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Cedric is third from left, top
Cedric Papa (third from left, top) launched the Humanitarian Dentistry Organization earlier this year.

Cedric Papa, Class of 2012, is the creator of the Humanitarian Dentistry Organization (HuDen), a new, completely student-run organization at the Dugoni School. HuDen was created to celebrate humanitarian dentistry; serve as a resource for current humanitarian dentistry groups; and publicize ongoing volunteer and service projects at the dental school.

HuDen became Cedric’s brainchild when he realized he had no venue to celebrate and share with his classmates the pro bono dental service taking place all around them.

"There are so many things that our mentors would have us learn during our short time as dental students. I feel that learning to serve altruistically is one of the most important,” says Cedric. “So I went through the appropriate channels and gathered amazing students who share my vision of celebrating and supporting humanitarian dental work."

Currently supported by over 100 students, HuDen is completely student-run with 13 officers organizing various events on campus. The organization plans to incorporate faculty during the coming year as the group continues to grow in size.

"I have always been fascinated by the positive changes that one can bring about in the lives of others via service," says Cedric. "I’ve led multiple groups down to Central and South America and have realized that dental service is contagious and with the proper exposure it can evolve into a lifetime commitment.

“Helping others is limited by your capacity, time, and resources, but there are no limits to the effects of teaching people how to help others. HuDen is about attitude adjustment,” he adds. “If we get several new dentists hooked on the rush and the memories that come from reaching out to those in need, then I believe we did a greater service and accomplished more than just donating our own time to a clinic."

An article about Cedric and HuDen was recently published in the ADEA Bulletin. The article can be found at ADEA login required (free to join).

For more information about HuDen and its activities, contact


We're excited to announce the launch of the Dugoni Practical Leadership Initiative. Dentists are leaders whether they choose to be or not. The DPLI has been created to provide additional learning opportunities and practical leadership skills. We'll explore three themes: yourself as a leader, leadership of a team, and leadership of a community.

Throughout the course of the year, DPLI will host one session per month. The six-session series will focus on topics such as business management, joining a community as a new dentist, motivating staff and colleagues, and other leadership-centered topics. The initiative will include guest speakers, small group discussions and a mentorship program.

Interested? Contact Dan Hammer at or Jonathan Gluck at

In order to fulfill the requirements of participation, the first DPLI meeting on Nov. 10 is mandatory for all participants. Following that night, students must attend three of the next five sessions to successfully complete the program. Events will be held in the evening after school and clinic hours, aproximately 5:30 to 7:30pm. At the end of the year, there will be a celebration event for participants. We hope to see you at the events!

November 10, 2010
Personal Preferences in Leadership: How does your personality affect those you lead?

Everyone is different. We have different ways of communicating, managing change, and leading others. Understanding your personality is an excellent tool to develop yourself as a leader of your team.

December 1, 2010
Dental Business Management 101
Dental school teaches us how to diagnose, restore, prevent, and maintain. But it doesn’t teach us much about hiring, firing, marketing, and managing. These things will occupy a lot of your time in practice.

January 26, 2011
Joining a Community as a New Dentist: Where do you start?
So you’ve graduated from Pacific, packed your things, and are ready to start a new job in a new place. Most likely, there are already dentists and doctors in the community. How can you meet them, earn their trust, and learn from them?

February 16, 2011
Escaping the Dental School Vortex: Where do you see yourself in the future?
Sometimes, dental school is an all-encompassing 24/7 experience where the days, weeks, and months go by in an instant. But the future is not far off and it’s up to you to decide what it brings. Make a plan for what you want. Think about it every once in a while. Pursue it.

March 1, 2011
Motivating Your Team to Achieve Their Greatest Potential
Your team is only as strong as its weakest link. It’s up to you to turn your weakest link into your strongest ally.

April 13, 2011
Experience Leadership
There are a lot of different things to do with a DDS: Private Practice, Education, Research, Public Health, Community Dentistry, etc. What do you want to do with yours? Spend time outside of school with a dental professional specializing in your area of interest and learn how to get involved.

DPLI Speaker Series Dates:
November 16, 2010
DPLI Speaker Series: Yourself as a team leader.
January 19, 2011
DPLI Speaker Series: Yourself as a Community Leader
February 2, 2011
DPLI Speaker Series: Yourself as a Leader


Dental students are normally quite peaceful people, but this month, we went to war... with pennies. The annual "Penny Wars" event raises money for local charities. Our school's American Student Dental Association (ASDA) chapter and student-led community outreach program Pacific Pays it Forward co-hosted the fundraiser along with a food drive.

The "Penny Wars" fundraiser challenged students to contribute pennies to their respective DDS or IDS class's change collection, with each penny counting for one point. Students could also add nickels, dimes and quarters to competing class change collections, as these coins counted for negative points.

