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Graduation celebrations are looking a lot different this year as many schools continue to prioritize the health and safety of students, faculty and attendees’ families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many other universities that have postponed in-person ceremonies to promote social distancing, the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry honored its graduating class in a virtual awards ceremony.
The Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine hosted its first digital commencement ceremony to honor the class of 2020.
Andrew Soderstrom, DDS, CDA past president and a co-founder of CDA Cares, the CDA Foundation’s volunteer dental clinic, died Wednesday, April 29, following complications after a fall at his home in Modesto, California. He was 65.
From a young age, Matthew Mecheal, DDS, has been sure about two things: his passion for helping others and his love for dentistry. Through the years, he never lost sight of his goals or the values that were instilled in him many years ago. As an advocate for the underserved and this year’s recipient of the CDA Foundation’s Student Loan Repayment Grant, Dr. Mecheal plans to focus on his personal objective to improve the oral health of underserved communities and minimize barriers to care.
Thousands of patients and volunteers flocked to the National Orange Show Events Center at the CDA Foundation’s 16th CDA Cares volunteer dental clinic to receive and provide dental care at no cost. Dentists and dental professionals performed 10,412 procedures, including fillings, extractions and cleanings, providing $1.46 million in care to 1,626 people. The event took place Sept. 27-28 in San Bernardino for the first time.
Marc Bernardo, DMD, MPH, and Michelle Galeon, DMD, are among the first recipients of a new grant funded by Proposition 56, a voter-approved tobacco tax that CDA and other health care organizations sponsored in 2016. The grant program awarded $10 million in debt relief to 38 dentists (up to $300,000 each) in exchange for the dentists maintaining a 30% or more Medi-Cal patient caseload for five years.
Catherine’s dental phobia was once so severe that dental advertisements or even passing a dental office could trigger a panic attack. Worse, her debilitating phobia kept her from seeing a dentist for over 10 years. Eventually, she developed a life-threatening oral infection and lived with it for over a year and a half. “I was in pain, but I was too scared to receive care,” said Catherine, a resident of Bakersfield, Calif.
In 2010, Vanessa Franks, DDS, became the 11th recipient of the CDA Foundation’s Student Loan Repayment Grant — a flagship program that aims to offset some of the financial burden of student loan debt in exchange for a three-year commitment by recipients to care for the underserved. Describing herself as “a natural caretaker with a strong inherent motivation to enrich the lives of others,” Dr. Franks said a career in public health had been a longtime goal.