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Volume 14, Issue 3 Winter 2020-21

A look into the modern flossify of the VCU School of Dentistry

This Newsletter is brought to you by the American Student Dental Association at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry.

vcuasda.com


CONT ENTS 03

DEAN'S MESSAGE

07

The story of Tareq Alsarraf, one of our international students. A long journey, great obstacles, and.... even greater prizes!

10

Words of gratitude and hope from the dean of VCU SOD, Dean Sarrett.

05

INTROSPECTION IN DENTAL SCHOOL An essay from Joshua McKoy, president of VCU SOD Class of 2023.

01

The Probe | Winter 2020-21

6,601 MILES FROM HOME

SENIOR SELECTIVE PROGRAM What is the senior selective program? Let's hear from three of our D4s!

17

ASDA GALLERY Updates of what has been going on at our school from our ASDA Historian and Community Service Chairs.


WELCOME

JAN 2021

The Probe The

Probe

Newsletter

is

of

the

VCU

ASDA

School

of

Dentistry.

The two goals for 2020-21 are (1) to highlight moments and people at

VCU

SOD

and

(2)

to

share

encouragements, reflections, and information

as

excellence

in

we

pursue

dentistry

for

our

patients.

Please

submit

questions

to

articles, Jasmine

art,

or

Lee,

at

leejj10@vcu.edu.

Message from the Editor

Happy New Year! I hope that everyone was able to enjoy the holidays and get

rest

over

winter

break.

May

we

each

have

a

spring

semester that is even better than our previous semesters, and I wish you and your loved ones peace and joy in 2021! This shorter winter issue features articles, interviews, and photos from our VCU SOD dental students from the end of 2020. Believe it or not, there is only one more newsletter—the Spring

issue

expected

in

April

2021—remaining

for

this

academic year. Please don't hesitate and miss your chance to send in your stories and photo submissions before summer begins. I am also filling in as the editor for this year only, so if you are interested in working on The Probe next year, feel free to ask me any questions. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this issue and to all our readers! Jasmine Lee, D2022 The Probe Newsletter Editor

The Probe | Winter 2020-21

02


faculty

and

staff;

and

to

deliver

safe

patient

care. All while becoming increasingly aware of the strengths of a diverse community and more mindful of our cultural differences.

DEAN'S MESSAGE

To

each

of

you

goes

my

heartfelt

gratitude.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to create

and

adapt

to

that

keep

environments willingness

to

stay

the

learning you

and

safe.

course

with

clinical

For

your

COVID-19

safety precautions. And for your kindness toward each other.

DEAN DAVID C. SARRETT, D.M.D., M.S.

No, this hasn’t been easy. But it’s because of you that your faculty and school leadership teams— from

my

A year ago at this time, no one could have

staff

support—work

anticipated “the new normal” in which we now

keep your health and your education on track for

find

graduation.

ourselves.

A

COVID-19

pandemic

rages,

office

to

facilities

management

together

as

one

and

team

to

gatherings with friends and family are severely restricted,

and

your

school

experience

is

Each of us has a role to play on this journey.

nothing like it was or what you expected. In

Whether

short, our lives are in flux. All amidst a painful

vaccination,

but

something amiss, or supporting your classmates

much-needed

movement

to

bring

social

and health inequities to the forefront of our

it

be

waiting

speaking

your up

turn

when

for

your

you

see

who may be struggling.

collective consciousness. Thank

you

for

making

sure

you

play

your

role

None of this has been easy.

safely, consistently and with genuine kindness.

But there is hope.

We’re stronger as a team than individuals alone.

Vaccinations approved

have

and

been

are

now

developed, being

tested,

So, wear your mask, wash your hands and stay

administered.

socially distanced, whether you’re in or out of

Your education delivery here at the School of

school.

Dentistry continues to adapt to your needs. And your

school

others

to

soldiers

safely

on

as

educate

an

example

D.D.S.

and

students and residents; to protect students,

03

The Probe | Winter 2020-21

for D.H.

You can do this. I have hope.


WELCOME

JAN 2021

WELCOME BACK FROM VCU ASDA PRESIDENT, REBECCA JELINEK, D3

Happy New Year and welcome back! Cheers to surviving 2020 and to the change

that

accompanied

this

unconventional year! Virtual learning and social distancing have made me realize all of the things I miss

and

more.

I

made

never

me

appreciate

thought

the

day

them would

come when I would miss sitting in the actual Lyons 442 lecture hall for four hours of consecutive lectures. However, this past year did yield some noteworthy victories.

ASDA’s

heightened

advocacy

student

efforts

awareness

and

participation in the presidential election as well as other legislative affairs such as

dental

also

licensure

reintroduced

students

a

showcasing

new

reform. The

voice

what

ASDA

Probe, and

makes

has

giving

means our

of

VCU

experience so unique!

just

the

virtual

platform,

we

are actively engaging

corner.

the

excited to participate in the upcoming

dental

District

our

in

We

for

better

Conference

Although

ASDA has taken on a

are

4

around

few.

in efforts to advocate

Despite the circumstances, big things are

a

January

and

Annual Session in February, just to name

rights interests

students

profession

whole!

and of and as

a

"We are actively engaging in efforts to advocate for the rights and better interests of dental students and our profession as a whole!" The Probe | Winter 2020-21

04


INTROSPECTION IN DENTAL SCHOOL FROM JOSHUA A. MCKOY, D2 PRESIDENT Before getting accepted into dental school, we spent our lives thinking about ourselves and how we would look to the admissions committees. school

we

spend

our

lives

Now,

in

thinking

dental about

ourselves and how we look to our patients, future

employers

and

residency

programs.