"We had a great time with the penny wars and food drive fundraiser this week," said Vinni Oberoi, Class of 2012 and Pacific ASDA community outreach coordinator. "A lot of students participated and we're excited to be able to give our donations to City Youth Now and the San Francisco Food Bank."


ArminVahidnia in Golden Gate Park

By Armin Vahidnia, Class of 2012 and ASDA Northern California Community Outreach Coordinator

I’m privileged to serve as this year’s ASDA Northern California Community Outreach Coordinator. This position allows me to be an ambassador between the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and our neighbor dental school, the UCSF School of Dentistry. I’m constantly working to create community service opportunities which will allow us to collaborate and serve the city of San Francisco. My goal is to organize one event per quarter to encourage students from both schools to serve the community and build relationships with future colleagues from across town.

Our most recent event was a park beautification effort in Golden Gate Park. Students from both Pacific and UCSF woke up early on Saturday, August 21 to join together and help clean up the park. The area that we worked on was in the western side of Golden Gate Park, next to the Angler’s Lodge and the Bison Paddock (yes, there were live bison roaming in a meadow across the street from us). The Angler’s Lodge is a popular place for fisherman to practice their casting, and while we were there we saw several children learning how to cast a line. Between the parking lot and the ponds is a wooded hill with native plants including beautiful rhododendrons and flowers of all sorts. They were being overrun and choked out by weeds that we removed and piled up to be hauled away. When we were finished the landscape looked significantly better. The park ranger we worked with told us that we were able to complete more work in three hours than would typically happen in three weeks!

While we did a lot of work, the time went by quickly because the entire time we were getting to know each other and hearing about all the nuances of a different dental school experience. Despite going through different dental programs we share commons goals, including community service as a priority. We finished off the day at a nearby picnic area with ice cream and root beer floats. I’m looking forward to getting to know the UCSF students even better while exploring and giving back to San Francisco. Stay tuned for updates from future events!


It may be cool and foggy here at the dental school’s campus in San Francisco during July and August, but first-year students got a taste of what the rest of the country considers real summer weather when they travelled to Stockton for University of the Pacific's orientation program for new students.

To take advantage of the sunny weather, they played a vigorous game of Spongeball.

Seriously, if you see only one movie this year about dental students getting whacked with wet sponges, pick this one.


Our student members of ASDA recently hosted a very successful vendor fair at the school, attracting lots of companies (including Apple and Colgate) and attendees. Students got a chance to mingle with each other and the booth staff, learning more about a wide array of products and services for the dental field. Read all about it or watch a video of the highlights below


By Daniel Hammer, ASDA chapter president and Class of 2011

This school year, the leaders of the Dugoni School’s chapter of the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) have been working to ensure that each ASDA member here gains true value from his or her membership. To that end, ASDA has been implementing numerous programs for its members to provide mentorship and tutoring throughout the year.

For example, Helping Hands is a new program that provides free tutoring every other Tuesday to the first-year students for their lab classes. The volunteer tutors are eager to help, and in true Dugoni fashion, the number of volunteer tutors often outweighs the number of those students seeking help. Furthermore, traditional peer mentor programs such as First Year First Aid, clinic transition meetings and ADPAC monthly lunch and learns demonstrate the tangible value of an ASDA membership throughout the year.

Another focus of ASDA this year is to create connections between the classes through social activities. We ended the last school year with a bay cruise to celebrate the numerous accomplishments of all classes. More recently, we hosted nearly 100 students at a Giants vs. Rockies tailgate party and baseball game.

As always, we welcome suggestions or questions. Please feel free to contact any ASDA leader – we look forward to hearing from you!

American Student Dental Association is a national student-run organization whose mission is to protect and advance the rights, interests and welfare of students pursuing careers in dentistry. More than 87% of all dental students nationwide join the association.


By Ryan Wilgus, Student Body President

Among the various personalities and backgrounds of the students at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry lies true enthusiasm and ability. As we continue into the 2009-2010 school year, I am consistently amazed by the talent of our Associated Student Body (ASB).

After two years of American Student Dental Association (ASDA) national involvement, I have had the opportunity to meet with student leaders from almost every dental school in the country. Through these encounters it was made clear to me that our ASB collectively is unlike any other. The organizations that comprise the ASB do not compete for membership and resources as they do at most other schools. Unity and creativity is enhanced by the freedom to develop organically and be progressive. The most notable difference between our student body and others is that we have an “open door” policy between the ASB and our faculty and administration. Not only are we able to voice our concerns, but in most cases, they are heard and acted upon.

