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I've been wanting to post a blog about our dental service trip to the island nation of Tonga that we did this past summer. In January this year, myself and seven other classmates began planning for a ten-day dental humanitarian trip to Nuku'alofa, the main island of Tonga. Our preparations included coordinating with humanitarian foundations, fundraising and gathering donations of dental supplies to bring with us on our short journey.

All the time and effort to plan this trip paid off once we arrived and began to treat the good people of Tonga who are known for their friendliness, hospitality, and relaxed way of life. We worked in a crowded seven-chair clinic operated year round by visiting volunteer dentist. The people we treated were very greatful for the the service we rendered. In fact, news of our service spread quickly as we were met with lines of people waiting for treatment every morning. Tonga is a country with very little dental education and much less access to care than we are used to here in the United States.

Some of the highlights aside from the dental work we provided included early evening voyages to various locals around the island. We were fortunate to have access to an old beater van in order to get around the island after we finished a full days work. To give you an idea of the size of this island, it took about 40 minutes to get from one end to the other driving about 30mph on almost entirely narrow bumpy roads. One afternoon some locals piled us all onto a small beat up fishing boat to a neighboring island about a mile or so away. This little island about the size of a couple football fields was covered with palm trees, coconuts, and beautiful white sand beaches with the most amazing prestine sea-life and coral formations just off shore. Needless to say, this was an amazing experience.

During school breaks many Dugoni students and faculty have participated in various dental humanitarian trips to locations such as Fiji, Peru, Galapagos, the Philippines and now Tonga. These humanitarian trips provide an opportunity to not only experience and learn from other cultures but they also enhance our sence of volunteerism back at home. After students have an experience of serving a people in need, I feel that they may become more inclined to volunteer time and effort back home in their own communities. My experience in Tonga helped me internalize the need for oral health care that exists no matter where you are in the world. Whether at home or abroad, there are portions of every community with limited access to care who are in need of oral health care. The more important question is what are we going to do about it as the future generation of oral health care providers?

Twice a year, our school's student body leadership and the dental school administration/faculty meet together over a nice dinner to join in a night of collaboration. It is a great forum for students to provide feedback, discuss issues, present goals and recognize achievements. Class officers from every year have opportunity to discuss issues with the entire school administration with all department chairs in attendance. Officers come prepared with issues to bring forward while the administration makes note of discussion items to be addressed. Later a report is sent out summarizing the decisions and actions taken regarding the various topics discussed during the meeting.

The Dean's Dinner is a longstanding tradition established years ago by Dr. Arthur A. Dugoni and proudly upheld by Dean Ferrillo. What's great about this event is that everyone in attendance shares in a common theme: how are we doing and how can we improve. This event not only facilitates discussion of important issues, it also effectively bridges the gap between students and administration enhancing the lines of communication.

Naturally, students and administration/faculty do not always agree on how to address every issue, however, the fact that such a collaborative tradition exists sends a resounding message to students/faculty/staff that student concerns are important and that it is a priority of the administration to listen and collaborate.

Events such as the Dean's Dinner are traditions that make students proud to be apart of the Pacific family.

Emerson Lake
Student Body President
University of the Pacific
Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry

The Dugoni School of Dentistry ASDA Chapter had an extraordinarily successful weekend at the ASDA 2008 Annual Session in Scottsdale, Arizona! Below find a summary of the awards, honors, and accomplishments that were achieved:

--The Articulating Paper was honored with the ASDA 2008 Best Newsletter in Competition Award. We acknowledge and congratulate the co-editors, Jamie Parado '09 and Marisa Watanabe '09, as well as faculty advisor Dr. Ruchi Nijjar and all the other contributing writers. They all consistently produce an outstanding paper for everyone to enjoy.

--Our Dugoni ASDA Chapter recieved the Ideal ASDA Chapter Award for Outstanding Membership & Communication. We also recieved an honorable mention for the overall Ideal ASDA Chapter. We recognize and give thanks for the great time and effort exerted into the 165+page application compiled and submitted by Past ASDA Chapter President Brian Black. This application is a spiral-bound book documenting virtually every activity, fundraiser, event, etc., accomplished last year. Over the past year Brian has been a tremendous ASDA President who has been a great example of leadership and advocacy for ASDA and the Dugoni School. Nice work Brian and all others who contributed to the Ideal ASDA application!

--Nima Aflatooni, Current ASDA Chapter President, was elected District Trustee of the 11th District. In this national position, Nima will proudly represent Pacific while serving as liaison and advocate for all five California dental schools. He will attend all national meetings and work closely with the ASDA Executive Committee. Way to go Nima!

--Brian Black, Nima Aflatooni, Ryan Wilgus, Allyson Staahl, Dan Hammer and I sponsored (i.e. authored) resolution 203RC-2008 which resolved that the ASDA Council on Education determine the most reasonable means to obtain data regarding clinical graduation requirements of all dental schools and produce a document summarizing this data, to be made available for distribution to ASDA members and to be updated annually. With a recommendation from the chair of the Council of Education to adopt the resolution with a yes vote, and following spirited discussion, the 108 member house of delegation voted to adopt resolution 203RC-2008 with a yes vote! 

