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A message from our AADMD student group and Special Care Clinic/ Hospital Dentistry program...

March 21 is World Down Syndrome Awareness Day. Each year, this day is set aside to help communities raise awareness on Down syndrome and all the wonderful and unique contributions that individuals with Down syndrome make to our society. The goal of this day is to break stigma and build inclusion through education and understanding.

Also known as Trisomy 21, Down syndrome is a genetic condition caused by the presence of an extra chromosome.

Some facts:

  • in the US, according to the CDC, approximately 1 in 700 babies born are diagnosed with Down syndrome.
  • Historically there has been a huge health disparity in life span. As recently as the early 1980s, the life expectancy for a person with Down syndrome was only in the 20s. Thanks to better healthcare and overall treatment, it is now about 60.
  • Down syndrome is commonly associated with organomegaly and congenital heart conditions.
  • Down syndrome patients have the same health concerns of neurotypical populations including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and dementia.
  • Some characteristics are slight upturned eyelids, single crease in palms, short stature, large tongue, and smaller mandible and midface.
  • The National Down Syndrome Society recommends "people-first language”, which refers to a "person with Down Syndrome" versus "Down patient" or "Down’s patient".
  • Many only have mild Intellectual disability, have advanced degrees and work.

Learn more about Down Syndrome at the National Down Syndrome Society's website ›

Have a Great Upside Down Day and let others know the importance of acceptance and inclusion!

FYI.. The student chapter of AADMD/ SCOPE will be holding a “Special Smiles Event” on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at our clinics in San Francisco. Free dental screening and some basic treatment will be provided. More details on our calendar ›

ASB Group
Libbie, Altan, Hannah, Estevan

 

Unifying student efforts by fostering innovative leadership to represent the diverse needs of the student body.

Get to know your know your 2015-2016 ASB Officers

President: Altan Kihm, DDS 2016
Undergrad: UC Santa Cruz / San Francisco State
Quote: "We're all gonna make it" -Zyzz 

Vice President: Estevan Tinoco, DDS 2016
Undergrad: University of the Pacific
Fact: Getting married on the island of St. Lucia!

Secretary: Hannah Cohen, DDS 2017
Undergrad: UC Santa Barbara
Fun Fact: My husband, Joey Cohen, is also a member of the DDS Class of 2017 at Pacific Dugoni

Rep at Large: Libbie Creasy, DDS 2017
Undergrad: Colorado State University
Fun Fact: I will be a 7th generation dentist in my family

 *The ASB Treasurer and ASB Parliamentarian will be elected from DDS ’2018 in August.

On February, 18-21, 29 Pacific Dugoni ASDA members traveled to Boston for the Annual ASDA Session. The weekend brings together student leaders from all 65 U.S. dental schools and includes highlights such as an exhibit fair, prominent speakers, an awards ceremony, House of Delegates meeting and elections of ASDA's national leaders.

Pacific’s ASDA chapter president, Steve Truman ‘16, reported back on the session:

It was a pleasure to represent you at the end of February at this year's ASDA's Annual Session that took place this year at the historic (and snow-covered) city of Boston! This conference is the time where ASDA chapters from around the nation gather to vote on ASDA policy that aims to enhance the dental school experience and your future career in this profession. It was an exciting conference for us, and I am happy to be able to report back some of the highlights.

Steve Truman
Pacific Dugoni ASDA Chapter President Steve Truman '16 (at right), represented the school at the House of Delegates meeting.

The most important portion of Annual Session is the House of Delegates meeting where the chapter president and vice president of each respective school comes together and votes on resolutions in a variety of areas. Here is an outline of the more important resolutions:

Education and Licensure:
Needlestick Policy:
It was brought to the attention that it may be necessary for schools to provide increased protection for students potentially exposed to infectious diseases during the course of treatment both in school and at volunteer events.

Oral Health Literacy & Evidenced-Based Dentistry
Resolved, that ASDA encourages incorporating the term “oral health literacy” into CODA accreditation standards, particularly in the standards related to prevention and public health; and be it further
Resolved, that ASDA encourages a multi-disciplinary approach to student education about oral health literacy and usage of communication techniques that are appropriate based on patient level of oral health literacy.
Resolved, that the American Student Dental Association supports dental schools’ incorporation of Evidence-Based Dentistry

ASDA research exhibit
Pacific Dugoni supports its very own Jesse Han (third from right) at the research exhibit during the Annual Session.

