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Dear Dugoni School Family,

Thank you to all members of the Dugoni School family who were able to join us live or virtually at the White Coat Ceremonies on Saturday. This was a unique year, with two ceremonies in one day, and I know there was extra coordination to make the events possible. I am grateful we were able to celebrate the achievements of our outstanding students in person during these important milestones. Congratulations to our students!

The morning ceremony (DDS and IDS 2022) livestream is available here

and the afternoon ceremony (DDS and IDS 2023 and DH 2022) livestream is available here.

Congratulations to our colleagues Drs. Audrey Yoon, Linda Phi, Joorok Park, and Heesoo Oh in the Orthodontics Department and to Dr. Allen Wong who published “Clinical Signs of Sleep-Disordered Breathing in Children with Disabilities” in Exceptional Parent magazine, the magazine for clinicians, parents, and others in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. According to Dr. Wong, the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry names “sleep” as a focus of one of the major disparities of health care for people with IDD. It is wonderful to see the growing expertise of our faculty and school in the areas of sleep medicine in collaborations between several of our departments.  Learn more in the article.

In news about vaccines for COVID-19, yesterday the Food and Drug Administration formally approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people age 16 and older. The vaccine has been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and will now be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee), for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older.  The vaccine continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain individuals.  This development is expected to usher in new vaccine requirements by hospitals, colleges, corporations, and other organizations around the country.  We are grateful to have almost all members of the Dugoni School family who have taken the important step of being fully vaccinated and look forward to the availability of booster doses later this year.  Learn more here, and listen to the media audio call here.

If you want to touch the past, touch a rock. If you want to touch the present, touch a flower. If you want to touch the future, touch a life.”–Unknown Author

Be well.

It is amazing to think we have reached the last week of the academic year. This year has moved ahead swiftly with each day bringing some important and historic milestones.

We hosted the WREB examinations over the weekend and are now hosting the ADEX exam. Yesterday was our last day of full services in the Main Clinic. Today, Faculty Development Day activities are taking place online. Wednesday is the day that graduating students will be officially certified for graduation, and we will welcome our incoming students at a “Meet the Family” session in the evening. Exams will take place the rest of the week for our continuing students. The circle of academic life continues.  We also look forward to the virtual awards program on Friday evening for the graduating Class of 2021 and our in-person commencement ceremony on Sunday. What a memorable week!

I would like to take this moment to express my deep appreciation to all of you as members of the Dugoni School family. You have worked so hard during some very unusual circumstances during this academic year. Thank you for all that you have done — and will continue to do — to collaborate, succeed, and thrive in the face of any challenge or obstacle.

This certainly was a remarkable year. Our Dugoni School family has been inspiring in achieving so many incredible milestones this year. I am grateful for your compassion, care, and commitment to excellence in all that we do. You helped us stay true to our values and achieve our purpose of helping people lead healthy lives. You helped the Dugoni School emerge through this year as a premier dental education program anywhere in this country or world.

I hope that you take time to reflect, appreciate your many achievements, and allow yourself some downtime to rest.

Thank you for what you have been doing to keep each other healthy. Through our protocols, we are also keeping our patients, families, friends and others in the community healthy.

I would like to start this post by thanking Hiba Akhtar, Pacific ASDA, our office of student affairs, and all our participants for a wonderful Virtual Bridge Builders week. I loved the videos (some of which you can see on Instagram) and know that we are all grateful for everyone taking the time to share your culture and family with your Dugoni School family.

The American College of Dentists — Northern California Section held its virtual awards program this past Saturday. Congratulations to Kenji O’Brien DDS ’21 for being named the Outstanding Student Leader, and to Professor Eve Cuny for being named Outstanding Faculty Member. Your leadership over the past year has been admirable and we are proud of both of you!

Congratulations also to Dr. Ned Nix, associate professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the Dugoni School, who was recently elected Regent, Regency 7, for the American College of Dentists. He will represent Hawaii, Northern California, Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico for three years beginning at the ACD Annual Meeting in October.

Tonight, we will hold the virtual Tau Kappa Omega (TKO) celebration for selected students and honorees. The dental school organized its TKO dental honor society in 1927 to promote honor and service to alma mater. Students are admitted on the basis of ideals, scholarship, and character, and those elected graduate with honors. I look forward to seeing our students virtually this evening to mark this wonderful achievement. Thank you to our student co-presidents and faculty advisor Dr. Alan Budenz.

Yesterday, we conducted a new interprofessional education opportunity. Six students from the Clinical Nutrition program at Pacific’s School of Health Sciences joined our dental students. They participated in the morning ICS 1 course and in the afternoon clinic ODTPs where they offered nutrition consultations for patients. Thank you to Dr. Michelle Brady and others here at the dental school for developing IPE opportunities with colleagues at the School of Health Sciences.

An update about travel for employees. All university-related travel must be approved in advance according to the school, program, or unit policies. Fully vaccinated individuals may travel within the United States if approved by their supervisor, manager, program director, department chair, or dean. People who are not fully vaccinated should delay travel until they have had a chance to complete vaccination and wait until two weeks after their final vaccine injection to travel. The updated interim travel guidance is available on the university website (scroll to click “Travel” section) at COVID-19 Information for Employees | University of the Pacific.

Finally, a reminder that we are hosting a first-dose COVID-19 vaccine clinic for children ages 12+ this Thursday, May 20, from 5:00 pm to 6:20 pm.  Appointments are still available so please spread the word to your family, friends, or community contacts. Sign up online

Do you know of someone who would make a great member of the Dugoni School family as a student? We recently opened registration for our virtual “Dugoni Discovery Day” annual admissions open house. The event will take place online on Saturday, April 10. Learn more and RSVP. 

Thank you to our volunteers who are helping at tomorrow’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic on campus. This is a second dose clinic for members of the public and some of our internal students and employees who are part of our healthcare programs. We are expecting more than 530 people on campus for this clinic.

In case you missed it in the Positively Pacific newsletter, you can read the article about the vaccination volunteer efforts in San Francisco and Stockton

Please have a great Friday and weekend. We are entering the home stretch of this quarter and I know how hard you all have worked in your studies, patient care, school projects, and support for one other. We are also in the home stretch of marking one year from the time of the initial shelter in place orders. It is amazing to reflect on how we have been through and how much we have grown.

“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” –John Maxwell