One of the headlining issues during this annual session was the consideration of a mandatory fifth year of dental school education for dental students nationwide (similar to a GPR or AEGD type program) It was argued by the presenters that such plan could both benefit students and address the issue of access to care. Of course the vast majority of students disagree with a mandatory fifth year of school. It was remarkable to hear, however, during presentations, caucuses, and discussion sessions how often our school was mentioned as an example that it is possible to produce highly competent practitioners in only three years time! Our school stands out amongst all other schools for all that we are able to accomplish in such a short period of time. We have something special and unique here at Pacific for which we should always remember, uphold, and be grateful.

Emerson Lake
ASB President
University of the Pacific
Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry

Greetings, Pacific family and other visitors to the new dental university website. My name is Emerson Lake, the current Student Body President. I look forward to contributing to this new blog with hopes of providing a student's perspective to those interested in knowing more about life here at Pacific. Of course I welcome any comments or questions that you may have about anything I blog about, and I will try my best to provide prompt responses.

So with introductions out of the way, I am happy to report that it is great to be back into the full swing of things as a third (and final) year Pacific dental student. The reality is that in the third year our clinic time doubles that of the previous year! All of a sudden, there are a lot more patients to manage, appointments to schedule and lab work that seems to never end. In this last year, we are tying together all that we have learned from the various disciplines over the past two years and applying it as we meet the needs of our patients down in clinic.

If the first few weeks of this new academic year are any indication, then the next ten months will fly by so quickly we won't know what hit us!

Sooooooo when you decide to specialize you also decide that you will not have a summer break! 🙁 Here was my schedule since graduation:

June 15th graduate, June 16th move to Reno, June 18th trip to Vegas, June 20th 3pm return to Reno, NV, June 20th 11:55pm move to Gainesville, Florida, June 21st 10:30am arrive in Gainesville, June 23rd begin class in Florida, June 27th fly to Los Angeles for a wedding, June 29th return to Gainesville. June 30th classes continue.

That was the busiest two weeks I have ever experienced and I will admit, listening to my friends talk about their trips to Hawaii, Cabo, Europe, Vegas and other warm places was painful. There were plenty of people like me though who had a similar busy schedules so I probably shouldn't complain too much.

Since I have been here I can tell that I am very well prepared for my program. We receive a great education at PACIFIC and one that we can be proud of. My program has top notch facilities, a knowledgeable and dedicated faculty and my co-residents are really nice. I am extremely happy with my decision to attend the endo program here.

As great as my experience was at PACIFIC there was one thing we were missing - a football team. Luckily I now have one of the best teams in the nation. Can't wait for football and basketball season. It's gonna be amazing!

Goooo Gators!

PS here's one of my new friends, they walk around campus:

Three years of hard work (well 19 years really, since my third year of dental school equaled 19th grade) have finally paid off! The class of 2008 made it. We graduated! Over the past three years the class of 2008 has worked tirelessly to try and work together and stay united as a group. Looking back I think that is one of the things that really defined our class. We are all better for it.

There are so many people in our class who took the time out of their day to help their fellow classmates. If I could give two pieces of advice to an incoming class they would be to form strong bonds from the day you step into PACIFIC. If you do there will be an instant sense of commeraderie and everyone will be more likely to help each other. The other piece of advice is to remember to take a step back from your dental work and enjoy the three years and the people around you. It is so easy to lose the big picture when you have requirements... I mean competencies to complete. Remember to relax, to enjoy the struggle, and to realize that you will never again have so many people around you working towards a common goal.

I also feel like our school did an amazing job planning and carrying out the graduation events over the three days of graduation. From the Alumni banquet, to the thanks a bunch brunch, to our actual graduation, everything was extremely classy and well thought out. When speaking with students from other schools it was obvious that our administration and alumni association really went the extra mile to make our celebration an experience we will never forget.

It was a great three years!

For anyone who I haven't met, my name is Nick Morton and I am the outgoing student body president. This is my first attempt at being a blogger, so be kind!

Anyways, a couple of weeks ago I finished my big case down in the clinic! (Don't worry, he knows he's up here on the web!) A 22-crown and one 3-unit bridge on my dad! I think it looks great and I know he is very happy. We started the case back in August. What a great experience. I can tell you I was a little nervous starting such an extensive treatment plan on someone from my own family but I know we have the best faculty of any school in the nation so we went ahead with it. DDS students don't do these kinds of cases anywhere but at PACIFIC. It is great to be finished and now that I see the result and see how much more my dad smiles it was definitely worth it.

He lives in Reno, NV so it was quite the trek - about 4 hours each way. He would come down around 1 p.m. and leave to head back around 8:30 p.m. the same day. What dedication! It took us 12 of those trips to finish the whole thing. He will be in clinic on May 21st for clinical excellence day if anyone wants to see him in the flesh. Below are a few more of the before and afters. Hope you like it!

Now just need to find some boards patients.....

Before and after



Closeup: before


Closeup: after


What a stud!