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winter 2012

Volunteering abroad for the first time

An ASDA member shares her experiences (pg 7)

asda nyu

ASDA NYU Your First 1-2 Treating Patient

at NYU 11-13 NYSDA A Message from Dr. Weisfuse Dentist Conferece 14 New 2012

Advice from Dr. Palatta

Hospital, a Hurri3-6 Acane, and Hope

ASDA Philanthropy in action

a Difference 7-9 Making in Manta, Ecuador


ASDA members on outreach

A preview of what’s to come

Good, Help the Ones 15-16 “Do in Need” An Interview with Dr. Ricardo

YC Cupcake Crawl 17-18 NSometimes fermentable carbs

NYSDA House of Delegates NYU Vice-President’s report

are good for you

19 National Leadership Conference Photo Gallery

Photo courtesy of Sarah Prehn

Photo courtesy of Jade Gan



Immediate Past President Jade Gan volunteering at Sandy cleanup with Day of Hope

NYU students playing soccer with children in Ecuador while on outreach

Photo courtesy of Parthiv Mehta

The Post & Core is an ASDA NYU publication produced by: Editor Laura Moon

Assistant Editor Christine Kim



Treating Your

First Patient D1 Ryan Haig gets advice from Dean Palatta “Completing dental school

takes HOW many years?!” is a response that I frequently receive after telling the curious that it takes a minimum of 4 years to acquire a degree as a Doctor of Dental Surgery. Yes, I explain, dental school is a long journey of continuing education that requires its students to quickly master unique and foreign knowledge and skills necessary to become successful dentists.

by Ryan Haig (‘16)

Sometimes, the learning process can be quickened with invention of a clever mnemonic, such as the one used for remembering what goes through foramen ovale (hint: O.V.A.L.E.). Other times, we’re fortunate enough to be taught new methods that are intuitive and easy to learn – who can forget the “jiggle, jiggle, flick” modified bass technique? But, most of the time, it’s an uphill battle against a relentless avalanche of dense information and challenging clinical techniques that require time, patience, and practicepractice-practice. Treating and interacting with patients are skill sets that fall under the latter category.

Whether you’re a D1/D2 preparing to treat your first patient, or a D3/D4 with a relatively large amount of patient interactions logged in the books, Dr. Palatta provides some great insight into his first patient experience and passes on a handful of


“The best thing to remember, Dr. Palatta explains, is to put yourself in the patient’s position--physically and psychologically”

helpful suggestions regarding how to better interact with your patients. Dr. Palatta, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at NYUCD, recalls his first memorable experience like it was yesterday. He was a third year dental student and the treatment involved scaling and root planning for 6 mandibular anterior teeth on a middle-aged African American woman. Upon examining the patient’s oral cavity, he immediately noticed a patchy distribution of pigmentation on the attached gingiva and suspected it to be associated with a systemic disease. As it turned out, his clinical professor informed him, they were benign melanin deposits that were of no clinical consequence. Before starting, he applied anesthesia on the patient’s vestibule between the roots, so that she would feel very little to no sensation on the treated teeth. In a few minutes, he would begin to enjoy the unforgettable feeling of removing the (continued)

P&C First Patient

ASDA NYU (continued)

plaque “in large chunks”, one scrape at a time. This was a new, interesting, and REAL material to manipulate.

After successfully completing this procedure, Dr. Palatta thought to himself, “Wow, I’m really good at this dentistry thing!” However, the next patient was a reality check: this one required a maxillary posterior MO between two molars with tight contacts that involved bleeding, drooling, slippery surfaces, pain, “It’s important to include nearly choking on the sludge of the word ‘we’ in the quesdental materials, tion since it will give the and water drifting around in the patient a sense of being patient’s mouth. part of a team.” He just happened to get lucky with a fairly routine and simple first patient, as compared to the second one. With that in mind, here are some pointers from Dr. Palatta regarding how to prepare for your next patient visit:

1. Understand your patient. The best thing to remember, Dr. Palatta explains, is to put yourself in the patient’s position – physically and psychologically. First, set some time aside to sit in your clinical chair and look around you for five to ten minutes. Does it look clean and presentable? Are there any objects placed around the chair that would be unsettling to a new patient? Next, close your eyes and listen to what happens in your clinic. Is there a lot of talking that the patient could hear? Is there are lot of laughing? What do the instru-

ments sound like? Note the sites and sounds of your operatory and put yourself in the mindset of the patient.

2. Collect patient feedback. When your patients come in for their first visit, ask them for feedback from time to time during their treatment. It’s worth noting that there’s no need to ask how they are doing after every single time you scrape off calculus, but you should occasionally stop and ask, “how are we doing?” and wait for a response. It’s important to include the word “we” in the question since it will give the patient a sense of being part of a team. Also, inform them to “feel free to raise your hand or finger if you’d like to tell me anything.”

