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Dr. Gerald Kim (left), Dr. Joseph Yamamoto (center) welcomed alumni with true Hawaiian friendliness
Dr. Gerald Kim (left), Dr. Joseph Yamamoto (center) welcomed alumni with true Hawaiian friendliness

I looked forward to meeting up with colleagues and leaders in our profession at the American Dental Association’s Annual Session in Hawaii during the first weekend in October. This year is a significant milestone for ADA, which celebrated its 150th anniversary during the meeting.

We had a contingent of numerous faculty members, administrators and alumni, as well as some student leaders who made the trip. I was proud to see all of the familiar faces from San Francisco so actively involved, including some who presented lectures.

Our involvement also included significant representation in the ADA House of Delegates, part of the association’s governance. I was very impressed with the University of the Pacific presence when I looked around the room in the House of Delegates meetings. With our strong network of alumni, our school is among the dental schools with very significant involvement in the ADA House of Delegates. This reflects one of our school’s values — leadership.

The Alumni Association also held a reception over weekend to give Pacific graduates a chance to get together. It was great to see the large turnout and I was impressed by the energy in the room. I know people really enjoyed themselves and many stayed well past the event’s closing time.

I would like to thank the Alumni Association for organizing a successful event, along with the help of Alumni Association President Dr. Marvin Carnow ’74A and local organizers such as Dr. Gerald Kim ’98 (and ’00 Orthodontics). Dr. Joseph Yamamoto ’49 was a wonderful host who greeted guests at the door with special macadamia treats and brought a smile to everyone’s faces. It was an inspiring opportunity to visit with some of the Hawaiian dental professionals who are part of the long legacy of our school.

The Dugoni School of Dentistry has a history of close involvement in organized dentistry, and I was glad to see this tradition continue at the ADA event. We make a direct impact on the future of our profession through our involvement in local dental societies on up through the state and national dental associations.

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Dean Emeritus Arthur A. Dugoni and Dean Patrick Ferrillo
Dean Emeritus Arthur A. Dugoni and Dean Patrick Ferrillo

I recently shared some news with our faculty and staff about a treasured member of our school family, Dr. Arthur A. Dugoni.

When I started in July 2006, Art was very kind during my entire transition. He graciously stayed to lend an ear and provide valuable input as Dean Emeritus. He was supposed to take a sabbatical that year, but chose to remain to help in the transition. Over the last three years, Art has been, and continues to be, an important mentor to me personally, as well as to the entire Dugoni School of Dentistry family. I consider him my personal “Consigliori,” a term you may be aware of if you are a fan of Italian culture.

Art is now going to take a well-deserved sabbatical beginning July 1, 2009. I know he will enjoy spending more time with Kaye and the entire Dugoni family, including his children and grandchildren. In fact, they will soon be traveling to Italy on a family trip. Art informs me he also has plans to spend time chronicling his collection of slides and writing articles and perhaps even a book on humanism and education.

I want to recognize Art, who continues to be an important source of inspiration to the students, faculty, staff and alumni at University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. He gave us 28 years as dean, not to mention the 62 years in all that he has served in various capacities with the school. Art has made an incredible mark on dental education and the profession. I will miss seeing him around the school hallways, but he will remain close to my heart. I will continue to meet with him periodically during the year.

Please wish him the very best if you see him before his trip to Italy, and congratulate him on this much-earned break.

Health authorities are learning more about the H1N1 influenza virus (swine flu) with each passing day. Even with the growth in new cases, it is encouraging that the virus is not as serious as originally anticipated. As we continue to monitor the situation, it brings up a chance to reflect back on what has happened, and prepare for the future. 

Crisis situations, such as a pandemic, provide opportunities to reinforce what you were doing, or completely change what you were doing prior to an incident. 

There are two brief lessons I think we all can learn from this experience. As healthcare providers, the first thing is we need to always be conscious of illness. We need to make sure that we not only protect our patients, but we protect ourselves. It is important to ask the right questions to ascertain the health of patients (and ourselves) before providing care. Certainly, as healthcare providers, we need to make sure we do not pass along any infectious disease to patients. All the protocols that were recommended during the H1N1 outbreak are protocols that should be followed every day, whether we are in the flu season or not. 

The second lesson is about the value of being prepared for emergencies, whether it is a flu outbreak, earthquake or other natural disaster. We have a lot to learn from the people in New Orleans, and especially the dental school there, following hurricane Katrina. We are fortunate to have Dr. Eric Hoyland, the former dean of the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry, spending some time at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry this fall. He will be working with our team as we review our contingency plans related to natural disasters. 

Each of us also needs to be prepared individually. One important thing for all of us, including our school-wide community, is to have a process for effective communication. By effective, it means it must be timely and accurate. 

There can be a lot of rumors and misunderstandings during times of crisis. As a result of the recent global awareness around NHN1, we have reviewed and shored up our processes to ensure effective communication among the School of Dentistry family.

I have appointed a task force who will be responsible for reviewing our emergency preparedness, including how we communicate. Please stay tuned for more information about this initiative in the coming weeks. This team is also able to rapidly convene to discuss any particular issue as needed.

The bottom line is that we always need to be prepared. In doing so, it relieves a lot of the stress and anxiety if issues such as the flu outbreak arise again.

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I want to congratulate so many people at the Dugoni School who have been, and will continue to be, engaged in leadership. As you know, one of our seven values is leadership. It is constantly demonstrated that we are true leaders. I was pleased to see that our students were recognized and assumed leadership roles during the recent American Student Dental Association meeting. Again, it is a great recognition of what value we contribute to organized dentistry, to dental education, and many other avenues. I am also pleased that many of our students, as well as former students, will be engaged in leadership roles during the upcoming California Dental Association meeting in San Francisco.

During my recent travels, I was also happy to see Dr. Anders Nattestad recognized as a leader at the Association of Dental Educators for Europe meeting. He was engaged in numerous presentations. At the same time, it gives me great pleasure to announce that Dr. Derry Shanley was given an honorary membership into ADEE during that meeting.

These are only a few of the examples of leadership roles that so many people from the Dugoni School are involved in. It is important that we maintain that value and continue to contribute to organized dentistry and to society at large. I look forward to seeing you all. Thank you.