The part that I find kind of funny is that, in all of this, we still haven’t truly been thinking about

ourselves.

obsessing

over

We

how

have

others

only

may

been

view

and

perceive us. We have gotten too caught up in what we are, rather than how we are. While the former is obviously important, it certainly does not negate the importance of the latter. The only time we often think about how we are is when we are minding our own business and someone asks, “What’s on your mind? How are you feeling? Are you okay?" Unless we have programmed ourselves to give an auto-piloted answer, these are the kind of questions that force us to think about how we are. For many dental students, this is one of the few times that we are willing to think introspectively. School being stressful goes without saying. This stress is the common denominator for us all, but what may vary for us is where we find other sources of stress, how we cope with it and deal with the associated emotions. It’s so easy for us to bottle it all up, keep things to ourselves, and put on the façade that everything is OK when we believe it not to be. We all know this isn't healthy, but we still do

05

The Probe | Winter 2020-21

"All of this holds true until we have an emotional breakdown in the middle of clinic or Woolwine. We tend to leave that “check engine” light on for too long. To avoid this, we must let our own introspection become our mind’s car inspection."


STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

A U H S O J

JAN 2021

it. We deem it as necessary. We simply do not

Y O K C M

have time to ponder these things. “There’s no point.” All of this holds true until we have an emotional breakdown in the middle of clinic or

Woolwine. We tend to leave that “check engine”

N O I T C E P S O R T N I

light on for too long. To avoid this, we must let our own introspection become our mind’s car inspection. So, how is this done? The same way the ancient

Stoics

have

done

it

for

millennia:

N I

understand your emotions and come to terms

L A T N E D

with them. It’s perfectly fine to feel what you feel, but you should always ask yourself what

L O O H C S

you are going to do with those emotions once they arise. Epictetus once said, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” It’s so easy for us to let our emotions get the best of us and impact our overall mental wellbeing. suppress about

This our

how

is

especially

emotions

we

are

after

doing.

It

so

finally can

we

your car and stole your backpack? It’s OK. Of course,

thinking

there are exceptions to many things, but again, even

when

be

scary

when life doesn’t seem to be okay, in the end things tend to be OK.

sometimes. Life would not be life if it were perfect all the

Be aware of none of what I am saying is about

time. Dental school would not be dental school

suppressing or dismissing one’s own emotions, but

if it weren’t hard, now would it? Nope, and that’s

rather acknowledging and accepting them, and then

okay. I know it’s hard to say that in the heat of

applying

the moment, but when you take a step back and

centered. Try and make sure that you are always

look

aware of how you are doing regardless of what you

at

the

grand

scheme

of

things,

you

will

that

get

caught

reality.

off

Keep

guard

yourself

are

may think matters sooooo much really does not

feelings and emotions. Embrace them and decide

in the end.

what you will do with them.

that practical? It's okay. Somebody broke into

Don’t

to

realize, after all, it will all be okay. What you

You bombed that exam? It’s okay. You failed

doing.

knowledge

by

strong

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius. The Probe | Winter 2020-21

06


6,601 MILES FROM HOME WRITTEN BY TAREQ ALSARRAF, D3 Let’s go 7 years back in time to a 17-yearold, clueless, recenthigh-school-grad me, who didn't know what the future held. The idea of pursuing dentistry in the U.S. sounded very exciting yet I was unaware what exactly the process would be. During my first semester as a VCU undergraduate student, I was stunned at how much responsibility this journey required; I felt overwhelmed and lost. Like most international students, one of the many obstacles I faced was the infamous...

07

The Probe | Winter 2020-21

"Was I fully prepared for dental school?... You would be amazed at how much you are capable of!"


STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

JAN 2021

(Left to right) D3s Tuan Le, Jessica Gill, Tareq Alsarraf, Ali Alhaddad, Abdullatif Aldousari, Talal Aburezq, Haia Alabbasi

language barrier.

As a Kuwaiti international student, this was an

especially difficult barrier to overcome since most schools in Kuwait teach the material in Arabic. You can probably guess that having to relearn the material in a different language was not much fun. One of the things I learned from this experience was to never rely on Google Translate to get the Arabic definition; It can easily throw you off. Another aspect we faced, as international students, was assimilating socially and adapting to a different culture and background. university

Thankfully,

and

so

I

however,

soon

found

VCU a

is

niche

an in

extremely the

huge

diverse campus

community. I would consider the 4 years that I spent in undergrad as

a

bootcamp,

both

academic

and

social,

on

how

to

survive

dental school. Was I fully prepared for dental school? I asked myself that question so many times after I got my acceptance letter. Well, there is no right or wrong answer to it but let me tell you this: you would

be

amazed

at

how

much

you

are

capable

of!

I

still

remember when we first started gross anatomy; I thought to myself

"We tend to get blinded and overwhelmed by the number of courses and work that we need to do every day and forget about what makes all of that bearable: friendship. I can proudly say that I made life-long friends from all over the world."

how on earth will I memorize all those muscles and nerves?" I got The Probe | Winter 2020-21

08


during gross anatomy, but during our D2 year we finished 9 final exams in 5 days! