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Yesterday, Pacific staff, faculty and ASDA students joined ASDA students from UCSF as volunteers at the San Francisco Food Bank. We had a great time preparing packages of food for hungry San Franciscans.

This event was organized as part of our commitment to giving back to San Francisco. We have two exceptional dental schools here in the city, and as students, we know it’s important we give back to our community.

A few times each year, students from both schools get together and volunteer. It’s a great chance to do something good for San Francisco, and a welcome opportunity for us Pacific students to get to know our colleagues at UCSF!

Take a look at a short video from the San Francisco Food Bank event below.

Posted by Armin Vahidnia
Class of 2012
ASDA Northern California Community Outreach Coordinator



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.

“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!!!

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!