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Dear Dugoni School Family,

This has been a long week, so today’s update is focused on the importance of our families and, in particular, moms around the world.

Mother’s Day is this Sunday and I hope you take a moment to connect with your mom, or spend some time reflecting on positive memories of your mom.  Some of you may even be living at home right now with your parents, while others may be far away from them.  No matter where you are, we can all celebrate the people who have influenced us and the importance of the support from our families.

I am so grateful for my mother as she was one of the most influential people in my life that helped shape who I am today.  There is not a Mother’s Day that goes by or, in fact, any day where I do not think of the wonderful example she set for my brother, for me, and for our broader family.

If you are looking for some musical inspiration this weekend, click here for a Mother’s Day playlist with a few mom-related songs.

Have a great Friday, enjoy your weekend, and happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there.

Dear Dugoni School Family,

As we continue every day to work toward our return plan and you are working and learning from home, I would like to share some different news and updates. The world’s first “Earth Day” was celebrated back on April 22, 1970, to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Today marks the 50th anniversary of the event. One interesting aspect of the current pandemic is how air quality and some other aspects of the environment have improved since so many people are staying home, reducing automobile pollution, and reducing our impact on the planet. As humanity emerges from the impact of this pandemic, I hope that one silver lining may be that our environmental researchers can learn from this unique moment and identify some evidence-based steps for us to take in ensuring a healthier planet for this and future generations. You can learn more about the history and impact of Earth Day here.

April 22 also is the national celebration of Administrative Professionals Day. I encourage you to take a moment to thank and acknowledge the important role of the administrative professionals we are fortunate to have as part of the Dugoni School family. We would not be as successful as we are without the dedication of our administrative assistants, support specialists, and others who help us deliver excellence across our departments. All areas of our school function better thanks to their talents and they are truly some of the unsung heroes of our ability to transition so quickly and successfully during this unusual time.

I look forward to connecting with our Class of 2022 today at 1:00 pm. Also, I invite everyone to please remember to join us for a Virtual Town Hall this Friday, April 24, from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm by WebEx. The event is open to all students, residents, faculty and staff. An invite with the link has been sent out. Members of our Crisis Management Team and I will discuss our school’s “roadmap to reopening” and some other important updates. If you would like to ask a question in advance, please email it to sf_deansoffice@pacific.edu. You can also ask questions during the town hall.  We will successfully make it through by keeping our strong culture and continuing to share ideas through open lines of communication.

After I shared the video of a singing dentist last week, I have received a few other links to videos, including this one from Dr. Eddie Hayashida entitled “Dentist Singing Disney’s Reflection.” This dentist is our alum Sarah Kym, a DDS graduate of the Class of 2015 who practices in Tucson. What a beautiful rendition! Enjoy the video here.

Thank you for your incredible show of strength as you are enduring this shelter in place and for your outpouring of positive thoughts and well wishes for one another.

Be well,

Nader A. Nadershahi, DDS, MBA, EdD
Dean

Dear Dugoni School Family,

I hope you were able to enjoy some time away from your screens during this beautiful weekend.  I find it hard to believe that it has been five weeks since we were all together in our school home at 155 Fifth Street. We have all adapted with a positive attitude and shifted to teaching, learning, and work from home to keep one another safe. It has not been easy, and I am sure you feel some of the same frustrations that I feel. I miss seeing you in person when I would walk through the building. I miss our celebrations and the warmth of our humanistic culture and environment. I am confident that we will make it through this with the grit and perseverance that I see in so many of you. George Washington said, “perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.” Our perseverance and spirit will do wonders in making the Dugoni School family grow and excel through these challenges.

During our Virtual Brown Bag with the Class of 2020 on April 10, some students came up with a very forward-looking and generous idea to support patients in need, once we are able to resume clinical services. We know there will be great need in the community as the financial impacts of the pandemic continue to burden our society.

Students asked whether the funds from the Dr. Henry A. Sutro Oral Rehabilitation Award, for this year only, could be transitioned to our patient care fund to support continuing care for patients who may now be facing economic hardships due to COVID-19. The $100,000 amount would be a significant addition to our fund, which targets chronically underserved individuals in our community.

The funds come from an endowment established by the late Dr. Henry Sutro ’50 and his family. We reached out to the Sutro family last week and they have graciously agreed to this idea. We thank them for their vision and generosity in supporting the change for this year.

As a result, many patients in financial need will be able to have their treatment subsidized. Students, too, will benefit as they will be able to obtain patient experiences that they will need to complete their training, once we are able to resume clinical care.

I also would like to thank the members of the Dugoni School family who pitched in to make a donation to the Dugoni School Student/Patient Emergency Fund. This crowdfunding project has generated nearly $8,000 in donations from 30 people. Thank you for your generosity in helping to grow this fund and help people in need. If you would like to provide support to this critical use, please follow the link here and support the Emergency Fund.

I want to end with gratitude for the incredible generosity of our students in coming up with this idea and our residents, faculty, staff, and alumni.  I cannot say enough about how much you all touch my heart as you continue to live the very best of our values and look for ways to help and support other members of the Dugoni School family and our communities.

Difficult times can bring out the best in people or they can bring out the worst.  This incredibly difficult pandemic has created an opportunity to bring out the very best of the Dugoni School family… I see it bringing out the very best in each of you.

Thank you and be well,

Nader A. Nadershahi, DDS, MBA, EdD
Dean

Dear Dugoni School Family,

As we continue preparing for our return and the healthcare professions and society take a greater interest in personal protective equipment to create safe environments, I wanted to share a blog post written by researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Two types of devices are most commonly used in the healthcare setting:  N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) and surgical masks (commonly called facemasks). When worn by healthcare professionals, FFRs protect the wearer from inhaling respiratory particles, and surgical masks protect others when the wearer of the mask may have a respiratory infection.

FFRs should have a tight seal between the wearer’s face and the mask, which is the primary difference from a surgical mask.  These are worn when treating patients who have an infectious disease transmitted though airborne particles, such as tuberculosis, measles, and influenza when there is potential for aerosolization of respiratory secretions.  As an interim precaution during the current pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends dental healthcare personnel wear the highest level PPE available, including FFRs when treating dental emergencies, and that providers delay all other dental treatment.  This is currently not a permanent recommendation to wear N95 respirators in dentistry.

Above all, this is a reminder for all of us that we should continue to focus on improving our commitment to the evidence-based protocols that already exist—and strengthening a safety culture. Outbreaks of blood borne diseases in dentistry are closely linked to lack of adherence to current guidelines. As the blog post points out, adherence to infection control recommendations can be bolstered with training, observation, metrics, and reinforcing a safety culture.

On a separate note, I also wanted to share a beautiful performance from Easter Sunday by Andrea Bocelli, who performed at the Duomo cathedral of Milan. His live solo performance was broadcast to a global audience via YouTube and was designed to bring a message of love, healing, and hope to Italy and the world.  I hope you enjoy this beautiful and uplifting performance.

Thank you again for all of your kind words and support.  We will continue to update you with new information and news, and we will certainly make it through this one day at a time with an eye toward a bright future for the entire Dugoni School family.