3. Educating the patient = Teamwork. In order to make the patients feel like they are a part of the treatment effort, try explaining the procedure in words that they can easily understand. Adapt your vocabulary to their level of healthy literacy. This will accomplish two things: a) it helps the patient understand (seek to be understood) why you’d like to continue with a specific treatment plan, thus relieving anxiety and establishing stakeholder support; and, b) it will improve your communication and treatment process by making it feel like a TEAM effort. Rather than saying “I’m going to perform an MO on #18 and #19”, show them what that looks like (i.e., using a typodont, drawing, or computer image), and be sure to explain the procedure in terms of “we” (“we’re going to remove the cavities from these two lower molars”). Remember – you can’t spell “treatment” without the word “team.”

After almost thirty years of serving the NYUCD community, Dean Anthony Palatta will be leaving to take a new position as the Senior Director for Educational Program Development at the American Dental Education Association in Washington D.C. ASDA NYU thanks Dean Palatta for his support and wishes him the best! 2



A Hospital, A Hurricane, And Hope There is a glass pavilion in the heart of Long Island

where Dr. Suess’s Cat in the Hat guards on the right. The Christmas trees are brightly decorated with blue, red and gold ornaments, and the waiting room looks like a sparkling holidaythemed display straight from Santa’s house. One would be surprised to know that this is the lobby of Cohen Children’s Hospital of LIJ/ Northshore, whose motto “Let Hope Grow” is quite appropriate. For almost a decade, it has been selected as one of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals” by U.S. News and World Report. However, it is not only the excellent clinicians and state-of-the-art resources that create this high quality hospital. The warm and caring environment at the hospital is truly unique and provides comfort to children and parents in their time of greatest need. (continued)


by Svetlana Musheyev (‘13)



Hope (continued) Having personally known some of the patients who were treated at the hospital, and hearing their touching stories, we were inspired to help support this hospital that is so dedicated to serving the special needs of their pediatric patients. It was the Second Annual All Student-Run Fundraiser Gala that NYU ASDA put together. ASDA collaborated with American Dental Education Association (ADEA), Russian American Dental Association (RADA), Pediatrics Club, Aesthetics Club, Marketing and Business Management (MBM), Xi Psi Phi (ZIPs), D1 Class Council, Community Service Club, Canadian Club, Technology in Dentistry Society, Chinese Students Dental Association (CSDA), AP Students Dental Association (APSDA), Society of

“Slowly, as...things started returning to normal, we wondered what more we could do to help those whose lives were affected by this tragedy.” Women in Dentistry, Alpha Omega, and the Jewish Students Dental Association (JSDA). The NYU College of Dentistry also worked with the NYU Dental Hygiene Program, and NYU College of Nursing to put on this event. Together, all these student associations were helping make this glamorous event, to be

held in Manhattan’s Chelsea Manor, a reality. However, two weeks before the event, Hurricane Sandy devastated downtown Manhattan, flooding the roads, buildings and businesses, sparing no one in her path. The entire NYU community was affected. Students were displaced from their homes as power and electricity was shut off. Many students even had homes in New Jersey and Brooklyn that were irreparably damaged. The NYU Langone Medical Center, dental school, and downtown main campus shut down for more than a week. In the aftermath of Sandy, however, NYU students came together and reached out to those in need. Those with power invited fellow (continued)

Photos courtesy of Parthiv Mehta

Stefano Anthony (‘15), Cheryline Pezzullo (‘15), Simon Mosery (‘15), Tess Rebecka (‘15), Ashley Dubois (‘15), Michele Equinda, (‘15) and Kale McMillan (‘15), Rob Hochberg (‘14)

Linh Phan (‘13) and Vincent Scaringi (‘14) show off raffle tickets


Wilson Morocho (‘13), Parthiv Mehta (‘13), Alma Correia (‘13), Hans Hsu (‘13), Marina Kandkhorov (‘13), Fahtema Sadat (‘13)


