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The Associated Student Body (ASB) and the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) recently hosted a successful Crawfish Boil. More than 200 students, faculty, staff and family showed up for this annual Dugoni School tradition, where crawfish is prepared in the traditional Louisiana style with Cajun spices along with sausage, corn on the cob, potatoes, zucchini and onions. This free event is made possible by the generous donation of alumnus Dr. Jason Larkin ’01, Ortho ’03. Student volunteers cleaned and cooked the crawfish with the help of Chuck Frye, who has been a major part of the Crawfish Boil for the past 15 years. The food was put inside of kiddie pools and served on the table for everyone to enjoy! It was a fun event for the Dugoni School family to mingle and for some to enjoy crawfish for the first time.

Many thanks to Sarah Mathai, ASB Rep at Large, for coordinating this successful event!

The American Student Dental Association (ASDA) Chapter at the Dugoni School of Dentistry recently hosted a successful vendor fair and fundraiser. This year 17 vendors attended the fair to network with the 200 DDS, IDS and Dental Hygiene students that attended. Students got the chance to learn more about the wide array of products, technology and services available in the dental field while enjoying drinks, appetizers and socializing. Raffle prizes included gift cards, electric toothbrushes and Crest HD toothpaste. The event helps fund some of the ASDA chapter activities throughout the year. Special thanks to the many companies that participated!

As the winter quarter comes to an end, students are busy burying themselves in books as they study for exam week. Our chapter of the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) decided to host a "puppy playdate” day as a way to help students de-stress. Family Dog Rescue brought the puppies, which were all eligible for adoption. It was smiles all around as students got some much-needed stress relief petting some adorable puppies. Some may have even walked away with a new furry family member!

Minahil Khan, DDS 2018 and organizer of the event, was pleased with the turnout for the event. “Our puppy adoption event was meant to bring students, staff, and faculty together to socialize and de-stress before finals and the event had a great turnout! The area was filled with love and happiness as people played with the puppies and we hope to make this a regular event at our school.”

Each year our second-year DDS and IDS students organize an “Over the Hump” party to celebrate the completion of the first half of our dental program. This year the Class of 2018 students hosted a successful “Night at the Oscars” themed celebration at the Grand Hyatt in Union Square on Feb. 25. Open to all students, faculty and staff, the night featured food, dancing and awards.

The Thomas R. Bales Family Endowment Good Samaritan Award is announced during this annual celebration. The award recognizes the student who shows the most kindness to their classmates throughout the first half of the program. This year’s winner was Katherine Diep.

Congrats to the Class of 2018 on making it over the hump!

Check out pictures from the photobooth >>

Take a look at some class video showcased as part of the festivities:


The Class of 2017 recently gathered during the weekend of Feb. 3-5 for a class retreat on California’s Monterey Peninsula. The retreat is one of the last group gatherings for the third-year class as they finish up the last half of their academic year in preparation for graduation in June. The annual school tradition featured karaoke, a neon themed prom and a vendor fair. It also brought together the five-year and 20-year reunion classes at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove. The event allows students to continue to develop strong ties with each other and meet with members of the Alumni Association.

Take a look at the photos >>

In an effort to promote and support the academic and social environments of minority students, both present and future, the Associated Student Body at the Dugoni School approved a new student chapter of the Student National Dental Association (SNDA). Founding members, students Jennifer Villalta, DDS Class of 2017, and Ashley Soliman, DDS Class of 2018, as well as their elected board members, aim to create and provide opportunities for our students to advance their careers in dentistry. Being able to work with individuals from different backgrounds will allow students to become culturally competent practitioners. As the health care gap continues, the need for diversity in health care professions has become increasingly important.

Read about this new organization >>


A group of more than 50 Dugoni School students and faculty travelled to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, during the school’s fall break for an oral health mission. The volunteers treated 997 underserved patients in the community during visits to several rural health clinics. They were involved with approximately 200 restorative cases and provided 900 extractions.

Student dentists had the chance to deliver dental care under supervision of faculty members while learning about the needs of the community and their specific oral health challenges. The volunteers visited three community clinics in the Ocho Rios area (Exchange, Port Maria and Claremont). They also volunteered at a clinic at their hotel designed to serve hotel employees. The group included 43 members of the DDS Class of 2017, four members of the DDS Class of 2018, three oral surgeons, four general dentists, one lab technician, one administrative faculty member and five volunteers to assist with registration.

In addition to serving the Bay Area community, Dugoni School volunteers participate in many outreach programs outside the U.S., including mission trips to remote or underserved areas such as Fiji, Jamaica and other areas.

Thanks to all of the volunteers who took time over break to bring smiles to the underserved!


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.

During the recent spring break, a group of 34 students, faculty, alumni and friends came together to provide dental treatment to the people of Bataan and Boracay, Philippines, on a Christian dental mission trip. The trip was coordinated by students and faculty affiliated with the Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA) Pacific Chapter, and was funded in part thanks to on-campus fundraisers and private donors. Check out a few photos from the trip below!

Philippine Mission

Philippine Mission 2

Philippine Mission 3

Philippine Mission 4

Some of our student leaders recently visited Atlanta and Seattle for the ASDA Annual Session and the ADEA Annual Session, respectively.

In Atlanta more than 470 dental students from around the country gathered for networking opportunities, exhibitions, sharing of information and social activities.

ASDA Leaders at Annual SessionDugoni School ASDA students in Atlanta..

In Seattle, ADEA student leaders attended sessions and events, and Pacific’s chapter was also recognized with two honors: a Distinguished Chapter Award, given to only five ADEA student chapters, and the Outstanding Advocacy & Ethics Award, given to one student chapter this year.

ADEA Student Chapter at Annual Session in Seattle March 2013Dugoni School ADEA student leaders in Seattle.