Throughout this school year we will accomplish many goals and encounter many challenges as individual students, classes, clubs and organizations. At the heart of these accomplishments and challenges are learning experiences. With recent events like the addition of axiUm, our new electronic records system, we have been challenged as a student body. Changes like axiUm, although difficult, are part of the innovation and advancement that makes Pacific one of the top dental schools.

The culture of our school is centered on constantly striving to be the best while always evolving for the betterment of the institution. By learning from our experiences we will continue to grow as students and dentists, and as an organization.

We will soon break for the holidays and return refreshed and ready to continue our studies. As we do, I look forward to seeing continued personal and scholarly growth throughout the remainder of the school year.


Dugoni School students practice yoga on the lawn outside of student housing. Photo by Chris Nelson.
Dugoni School students practice yoga on the lawn outside of student housing. Photo by Chris Nelson.

You might think that dental school is so demanding and so stressful that there is no hope of relaxing and having fun...

From crowns to dentures and lectures to seminars, sometimes that can be true.  Fortunately, many students have discovered a great way to reduce the stress: physical activity!  That's right, Pacific has a lot of athletes!  Volleyball, football, soccer, cycling, rugby, hockey, synchronized ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, and swimming... this is a short list of the many sports played by my classmates.  Additionally, there are a myriad of sports clubs including the surf club, running club, high adventure club, and even a yoga club.

The resounding conclusion is that although dental school is stressful, it's important to maintain physical activity to remain sane.  As the saying goes: healthy body, healthy mind!

Photos of the Yoga Club in action here.

“I just wanna pass.” — One of the most common phrases among second-year students at Pacific regarding boards. The majority of us decided to attend Pacific because we knew we would be treated with respect and would get one of the best clinical educations in the country. In comparison to schools like UCLA and UCSF, very few of us plan to specialize so we often see little benefit in trying to get a top score.

Now that I am six months out of school it has become even clearer to me why trying your best on boards is extremely important. The administration will tell you many reasons to do your best like: it will improve Pacific’s reputation, or it will show faculty they are doing a good job, or that you didn’t get into one of the best dental schools by doing the minimum so why would you start now?

These are all very valid and important reasons, but there is another reason to try and get as high a score as you can. Your board score can affect your career options and will be with you for the rest of your life. As I said before, most Pacific students do not plan to specialize or attend a residency at graduation but that does not mean you will not change your mind years later.

Let me give you two examples of people who I met since graduation who never thought they would specialize and how their board score affected their options years after graduation.

The first is about one of my co-residents. His father is a general practitioner in Seattle. He always assumed he would go into practice with his father after graduation and eventually take over the practice. He started out working there three days a week and two days at another office as an associate. At the two day-a-week office the owner asked him to do the root canals for the practice. He agreed because the work load was a little slow starting out. As he performed more and more root canals he started attending many weekend CE courses. After three years he realized that endo was something he really loved and was good at. He never expected or planned to specialize during dental school but eventually he told his dad that he would be leaving the practice to specialize in endodontics. Luckily he tried his best on boards during school and earned a very good score. He was able to apply that summer and gain acceptance to the University of Florida endodontics program.

The second story is of a person I met this year who was applying for an endo residency as well. He was in private practice for two years and then decided endo was the place for him. Like the first story, during dental school he never expected to specialize. As he prepared his application and asked old faculty for letters of recommendation they would often ask him what he received on boards part I. He had barely passed boards and was told by multiple people that he would likely need to retake the boards if he was going to have a chance. So four years after taking boards for the first time he had to start studying anatomy, biochemistry, etc, etc all over again! He studied for two full months but with so much time away from academia he received an almost identical score. Unfortunately he did not gain acceptance to a residency this year. He called some of the schools and multiple schools told him that his boards score was too low. When speaking with him he is convinced that had he tried his best while he was in school, when all of the information was still fresh and while his mind was still in the academic mode he could have done much better. Now he will have to take a year off of work to improve his resume through teaching, research and possibly even take boards part I again. His other option is to return to general practice knowing he is not in the career of his choice.

The boards will be going to pass/no pass in the next couple of years, but until that time your performance on the test can have a long-lasting effect on your future. Look at the exam like you did the DAT. Study hard and do your best. In the process you will keep Pacific’s reputation high, make your faculty proud and regardless of your class rank, you will be keeping your options open. We get a great clinical education at Pacific but nothing is a substitute for real experience. It will be very difficult for you to be sure what aspects of dentistry you will love the most until you work in an office. It may turn out that you enjoy everything and general practice is perfect for you, but what happens if that turns out not to be the case? By getting into Pacific you proved that you are all capable of doing very well on the test. Some extra hard work now can save you many years of disappointment and regret in the future.

Good luck!!!