ASDA NYU Hope (continued) students and faculty into their homes, to charge their phones, share a meal, or spend the night. Students volunteered at shelters and the Rockaways with organizations such as HopeNYC. One of our team leaders, Nicole Piasio, of the College of Nursing, helped organize the volunteers to assist with the “Days of Hope” relief work. Slowly, as we came back to school and things started returning to normal, we wondered what more we could do to help those whose lives were affected by this tragedy. Thus, a dual fundraiser was launched: the NYU Fundraiser Gala for the Cohen Children's Hospital and the American Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund. The evening was a spectacular success. Students and faculty from

the NYU community, as well as the Stony Brook, Tufts, and Columbia dental schools came out to support these two causes. We were thrilled to raise over $6,200 for the Children’s Hospital as well as the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund. Most importantly, the charity event allowed ASDA to engage people both inside and outside the NYU community to do service. Dental school is a journey filled with ups and downs, from spending hundreds of hours in pre-clinic cutting preps for a practical to the excitement of seeing your first patient. These are all things that are essential and necessary so that we become dedicated, skilled clinicians, but our dental careers are also about embracing our new found positions as members of

“We were thrilled to raise over $6,200 for the Children’s Hospital [and] the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.” society who are greatly respected and looked to as role models. By giving back to the community, whether it be to a children’s hospital, to a disaster relief fund, a local soup kitchen or even a friend in need, we can be a part of something bigger. We can come together as a community to support great causes, using our talents to truly make a difference.

Photos courtesy of Parthiv Mehta

Srijana Pokhrel (‘14) and Andrew Ramirez (‘14)

Martin Szczutkowski (‘14), Michelle Mirza (‘14), Nicole LaDuca (‘14), Rob Hoch berg (‘14), Jordan Klinkner (‘14), Michael Dyme (‘14)

Henry Truong (‘14), Vincent Scaringi (‘14), Mariel Petruk (‘14), David Lam (‘13), Philip Christie, Linh Phan (‘13)




This charity event was made possible

Parthiv Mehta (‘13) and Gautam Matta (‘12)

by our student leaders: Julia Niyazova, Svetlana Musheyev, Vincent Scaringi, Daniel Rubinshtein, Kristine Hassan, Lihn Phan, Nicole Piasio, Nathan Cain, Gautum Matta, Erez Cohen, Golda Erdfarb, Simon Mosery and Christine Dursanian.

Brandon Rubinshtein, Juliz Niyazova (‘13), Svetlana Musheyev (‘13), Kristine Hassan (‘13), Jon Kaplan

With donated services from Brandon Rubinshtein & Jon Kaplan of WalkUsIn. com and Parthiv Mehta Photography

Thank you also to our sponsors: ASDA, ADEA, RADA,

Kaplan, P&G, GC America, Ultradent, Wall Street Bath and Spa and

Our Platinum Sponsor: Dr. Zeck And our Silver Sponsors: Dr.

Wolff, Dr. Peltz, Dr. Studley, Dr. Ross, Dr. Weledniger, Dr. Rochlen, Dr. Ferriolo, Lev Yusupov, Greg Bangiyev, Rose Hagan, Catherine Clarence, Barbara Smith, and Sincere Jenkins.

Photos courtesy of Parthiv Mehta

15 6


ASDA NYU Photo courtesy of Sarah Prehn

Making a Difference in

Manta, Ecuador ASDA member Sarah Prehn (‘14) went on her first international outreach trip. For two weeks, she worked long days alongside NYU faculty and students treating patients in Manta, Ecuador. Although she had only been in clinic for a few months before going abroad, she found a multitude of opportunities to bring relief to patients in need and increase her skills on site.


Sarah Prehn (‘14) performs an extraction of a badly abscessed #9 with assistance from Nikolay Levintov (‘13) and Dr. Rald Sadda

P&C When I got the e-mail

that I was accepted onto the outreach to Manta, Ecuador, I had no idea what lay ahead. Stepping out of the airport in Guayaquil, I felt as though I had entered a whole new world. Many of the towns that we drove through were not really even towns, just a few buildings made of boards held together with a wish and a prayer. Along the way, we saw a family outside of their home waving at us. It was only 9 AM, yet the child in the family was eating a lollipop. I knew that we would have our work cut out there. Entering the city of Manta, conditions seemed slightly better. The school that we would work at for the next week consisted of one large building, with some smaller buildings surrounding it. Because of the barred windows, they all looked a bit like outdoor jail cells, but inside they had

ASDA NYU electricity, running water, bathrooms, desks- everything that a classroom would need. Regardless of the conditions, we were ready to do preliminary screenings are treat patients in the fields of operative dentistry, pediatrics, oral surgery, and endodontics. Our team