Membership & Professional Issues:
Resolved, that the American Student Dental Association encourages Congress to introduce and pass legislation that includes adult dental services in the federal Medicaid program. 

Governance:
The American Student Dental Association supports opportunities for interprofessional education within the dental school clinical and didactic curriculum.

Thank you all for your time. It is amazing to be part of a school that already practices and teaches so many of these resolutions. If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything further, I encourage you to email me or find me in the halls or study room. If you disagree with something that was voted on please remember that this represents the collective voice and not necessarily my own beliefs. However, I would be happy to discuss the merits and or the reasoning behind of each resolutions to the best of my ability.

Pacific ASDA in costume
Pacific ASDA dressed up as The Incredibles for the superhero-themed President's Gala.

On Saturday, Feb. 7, Pacific Dugoni volunteers held a “Give Kids a Smile” Dental Health Fair at the school’s Hutto Patterson Pediatric Dentistry Clinic in San Francisco. Nearly 100 children received free dental check-ups and cleanings, oral health education, orthodontic evaluations and more.

We caught up with Cristina Markiewicz, DDS '16, who helped organize this year’s “Give Kids a Smile” event along with Grace Lan, DDS '16. Cristina talks about the importance of pediatric oral health and shares some memorable moments from her experiences as a SCOPE leader. She currently serves as special events coordinator for SCOPE (Student Community Outreach for Public Education).

Cristina Markiewicz (at left) at the Give Kids a Smile Dental Health Fair.
Cristina Markiewicz (at left) at the Give Kids a Smile Dental Health Fair.

What did you learn from organizing this year’s Give Kids a Smile event?

All parents want the best for their children, but so many are unaware of early and preventative treatment that their children need. Events like ours not only educate kids on the importance of oral health, but also make parents aware that clinics like ours are available and allow them to bring their children in for care before it’s too late. One of my worst experiences in my pediatric rotation was when a child came in with painful rampant decay and had to undergo treatment during their first visit to the dentist.

Why did you choose to be a SCOPE leader?

I chose to be a SCOPE leader because I truly enjoy helping others. One of the reasons I chose dentistry as a career was so I could provide a service that can profoundly change the lives of others in a positive way. As the special events coordinator, I facilitate large events that help patient populations that routinely are not receiving care and refer them to resources that are appropriate and affordable for the treatment they need. The experiences I am most proud of while I have been in dental school have been at each of these events. I have been a part of CDA Cares, Project Homeless Connect, Give Kids A Smile as well as our smaller SCOPE Health Fairs. These events and experiences have had a huge impact on the way I view the world and have solidified my choice of dentistry as a career.

Can you share some memorable moments from the Give Kids a Smile event?

  • As an organizer of the event, I was constantly moving around performing different jobs. One of those jobs was to relieve some of the volunteers so they could grab lunch and take a break. While I was sitting at the main clinic registration table, I was close to the music we were playing outside the pediatric dentistry clinic. We thought one of the most popular soundtracks for kids would be the new Frozen soundtrack. During “Let It Go,” there was this shy and anxious little girl waiting to go in for her check-up. I had seen her earlier clutching the side of her mother. As soon as she heard the music she started mouthing the words and as the song went on she started to get more comfortable. By halfway into the song, she was out of the chair in the reception area and twirling as she was singing. One of the ortho residents started singing with her and she seemed to be more comfortable around the students.
  • This year we had a balloon artist and face painter at our school for clients after they have had their exam. One little boy came down wearing Spiderman shoes. When asked who his favorite superhero he said, “Spiderman.” I looked at the balloon artist knowing this was going to be challenging because I knew Spiderman’s only accessory was webbing, which is difficult to display with balloons – the balloon artist looked at me and said, “But it’s not impossible.” For the next few minutes he created what looked like webbing on an arm wrap just for the tiny Spiderman fan.
  • One of my favorite events was at the end of the day when I got the chance to look and get a 360 view of the entire event. I was brimming with pride as I saw all of my classmates educating kids and parents as they were decked out in face paint and balloons. Many of them were still in costumes as sugarbugs, toothbrushes, toothpaste and tooth fairies. As nerdy dental students, many of them were dressed in dentistry-themed costumes. As I looked around at all the volunteers, I was so happy that so many of them participated in the fun and had either gotten their face painted or had balloons from the balloon artists.

Kids with balloons

Why is volunteering an important part of dental education?

