to explore these links and resources and I look forward to being able to provide important and life-saving screenings for our patients again soon. While our schedules may be adjusted these days, we have a world of information at our fingertips to help us learn and grow in our profession.

I know that some of you may have been hoping for an April Fool’s joke today but I decided that instead of a prank, it would be good to suggest the opposite. Find at least one person today for whom you will do a good deed while maintaining your safe social distance.  If you have friends or family that may be living alone and do not have connections with many others, contact them and see how they are doing.  Our physical and mental health can be strained during such times of stress and isolation… human kindness will light our way through.