“No patient was treated without a medical history, and no restoration was left unpolished...” consisted of third and fourth year dental students, residents, faculty, deans, outreach managers and a photographer/videographer. When one thinks about entering a dental clinic, they probably think of dental chairs, big lights, little sinks, etc. Our clinic was much more primitive than that. The patients sat in plastic lawn chairs and leaned their heads

back onto a stack of papers. All children, even older ones, were treated knee-to-knee. We had portable units for handpieces and suction, except for oral surgery in which the patients were instructed to spit. Despite the temporary set-up, the people of Ecuador were to receive the same level of dental care and cleanliness that patients receive at NYUCD. All units were disinfected between each patient and the instruments were sterilized. No patient was treated without a medical history, and no restoration was left unpolished. This could be pretty challenging, because not every member of the NYUCD team spokve Spanish-myself included- so there was often a language barrier. Also, we were performing dentistry upside down and backwards. Since the patients placed their head back onto a table, we could not stand behind them. We had to hunch over and treat the patient from the

(continued) Sarah Prehn (‘14), Rebekah Nguyen (‘13), Amanda Budiman (‘14), Dean Stuart Hirsch, Nikolay Levintov (‘13), Dr. Deborah Vargas Benitez, Dr. Maria Acerbo, Dr. Ross, Bobak Bakhshoudeh (‘13)


Photo courtesy of Sarah Prehn



front or from the side, using loupes and headlamps to help us see. For me as a D3, this was quite an adventure- and took some getting used to!

Ecuador (continued)

All of the younger children in the school were treated, and preliminary data was taken as part of a research study. This data would allow NYUCD to come back in future years and see how their efforts toward the oral health of the children made a difference. Adult patients were screened to determine their most pressing

“...the people of Ecuador were to receive the same level of dental care and cleanliness that patients receive at NYUCD...� dental need, and if we would be able to treat them. It was wonderful to see that some of the children and their parents had previous dental care. There were a few children with braces, and some even had temporary or glass ionomer restorations. Many adults had old anterior composite restorations that they were hoping to have replaced. I had entered the trip thinking that most operative dentistry would be on severely decayed molars nearing pulpal exposure. However, if given a choice between a carious posterior tooth and replacement of an old, broken down anterior composite, over 80% of the adult patients chose the anterior tooth for treatment. There were many patients who walked out thanking us because now they could give their friends and family a big smile.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Prehn

Oral Surgery Clinic

Our team was treated like royalty in Ecuador. We stayed in one of the nicest hotels, ate three catered meals a day, and were even given a party in our honor on the last night. We all worked extremely hard from early morning until late at night to address the dental needs of the people, and felt very honored to be given such great accommodations in return.

Children at the school coming out to thank the NYU Outreach team

As a D3 on the trip, everything was a little bit more challenging. It was harder to be accepted for the outreach, my exams had to be rescheduled, and I had less clinical experience than the D4s. If you decide to go on an outreach as a third year student, the best advice I can give is to accept that you will need a little bit more help performing certain procedures, and to ask for it. I would like to extend a special round of thanks to Dean Hirsch and Dr. Raid Sadda for giving me great guidance in the fields of operative dentistry and oral surgery, respectively. I definitely left the trip feeling like I was a faster and more competent dentist, and the experience of helping so many people is something I will take with me forever.

One of the classrooms converted into a temporary clinic




NYSDA House of Delegates June, 2012

The Annual House of Delegates meeting is a prime example of the grassroots-style through which NYSDA governs itself and influences the dental profession. ASDA NYU’s Vice-President Michele Equinda (‘15) attended this year’s meeting as a student delegate.

by Michele Equinda (‘15),

ASDA NYU Vice-President

“As an ASDA District, we are given one vote on the House floor, which attests to the idea that students do have a voice.”

was to attend the New York State Dental Association Annual House of Delegates from June 7-9th, 2012, at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. It was a perfect introduction to Organized Dentistry and reinforced the importance of student involvement. Along with student representatives from Stony Brook, Columbia, and Buffalo, as well as the District 2 Trustee, I sat in on the House proceedings over the course of the Session. As an ASDA District, we are given one vote on the House floor, which attests to the idea that students do have a voice. I listened to the Delegates from the New York State local components discuss resolutions to the NYSDA bylaws. I also joined the New York County Dental Society Caucus, where the pros and cons of the proposed resolutions were weighed, and eventually voted upon on the House Floor. Throughout the Session, many speakers discussed the importance of the ADA, ADPAC, community service opportunities, and many other topics. I became aware of the pressing issues affecting our profession and quickly came to see the influence of the people in the room in shaping the future of the dental profession. During the Session, I also attended the New Dentist Conference, which included various speakers, who provided a range of information and resources for students making the transition from university clinics to private practice. Finally, I attended several social events and the President’s Dinner Dance, where the incoming and outgoing presidents were honored. My attendance at the NYSDA House of Delegates allowed me to meet numerous representatives from all over New York State and appreciate the passion and dedication with which they serve our profession.