I feel that volunteering and helping others is a valuable and rewarding experience while we are in dental school. I think most of the students who choose dentistry as a career fall in love with dentistry the moment they visually see the positive impact they make in their patients lives. Many of the patients we see in some of our largest SCOPE events (like Project Homeless Connect) are from populations who have the least access to dentistry. Their dentition is often in dire straights, which presents us with complex cases. These events give dental students the perspective of the different patient populations, and we often are able to make the largest impact on a person by taking them from their hopeless dentition into something that is esthetic and functional so they can improve other aspects of their lives. All of these experiences are extremely rewarding and make us feel that we are making a positive impact on the world.

The Pacific Dugoni volunteers get festive with costumes, balloons and face painting.
The Pacific Dugoni volunteers get festive with costumes, balloons and face painting.

A few student leaders from the Pacific Dentists Exercising Towards Overall Xcellence (DETOX) Club shared their top tips and personal New Year's resolutions to stay happy and healthy in 2015. Read on to see how they’re working towards personal health and well-being while in dental school.

Pacific DETOX Leaders
Pacific DETOX hosted dietitian, Alexandra Caspero, for a lunch-and-learn session. From left to right: Trevor Fujinaka '16, Navid Torabian '16, Alexandra Caspero, Daniel Hoffman '16, Courtney Sutherland '17, Nisa Goshtasbi '16, Tiffany Nguyen '17.

Nisa Goshtasbi, DDS 2016, Pacific Detox Co-President
Even though dental school may appear as the busiest, most chaotic time in our lives, I know that as we graduate and settle into our careers, our responsibilities will only grow. That’s why I force myself to adopt a balance in my life, educationally, socially, and physically. For me, I work hard during the school week to be efficient and effective in my learning. Once Friday evening comes around, I give myself a break. No studying for me on a Friday night -- that is my time to unwind. Saturday and Sunday mornings, I eat a light breakfast like a banana and head to the gym. Since these are the only days we are off, I find it essential to fit in gym time on the weekends. Saturday, I work out the stresses of the previous week, and Sunday, I set myself up for success for the upcoming week. The hardest thing about working out is getting started, but push yourself to get there, and you will thank yourself later. So my message to you, is to find YOUR balance, figure out what works best for YOU, and set reasonable expectations to achieve your goals. I know that the last place I want to be after a 10-hour school day is the gym. That’s why on school nights, I opt for 10-15 minutes of either pilates or yoga in my apartment. By setting realistic goals, and always having the big picture in mind, I am confident that we can all find our personal balance and create a positive environment to thrive in.

Trevor Fujinaka, DDS 2016, Pacific Detox Chair of Activities
My New Year’s resolution is to find time to be active everyday, whether it be at the gym for a workout, walk around the neighborhood, or stretching. Although it seems like there isn’t time to take a break from the grind of dental school, it is important to take the time to get out and get moving and not put it off until “tomorrow.” A little bit of exercise is enough to clear the mind and be in touch with your body, which occasionally gets sacrificed both mentally and physically. So, this year I am going to set a time each day dedicated to being active. No matter how important a test is the next day, it’s more important to take care of yourself first.

Yoga
Pacific DETOX holds yoga classes for the school community on Mondays evenings.

Daniel Hoffman, DDS 2016, Pacific Detox Treasurer
Every year during the first few days or week of the new year, people bombard each other with a question regarding their New Year’s resolution. Most of the time these resolutions are fulfilled relentlessly for the first couple of weeks or optimistically for a couple months. Then, when life becomes busy, free time disappears and stresses of life take over, our resolutions drift out of our head without us even noticing. This happens to me too. Instead of trying to instill a New Year’s resolution, I try embody habits that will last me a lifetime. I recently read a book called “The Compound Effect,” in short it explains that everything we do in life is a choice, and no matter how small they seem, after a decade or two they compound to have profound effects – effects you couldn’t imagine if you looked at the simple choices individually. This year my goal is to be mindful throughout each day in the choices I make and interactions I encounter. When we slow down and contribute even an extra 5 seconds of thought to a decision, our logic can be utilized and impulses retracted. I want to apply this specifically to diet and time management. When I see a bag of chips out of the corner of my eye and start to salivate, am I actually hungry? Do I need these chips? Or are my senses promoting a craving that will dissipate with the next sensory impulse I receive? This crosses all borders of life, like watching TV or going on Facebook because it is a habit, not something I actually desire or care about. I believe that by making mindfulness a priority in my life as a “New Year’s resolution,” I can make my life healthier physically, mentally and emotionally.

