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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.)

Our volunteers continue to provide vaccines for our community throughout the week.  This past Saturday we also hosted a COVID-19 vaccine booster clinic for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The Dugoni School has played an important role in providing equitable access to vaccines for this group of individuals. I am so proud of the work that our vaccine clinic volunteers continue to do to serve others. 

Thursday is Veterans Day, an opportunity to honor all those who have served in the armed forces. This year our school is hosting an expanded health event for veterans. From 9:00 am to noon, veterans will be offered a free oral health check, hearing screening, and a COVID-19 booster vaccine for those who are eligible. Thank you to our partners in the audiology program for also joining in this year’s event. The Employee Volunteer Opportunities Committee (EVOC) is spearheading volunteers to help. More details are on the event calendar. Also please feel free to share the Facebook event link to help spread the word. Appointments are required and can be made by calling 415.400.8437. 

National Allied Health Professions Week is being celebrated November 7-13. It provides an opportunity to shine a light on the important role that allied health professionals play as part of today’s interconnected healthcare teams. These professionals are involved with the delivery of health or related services pertaining to the identification, evaluation, and prevention of diseases and disorders; dietary and nutrition services; rehabilitation and health systems management, among others. Allied health professionals include dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental lab technicians, diagnostic medical sonographers, dietitians, medical technologists, occupational therapists, physician assistants, physical therapists, radiographers, respiratory therapists, and speech language pathologists, to name just a few roles. To learn more, visit the ASAHP website.  

National Radiologic Technology Week is also being celebrated this week. It is an annual awareness event established by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists to celebrate the important role medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals play in patient care and health care safety. Thank you to our radiology technicians and the staff, students, residents, and faculty who are involved in providing radiology services to our patients here at the Dugoni School. To learn more, visit the ASRT website

We appreciate all of our professional colleagues who work across healthcare. Together, we play important roles in helping people lead healthy lives through our own unique talents and contributions.  

October is National Dental Hygiene Month, a time to celebrate the work dental hygienists do as part of the oral healthcare team. Many countries around the world do not have formalized training for dental hygiene, but in the United States we are fortunate to have robust educational pathways, including our very strong Dental Hygiene program. This month’s Inside Dental Hygiene magazine features an article, "Shaping the Future", with insights from Professor Lory Laughter about the next generation of leaders in the profession.

In some statewide news, on October 8, Governor Newsom signed a new law that gives dentists permanent authority to administer COVID-19 and influenza vaccines. Also, California-licensed dentists can also now apply for the requisite laboratory licensure to administer rapid COVID-19 tests in the dental office. Read an overview article and the text of the law.

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.