Michele Equinda with conference attendees at the House of Delegates

Photo courtesy of Michele Equinda

My first responsibility as the NYU ASDA Vice President



New York State Dental Association


or NYSDA, as it is more commonly known. NYSDA is the state portion of what we term a “tripartite” professional organization, the other 2 parts, being our national American Dental Association, and our local component, which here in Manhattan, is called the New York County Dental Society.    The ADA is the professional association of dentists that fosters success of our diverse membership and advances the oral health of the public.  We work as a team to make decisions that are in the best interest of the profession.  We are your voice and your advocate.

I bring warm greetings from the New York State Dental Association,

The New York County Dental Society is the largest component in all of the ADA and is the one in which I have practiced and been an active participant throughout my career. Each portion of our professional organization emphasizes differing activities in its multi-pronged approach to safeguarding our career investment and the oral health care of the population that we serve.     I understand that through your Student Association fees, you automatically become an ASDA member. This is convenient in many ways, but sometimes, with all the things on your mind in Dental School, this automaticity may not lead to the involvement that can help build the information background you will need when you finally get out into the real world.  We are here to help you

understand our organization, which is linked to yours and what it stands for. But some of you might be thinking at this point, ”Why is organized dentistry really important to me?” It costs a lot to join, doesn’t it? I’m sure that many of you have significant loans as well as concerns regarding how you will buy your first practice, your first home, start a family, not to mention saving for retirement.  Most of life’s demands seem to have serious financial implications.Organized Dentistry Affects You.

“But some of you might be thinking at this point, ‘why is organized dentistry really important to me?’” There are many reasons why organized dentistry is important and will benefit you in your early years as a practitioner, as well as throughout your professional life. Our charges for membership are graduated during your first five years of practice— starting with no membership fee at all in your first year of practice, only becoming full fee in the fifth year of practice. And, even as students, you are soon to be entitled to participate in many New York County Dental Society Events. For additional support our organization has many local New Dentist Committees poised to make your transition to an experienced dental professional as easy as possible. However, I’ll start with something even more relevant to everyone [at NYUCD]. (continued)


Dr. Deborah Weisfuse,

President of NYSDA, came to NYU on Oct. 11th, 2012 to speak to ASDA members about the importance of organized dentistry for dental students. The following is an excerpt from her talk, which was given in conjunction with a presentation by ADA liaison Dr. Steven Gounardes.


ASDA NYU NYSDA (continued) Organized dentistry protects

and affects dental education. Right now, there are several applications filed with the ADA to open dental schools that are very different from the one that you attend. They deliver all the clinical components of dental education from community based health centers or hospitals.  The important point is that these institutions will not be academically based, have no research concerns, and will transition us to an emphasis on “drilling and filling.”  There are some influential educators that believe that this trend will lead to the elimination of the general dentist completely within the next generation. You will be happy to hear that there are no proposals of this kind at present within New York, but NYSDA and the ADA are active in all arenas possible to protect our profession. Last year the Center for Disease Control, known as the CDC, proposed to downgrade its division of Oral Health from a Division to a Branch within another Division.  This would have made oral health issues much less of a priority within the CDC, which is a policy leader in our national healthcare.  Our ADA leadership worked hard at the national level to reverse this.

[Also] last year, when the CDC issued their “new” information on acceptable fluoride levels, a big uproar occurred in the New York City Council, where a bill was introduced to remove all fluoride from the city water sources.  This event, which could have had serious far reaching effects on our public, was largely unnoticed by the press, because NYSDA and your local New York

“Through the efforts of the ADA, nine million more Americans have fluoridated water and its cavity prevention benefits than in 2008.” Component worked hard behind the scenes to cause the bill to be dropped in a quiet manner. I am proud to note to you that through the efforts of the ADA, nine million more Americans have fluoridated water and its cavity prevention benefits than in 2008.  And additionally, on this topic, New York State Dental Association is gearing up for additional debate this year and instituted its first Fluoride Spokesperson training event, (continued)

ASDA Vice-President Michele Equinda (‘15) and President Andrew Ramirez (‘14) with Dr. Weisfuse. NYSDA hosted a Happy Hour in December for NYU students.


Photo courtesy of Heather Zanon


ASDA NYU NYSDA (continued) hosting one leader from each of our 13 components with professional training and information support this past June. We monitor issues, keep membership informed, and protect and enhance the profession.

We are proud of four state

advocacy achievements this year in Governor Cuomo’s budget. These include: 1. Preservation of adult dental services in the Medicaid Program that were deemed “Optional Health Services” in New York State.

grants and projects. We are currently working on setting up a state event known affectionately as MOM, or Missions of Mercy.   Once securely structured, this enormous community dentistry event will highly benefit the population we serve as well as our own standing within the greater healthcare community of New York State.   I hope I have given you a dynamic picture of a very special and successful organization that works tirelessly on behalf of its membership and the population they serve.  [This is just] a tiny part of what we do.    