Courtney Sutherland, DDS 2017, Pacific Detox Fundraising Chair
My number one tip for staying healthy: SLEEP! I know, I know, old news. But now that I’m forcing myself to sleep at least 7 hours at night, I feel so much more alert during the day, and positive about life in general. My boyfriend recommended that I listen to a podcast on the importance of sleep, and halfway through, I swear, I took a nap … not because it was boring! Seriously, guys, sleep is so awesome for you. Try it. Another “must” in my life is yoga. I start every day with at least half an hour. It allows me to begin my morning with clarity and intention. I truly believe that everyone who tries yoga will discover just how wonderful it is. And lastly—green smoothies! There’s no better way to nourish your body than with some amazingly delicious nutrients in the form of fruit and veggies. When given the option of a salad or a green smoothie, I will always rock a smoothie.

Yogaedited

Pacific Dugoni students, faculty and alumni joined more than 1,700 volunteers to provide $1.66 million in charitable dental services during CDA Cares at Pomona on November 21-22, 2014. The CDA Foundation and CDA host the event to provide dental services and oral health education at no charge to Californians who experience barriers to care. Dentists and dental professionals provided fillings, extractions, cleanings, oral health education, and full and partial dentures to 1,861 people during the two-day event.

Pacific Dugoni students at CDA Cares Pomona.
Pacific Dugoni students at CDA Cares Pomona.

A few current Pacific Dugoni students shared reflections on their experiences volunteering at CDA Cares Pomona.

“We delivered a stay plate on #8 on one patient. She just had the extraction done and was not given pain medications. When we were trying on her stay plate, I could tell that she was in pain because she was trying to hold back the tears. Every time we asked how she was doing, she’d still say that she was fine. That was only one of the few patients I saw that day. Some of the patients drove from two hours away just to get care. Experiences like that remind me why I came to dental school. Nothing compares to the smile you see on people’s faces when they look at their new smile in the mirror. Dentistry, for me, is not just about having the best looking cavity preparation or getting A’s in all my classes. It is about providing service to those who are not fortunate enough to have the means to take care of themselves. One can do dentistry to make other people feel confident about themselves. I do dentistry because it makes me feel good, and it warms my heart when I see a patient smile again.”
- Jacqui Uy, DDS 2016

“Dentists working at CDA events are so open to teaching and patients coming in generously provide the opportunity to learn. I love how dynamic this event is because I can move between departments and assist any number of dentists. What strikes me is that most patients have a full-time job and are contributing members of society who just don’t have the means to take care of some basic dental needs. Patients are so grateful to be able to receive this great service, but they’ll never know how much I honestly cherish my experiences and encounters at CDA Cares.”
- Michelle Nguyen, DDS 2016

“It was my first time volunteering for CDA Cares, and now I know why thousands of volunteers wake up at 5 in the morning and spend their entire day helping out. I worked at the denture station for the majority of the time, and it brought me so much joy see to the look on the patients' faces when they glanced in the mirror and saw their new smiles for the first time. I spoke with patients who told me that they started lining up for this event at 3 in the morning. This shows me that there is a community who wants to improve their oral health, but truly lack the means to do so. All of the appreciative patients and generous volunteers have rejuvenated my passion for the career that we chose.”
- Sheynie Vo, DDS 2016

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“I spent most of my time at CDA Cares Pomona working either in the triage area or guiding patients to the different stops for care. The very first group I took in the early morning said they had been in line since before 4:00 a.m. and were excited to get things started. I was so distracted talking with that first group about the event that I missed taking them to their first stop, routing, and had to backtrack to get them there. To me having that happen wasn't so bad, as talking with the people was what I love about CDA Cares. The people come from everywhere and every situation and at this event we do all we can to help them. In my time at this event I must have met and seen hundreds of people all in need of some form of help and this is an opportunity to provide some relief. To do that alongside so many other awesome volunteers makes it easy to say that I made the right decision to get involved.”
- Steve Truman, DDS 2016

“The best part about CDA Cares, for me, is always the patients. One patient needed to have 10 of her teeth extracted and was very nervous during the procedure. Half-way through I saw a tear fall down her cheek and asked her if she was feeling pain and she said she was crying cause she felt so embarrassed about the state of her mouth. I held her hand and told her that we were there to help bring back her smile. Taking a break from academics was just what I needed to refocus my energy. I had been to a few CDA Cares events before, but Pomona meant more to me because it was so close to home. Volunteering there, you could clearly see the need.”
- Rosemary Tran, DDS 2016

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Student leaders from Pacific’s ASDA Chapter traveled to Chicago for the ASDA National Leadership Conference held on October 31 – November 2. They joined more than 500 dental students from across the country for a weekend of personal and professional development. Read their reflections on lessons from the conference, leadership in dentistry and why ASDA matters.

