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This week, August 23 – 27, is a global celebration of World Water Week, an annual event on global water issues organized by Stockholm International Water Institute. The week attracts participants from more than 130 countries and consists of a broad array of activities convened by leading international organizations on a broad array of water-related topics, ranging from food security and health, to agriculture, technology, biodiversity, and the climate crisis.

Did you know that water and oral health have a strong connection? The CDC website has an informative write-up on the 75th anniversary of community water fluoridation as follows: “Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first US city to fluoridate its public water supply in 1945. Five years later, when the schoolchildren of Grand Rapids were found to have significantly fewer cavities than children from surrounding communities, other Michigan cities also began fluoridating and soon achieved similar results. Within a few years, cities and towns across the United States were fluoridating their water. Since its launch over 75 years ago, community water fluoridation has proved to be one of public health’s greatest success stories, improving the health and wellbeing of people in the United States and around the world.  Although other fluoride-containing products, such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and dietary supplements are available and contribute to the prevention and control of tooth decay, community water fluoridation has been identified as the most cost-effective method of delivering fluoride to all, reducing tooth decay by 25% in children and adults.”

In other news from partners in healthcare, a new statistical brief Emergency Department Visits Involving Dental Conditions, 2018, was just published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. This brief updates a similar report from 2009 and provides valuable information about dental-related Emergency Department (ED) visits. A few highlights include:

  • In 2018, there were more than 2 million dental-related ED visits, which represented 615.5 visits per 100,000 population.
  • The highest population rates of dental-related ED visits were among non-Hispanic Black individuals, individuals aged 18–44 years, and those residing in the lowest income communities.
  • Of all dental-related ED visits, nearly 95 percent were treated and released, and 5 percent resulted in admission to the hospital.
  • Among treat-and-release ED visits with a principal diagnosis of a dental condition, three groups of dental conditions accounted for 93 percent of visits—loss of teeth and similar disorders, diseases of pulp and periapical tissues, and dental caries.

Emergency dental services provided in our clinics provide a tremendous benefit to the local community. Thank you to all involved in triaging and caring for the people who come to us each week in pain or discomfort. We were fortunate last spring during the start of the pandemic to be able to continue offering emergency services to the public in order to prevent those individuals from going to hospital emergency rooms. Thank you all for understanding the importance of oral health to overall health and the service you provide for helping our communities live healthy lives.

I will end this note with a quote shared with me this week by Dr. Steven Sadowsky.

“Service is the rent we pay for our room here on earth.” —Muhammad Ali

Be well,

Memorial Day provides an opportunity for all of us to memorialize the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us.

Congratulations to those involved in the many presentations at OKU-Sutro Excellence Day last Wednesday. It was a great opportunity to highlight clinical cases, research, community service, PIP projects, and other topics. It was impressive to see your great accomplishments in the face of the many challenges of the last year.

Thank you to the OKU-Sutro Excellence Day committee for all of your work on the event: Chair: Dr. Karen Schulze; Faculty: Prof. Eve Cuny, Dr. Des Gallagher, Dr. Alan H. Gluskin, Ms. Lindsey Green, Dr. Rex Hoover, Dr. Terry Hoover, Dr. Jiong Hu, Prof. Lory Laughter, Dr. Cindy Lyon, Dr. Daniel Bender, Prof. Christine Miller, Dr. David Ojcius, Dr. Allen Wong, Dr. Debra Woo, Dr. Andrew Young; Staff: Sandra Derian, Katherine Falk, Joanna Faltys, Annie Han, Rowena O’Connor, Karl Pfeifer, Bonita Wong, Karita Zimmerman.

Read our news story about Excellence Day.

The June issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association features a cover story about COVID-19 among dentists in the United States. Given the production of aerosols during many dental procedures, dentists were thought to be at a higher risk for acquiring COVID-19 than other health care workers at the beginning of this pandemic. Nonetheless, a web-based survey reported in JADA revealed that the COVID-19 prevalence among dentists in the U.S. was low during the last year. The low prevalence is due to the high level of adherence by oral health care providers to strict infection control guidelines. Dentists, dental hygienists, and the dental team continue to follow the strict protocols, which should allow them to protect patients and dental clinic employees in the future. Read the report

New city initiatives are moving forward to support the post-pandemic recovery of downtown San Francisco. In our immediate neighborhood, Moscone West will undergo significant cleaning and repairs in July. Moscone West was being used for homeless sheltering services during the pandemic, but will transition back to use for conventions. At the end of June, the large white shower trailers on Minna Street will also be removed.    

Mayor London Breed last week announced a $9.5M proposal to support the downtown community. Funds would go to a series of downtown community ambassadors, improvements to Hallidie Plaza (at Powell Station), and other public spaces; and performances and events to welcome the return of downtown employees and visitors. Learn more here.

Be well, and my best wishes to you as we complete the last week and a half of a memorable academic year.

Thank you to our COVID-19 vaccine clinic volunteers who helped out on Saturday for our clinic for people with disabilities. Another 121 individuals were able to get their second doses at the event.

I would like to highlight the spring special issue of our alumni magazine, Contact Point, dedicated to the life and legacy of Dr. Dugoni. The publication has been mailed out to alumni and is also now available online. I encourage you to read it and be inspired by the impact Dr. Dugoni made on others. The issue was a wonderful labor of love involving many people. Thank you to the editorial board and team members from CDE, Design and Photo, Marketing and Communications, Alumni, Development, and others who helped with content and design. Read it online or download it here.

Thank you also to our ASDA students for organizing the Bridge Builders events online this week. We look forward to seeing the virtual festivities, social media posts, and contests that feature countries around the world.

Dear Dugoni School Family,

Yesterday was a day of heightened emotion and anxiety for many people as the country awaited the jury verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.

I echo the sentiments that were shared in President Callahan’s email yesterday about the importance of social justice and the need for continued work on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts to improve society. It is an opportunity to learn from our past and be better. The message also links to many resources for the Pacific community. Please take a moment to read the message.

On a separate note related to our employees, Administrative Professionals Day is being celebrated nationally today, April 21. I encourage you to take a moment to thank these team members and acknowledge the important role they play as part of the Dugoni School family.

We would not be as successful as we are without the dedication of our administrative assistants, office support specialists, receptionists, and others who help us deliver excellence across our departments. All areas of our school function better thanks to their talents. Please join me in thanking these individuals who work to support our students, residents, faculty, fellow staff, and patients throughout the year. On a personal note, I want to share my appreciation and gratitude for our team and all that you have done to help me serve our Dugoni School family.

Be well, enjoy your day, and keep caring for one another.