2. A provision for New York dentists to provide Smoking Cessation Treatment to Medicaid patients who demonstrate need. And, we have also just obtained on May 2, 2012 an opinion from the State Board of Dentistry verifying that Smoking Cessation is within the scope of practice of Dentistry, and that dentists may charge for this care throughout the state.

“You need to understand that no matter what part of dentistry you choose to pursue, this an essential one for you to support with your membership.”

3. The budget has no proposal to expand the scope of practice of dental hygienists, which was proposed by the New York State Medicaid Redesign team appointed by the governor.

Your demographic is not one that naturally joins organizations and we need to overcome this natural inclination. You need to understand that no matter what part of dentistry you choose to pursue, this organization we are discussing here today is an essential one for you to support with your membership.  The ADA works for the entire profession tirelessly.  It will become the organization you wish it to be, by your participation.  And if you cannot be involved, your membership support will allow others to do so on your behalf.  

4. And for students, this budget establishes a primary Service Corps Loan Repayment where dentists can now get $32,000 per year loans returned by practicing in an underserved area. We also participate, through our New York State Dental Foundation, in many charitable

Students networked with colleagues and NYSDA members at the NYSDA-hosted Happy Hour Photos courtesy of Heather Zanon




New Dentist Conference 2012 in Washington D.C.

A Student’s Perspective by Alex Sadak

One of the many benefits of an ADA membership is the annual New Dentist Conference to help you transition from academia to the real world. What happens at the conference and what is it like? ASDA District 2 Legislative Liaison Alex Sadak attended the 2012 conference to give us a preview.


year’s New Dentist Conference kicked off in dental associations. Whatever the case, the dentists were our nation’s capital with a brief introduction very proactive, engaged, and not afraid to come up to to the event and a bit of history. The conference is neatly the microphone and challenge the speakers. Let’s not designed to provide great networking opportunities, forget that dentists have a reputation of studying hard continued education courses, social events, motivational and partying harder! Friday’s agenda finished off with a speakers, and most importantly to hear what new dentists reception at the hotel with refreshments and savory hors all over the country are going through! A “new dentist” is d’oeuvres (the raw tuna with asian pear was my favorite). someone who has been out of dental school for no more This was a great opportunity to speak with new dentists than 10 years. The conference has a reputation of being and understand what recent dental school grads go the “most motivational dental meeting of the year” for new through in their first years out, the challenges they face and dentists. Friday’s agenda was divided how they overcome them. “The conference has a in a few different tracks, to allow the The night didn’t end there – attendees to pick a topic that appealed reputation of being the our ADA New Dentist District to them most. The topics included those “most motivational dental 2 leaders (including VP Chris in politics, hot topics in dentistry, doctor/ Salierno) took us out to a dinner patient communications, and training meeting of the year” for at a local hot spot, where the in parliamentary procedures. The night really kicked off (come new dentists.” day wrapped up with productive idea to the next conference to find exchanges, and a round of questions by attendees to the out more for yourself!). Saturday’s agenda was structured panel of ADA’s district trustees, as well as the President and around continued education (CE) courses divided between President-elect of the ADA. Management of Perio Patient, Practice Management, and It was one of the most amazing things to see how passionate the new dentists were about the future of their careers, licensure, the alternate workforce, finances, and more. Many shared each other’s problems, but some had very unique problems like licensure for international students, membership recruitment at local dental societies, and communicating with various cultural

Employee Embezzlement and Fraud. I went to the perio presentation delivered by the past president of American Academy of Periodontology, which was by far the best lecture/presentation I have ever been to. Dr. Samuel Low is a note worthy lecturer to see if you ever get a chance (hint: Furcations Furcations Furcations!). Sunday’s CE courses included Aesthetic and Restorative dentistry, practice management, patient interactions, and implants.

Alex Sadak is the ASDA District 2 Legislative Liaison for the 20122013 academic year. He is currently a D3 at Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine.

As a student you get a perspective of what happens once you graduate, what to look forward to, and what challenges lie ahead. At the same time you get to meet so many successful new dentist who are passionate about the profession. I wish more students have the chance to attend next year – this is one you don’t want to miss!