Pacific Dugoni ASDA representatives at the NLC Conference.
Pacific Dugoni ASDA representatives at the NLC Conference.

“This experience has reinforced the idea that ethics is the foundation on which dentistry stands. We must always remember that open communication and leading a fair business practice will allow us to be the successful business owner we all strive to be.”
 - Leesa Ching, DDS 2016, Webmaster Co-Chair

“We have the right to be our own business owner. Don't let someone tell you, ‘We can handle the business, and you focus on treating.’ Don't be afraid to take the risks, just learn from every decision you make.”
 - Veeraj Patel, DDS 2016, Treasurer

“I learned that there is a real need for ASDA and that I can have a voice when it comes to policy-making. It was interesting to know that I can help influence the state and rules of my profession.”
 - Deanna Lee, DDS 2016, Pre-Dental Co-Chair

‘“Listening intensely is a far more valuable skill than speaking immensely.’ This quote really struck a chord for me at NLC. Being a great leader isn’t about getting others to conform to your ideals; it’s about listening to your peers and gaining a better understanding of their needs so you can better serve them.”
 - Rosemary Tran, DDS 2016, Ideal ASDA Co-Chair

The students had the opportunity to explore Chicago and visit famous landmarks.
The students had the opportunity to explore Chicago and visit famous landmarks.

“After experiencing ASDA’s National Leadership Conference, I can attest to the level of professionalism and involvement we have here at Pacific. If we can incorporate the many aspects of organized dentistry we have learned to our practices here at Pacific, obtaining an “Ideal” ASDA will be within our grasps.”
 - Joey Meade, DDS 2016, Legislative Liaison

“Meeting people from different dental school made me realize there are many individuals who have a same goal in their minds: provide the best care for patients. I was able to gain positive energy from this event by interacting with many passionate and ambitious dental students.”
 - Jeong Yun, DDS 2016, Community Outreach Chair

“Advocacy isn't just important, it’s vital. Policy has the potential to support us as practitioners or detract from our profession as a whole – it’s really up to us to decide how that works. Optimism and unity are keys to help ensure the former. Voting is the motion.”
 - Richard Ly, DDS 2017, First Year Legislative Liaison

“The keynote speeches of each day were both eye-opening and inspiring. Researcher Vanessa Van Edwards’s speech, “Body Language for Dentists,” taught me how to apply non-verbal and body language in patient care, while nonprofit organization Pencils of Promise’s founder, Adam Braun, reminded me of the importance and possibility of bringing positive social changes as a dentist.”
 - Ruidan Ma, DDS 2017, Vice President

The Pacific ASDA team celebrates Halloween during the conference. We are TRON!
The Pacific ASDA team celebrates Halloween during the conference. We are TRON!

“One characteristic of a leader that I tend to overlook is the importance of being able to effectively praise and compliment my (well-deserving) teammates and colleagues when they complete a task well. This is a valuable trait as a leader because one can powerfully motivate others by giving genuine encouragement and showing appreciation for their hard work.”
 - Leeann Chu, DDS 2016, Webmaster Co-Chair 

“With graduation looming around the corner, NLC also provided a great source of information on what to expect and how to handle various situations after dental school, from budget-friendly marketing strategies to making business-savvy decisions.”
  - Kowthemi Murugapoopathy, IDS 2015, IDS Representative 

“A gathering of students who care about their profession is an awesome sight to behold. This past weekend has been a fun ride of meeting new friends, seeing old ones and listening to great speakers. It was a feast of learning how to improve oneself and Pacific. This was an event that I left energized to do better.”
 - Steve Truman, DDS 2016, Chapter President

making our mark

How do dentistry and politics intersect? The Pacific Dugoni Chapter of the Academy of General Dentistry recently invited alumnus Dr. Joel Strom ’79 to speak with the Pacific Dugoni dental community on how dentists have an opportunity to enhance their career through political involvement. Dr. Strom is a former California State Dental board president and president of Strom Political Strategies. After graduating from University of the Pacific’s School of Dentistry in 1979, he completed a National Institute of Health Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Human Nutrition at Columbia University. In addition to practicing general dentistry in the greater Los Angeles area, he has served as course director for ethics at USC’s School of Dentistry and as president of the Western Los Angeles Dental Society. Dr. Strom also founded Dentistry United for WWII Vets.