“Do Good, Help the Ones in Need” An Interview with Dr. Ricardo

By Armen Akopian (‘14)

I had no idea what to expect. I am the first one in my family to go into the profession of dentistry. Dr. Bucklan, our director for the D1 pre-clinical course, told us that every once in a while there will be someone who is so amazing that when he/she picks up the drill, it is just an extension of his/her hand. A “Michelangelo,” he would say. I have never been a natural at anything but I naively thought that this time would be different. This was my big chance to shine! The first lab session came and I realized that, yet again, I would have to work on this a lot. So, I started coming in on my own time and practicing as many of us in dental school do. One Saturday afternoon, after practicing for hours in lab, I became really stressed. I got up, ready to give up and leave, but then a stranger in a dress shirt and a bow tie approached me. He said something that to this day I cannot comprehend. “Who is this, what is he saying to me, and why is he saying it so fast?” I remember thinking. He sat me down and showed me how to do the class III I was having trouble with on tooth number 7, which up until that point, I had been doing with my head upside down and basically down the mannikin’s throat. That was how I met Dr. Ricardo Vanegas-Plata, who we all fondly know as Dr. Ricardo. Since then, Dr. Ricardo has been one of the most important people in my clinical education in dentistry. He has taught me how to do everything from simple restorations, to dentures, to crowns and bridges. I am definitely not the only one who received his help. He has spent countless hours of his own time to assist hundreds of students throughout the years who needed the extra help. Ask anyone who knows him and they will tell you he’s energetic, passionate, and genuinely eager to help his students become the


best clinicians that they can be. Dr. Ricardo is now moving on, so I sat down with him to get a final interview before he leaves the NYUCD community. How long have you been practicing dentistry? I graduated in December 7, 1983 from the Potificia Univerdad Javeriana. Since then I worked as a dentist ‘till the same day I left my country. And how long have you been teaching at NYUCD? I was appointed NYUCD instructor in August of 2007. Why did you leave Colombia? Sadly and painfully, I was forced to leave my country. Days before fleeing, I was savagely beaten by individuals who claimed to be a part of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. They left me a document that constituted a serious threat of death to myself. I was opposed to the "social cleansing" in Colombia that included the murder of prostitutes, street children, homosexuals, and especially people living with HIV/AIDS. I worked as a dentist and an


Photo courtesy of Dr. Plata

When I started my clinical training,

Dr. Ricardo Vanegas-Plata with Class of 2012 students


ASDA NYU Top: Dr. Plata with Class of 2015 students Bottom: Dr. Plata with Class of 2014 students

Do Good (continued)

Photo courtesy of Parthiv Mehta

advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS since 1985. It seemed absurd to see how they died without being admitted or were cruelly rejected from medical and dental services. I helped these people with other doctors and public hospitals workers. I was not only a dentist for them, but also, I helped them take baths, shaved their emaciated faces, bought them food, and did all I could to help them so they could die with dignity. I remember helping and carrying the coffin to the cemetery of the people who had died of AIDS, just because their families, for the shame of having seen them die of AIDS, did not want to be identified with the dead.

When I came to work here at the University, I was dying physically and did not believe in anything or anyone. I had just finished being subjected to medical treatment and it was a complete failure. I had my torso crossed by herpes, I was not laughing because my teeth were falling. I was losing my hair. I was losing weight rapidly. I had no hope and I saw no clear future. I also went through a terrible humiliation of filing for bankruptcy. I had no reason to fight, or for whom to fight. Then there you were, the students, distressed discouraged and in the failures of all students I found a reason to live. In January of the following year, I decided to start a new treatment and relive again. I owe my life to the students and devoted my life tirelessly to educate you all. At that moment, I discovered my passion for teaching. What is your favorite part about teaching? What I loved the most was seeing your smile after you learned to do a procedure or made something with your own hands. I loved seeing your confidence after you defeated frustration and intimidation. What is your teaching philosophy? My philosophy is to analyze what and why you do things imperfectly, to try to make you feel better or worse, to convince you that there are some things you should change including your attitude of being inept, and to wait for your smile after getting things done right.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Plata

What was one experience that confirmed you that teaching was your passion?

“You shall multiply your prayers, I shall no listen. Your hands are covered with blood, Wash, make yourselves clean. Take your wrong-doing out of my sight. Cease to do evil. Learn to do good, Search for justice, help the oppressed, be just to the orphan, plead for the widow.” My prayers are in the joy of teaching; I did it because the only way of doing good is sacrifice, and love.

How do you find the time to come in on weekends and so many days when you’re not scheduled to be here? And why do you do it?

Any final advice for your little “grasshoppers?” Do good, help the ones in need, search for justice, and love your work.

I found long ago in the “Genesis 32:30-31” a motive to use my own time in favor of those who suffer or are in need. When I came here I saw student struggling in the labs after class hours, wasting their time and materials. I wanted to be there to guide you guys.

Thank you so much for your devotion, passion, time and patience. We’ve been lucky to have you by our side and we will not forget all your efforts to make us be the best we can be.





cupcake crawl

by Mariel Petruk (‘14) I have to admit that after one of those amazing exams that we all know, all I want is to eat my emotions away into a diabetic coma. I am pretty sure it is built into being a woman...or a dental student...or both. So in an attempt to be a hero, I took on the excruciatingly hard task of trying out some great places around the city to report back my scientific findings. You’re welcome.

1. Magnolia Bakery (107 E 42nd St.): This was actually the first place I tried when I came to the city for my admissions interview on the recommendation of a doctor I worked for back in Florida. If it wasn’t for the crowds of stampeding tourists, this place could be my version of Christmas—All kinds of cakes, cupcakes, and sweet treats that look absolutely irresistible; especially the cakes, which are sliced to order so that they stay moist. However, for the price, my advice is to stay away from the cakes and cupcakes. Don’t get me wrong, they are delicious,

but the real winner for price to scrumptiousness ratio is the banana pudding. Get the large, trust me. It is basically an amazing blend of vanilla pudding, whipped cream, wafers, and bananas that makes me come back for more and stand in line when I obviously should be doing something else, like studying operative notes. 2. Butter Lane Bakery (240 E. 7th

St.): I did not realize cupcakes were such a big thing in NYC, but this was a trend that I was not going to let pass me by. Next on the list was Butter Lane, which I tried with some classmates, one of whom buys four to six cupcakes at every visit like a champion. This charming little shop within walking distance of school specializes in cupcakes primarily. They don’t bother messing with other confectionaries. With a few batter types and numerous flavors of frosting to choose from, you can mix

and match however you like. I tried two different ones to find that the batter itself was nothing special. It was the frosting that won me over— so fluffy and light that store-bought Pillsbury Whipped Frosting should be ashamed. And as long as you’re there on 7th street, you might as well go to Big Gay Ice Cream Shop... 3. Big Gay Ice Cream Shop (125 E. 7th St.): Literally right next door to Butter Lane, this is some of the best soft-serve ice cream I’ve ever had. If the 6-foot unicorn painted on the wall isn’t enough to get you in the (continued)


P&C (continued)



door, the specialty cones should be. I recommend for Big Gay novices the Salty Pimp, which holds a surprise to the taste buds in its sprinkled sea salt. From there, you can not go wrong with Nutellalined waffle cones, dulce de leche (I’m biased towards favoring anything with this), Nilla wafers, and pretzel chunks. Seriously, go there. If your patient runs late and you do not have time for lunch you can rationalize Big Gay and Butter Lane all in one trip. 4. Sundaes and Cones (95 E. 10th St.): Speaking of ice cream...Sundaes and Cones will more than satisfy the inevitable craving that come when the beautiful spring weather arrives and all you want to do is sit outside on a little bench eating a freshly made waffle cone while gossiping for hours. The best thing about this place is the delectable aroma wafting through the air of waffle cones baking. Sundaes and Cones has enough flavors to try something exciting

every visit. According to their website, ”flavors range from the classics of Vanilla and Chocolate to the striking flavors of Wasabi, Ginger, Corn, Tiramisu and Black Sesame”; perfect to spice up an afternoon. They also make custom ice cream cakes, which must be out of this world, although I have yet to try them. 5. Crumbs Bake Shop (254 Park Ave.): This place can be overwhelming because there are so many choices. With cupcakes the size of footballs, I can barely finish one. I walked in the first time, wishing that each label came with a description, and asked the guy working the counter, “So what do you recommend?” He picked out his favorite for me, the Milkshake cupcake, which is described as “marble cake filled with vanilla cream cheese frosting mixed with chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting and a chocolate cream cheese frosting swirl edged with chocolate crunchies.”


The cupcake batter itself was exceptional in every way—moist and rich beyond expectation. The only thing that I did not like was that the frosting inside the cupcake made the sweetness almost too much to handle. It was a lot of frosting, and mine happened to be vanilla, which is exceptionally decadent. Knowing the intensity of the cupcake content, I will probably vary the flavors next time. And definitely, these beast-like cupcakes are made to be shared with a classmate. So that is all I have for now, though I am far from being done. There are still plenty of places I have on my To Try list, and I’m always looking for suggestions, or a partner to go try them with, so if you know a great place let me know! As for me, I think I need to spend some time in the gym until the next issue.

“If your patient runs late and you do not have time for lunch, you can rationalize Big Gay and Butter Lane all in one trip.”



Photo Gallery

ASDA NYU at the National Leadership Conference 2012 in Chicago



Winter 2012 Newsletter  

Winter 2012 Newsletter for the NYU Chapter of ASDA