AGD Political Perspective photo

During his visit, Dr. Strom discussed points of intersection between dentistry and politics, and explained how he got involved in political issues while just starting out in his career. Issues such as malpractice rates, changes in healthcare laws, student loans and taxes all affect the lives of dental professionals. Dentists have specialized knowledge about the healthcare industry that puts them in the prime position to make a difference in their community by taking leadership roles at all levels of politics – including professional dental organizations.

At Pacific Dugoni, students are constantly challenged to engage with their communities to be forces of positive change. Our clubs and organizations offer events that give students an opportunity to learn from seasoned professionals as they share perspectives on different ways dentists can use their talents in society. Many thanks, Dr. Strom, for sparking conversation on these timely topics at our school!

ASDA Penny Wars 2014 photo 3
Dollar bills are negative points. Do we smell sabotage?

There’s only one week a year when a penny is worth more than a nickel, dime, dollar or Benjamin. During Pacific Dugoni’s ASDA Chapter Penny Wars fundraiser, students, faculty and staff competed against each other as they collected pennies to rack up points while “nickel-and-diming” opposing teams to inflict negative points. The winning team was determined by the greatest number of (positive) points. But having the most pennies doesn’t necessarily lead to victory, as a $20 bill in an opponents’ jar can wreak havoc in the final hour.

This year the faculty and staff took first place with 33,061 points. A total of $2,216.43 was raised through the Penny Wars fundraiser, and all donations will go directly to City Youth Now.

ASDA Penny Wars 2014

City Youth Now is a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that supports youth in foster care and juvenile justice systems by providing funds for services and programs that promote stability and personal growth.

"Penny Wars was a great event that displayed one of the core values of Pacific Dugoni: philanthropy,” said Jeong Yun, ASDA community outreach coordinator. “Everyone's willingness to contribute reminded us that we are truly a family. On another note, we will make sure to ‘nickel and dime’ the faculty and staff next year!"

Pacific Dugoni’s chapter of the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) provides opportunities in dental education, advocacy and community service. All Pacific Dugoni students become members of ASDA and have an opportunity to participate in chapter activities. Learn more about ASDA’s activities here: https://www.facebook.com/PacificASDA

AAWD members hold a bake sale.

As the 2013-2014 school year comes to a close, the Pacific Dugoni chapter of the American Association of Women Dentists celebrates its first year and reflects on hopes for the future. The AAWD is a national organization dedicated to supporting and enriching the lives of women through education and outreach. Melissa Styles DDS ’14 and president of the Pacific chapter of the AAWD shares what inspired her to start a chapter at Pacific Dugoni:

“I was able to meet several of the national leaders at a conference for Successful Women last summer, and I was immediately inspired by their stories. At the University of the Pacific, we embrace all of our faculty, students and patients, and I knew a chapter of the AAWD would only bring more positive influence on the relationships of the people within the Pacific Family.

“We have had several meetings now, where the amazing women faculty of Pacific have shared their stories of overcoming obstacles, becoming mothers and striving towards becoming excellent dental clinicians. We've shared tears, we've shared laughter, and more importantly, we are becoming closer in our relationships and providing the support we need in a traditionally male field.”

Many of Melissa’s academic and professional choices have been guided by a heart for service. She was still an undergraduate student when she heard Dr. Arthur Dugoni speak on the importance of serving the community as a dentist, and his words resonated strongly with her. She became active in the community at her university and later served three years with the Peace Corps in a village in the South Pacific. At the Dugoni School of Dentistry, she has been able to serve the San Francisco community as well as her colleagues through various activities, including the founding of an AAWD chapter.

AAWD revised

In collaboration with the Larkin Street Youth, the AAWD reaches out to mentor young women interested in health careers. Melissa hopes to build a lasting relationship with the Larkin Street Center to continue to help young women navigate the path towards health professions.

The AAWD may be the new kid on the block, but it’s intelligent, bold and passionate. We’re looking forward to seeing how this community will grow at our school. Here’s to many more years of women leaders in dentistry!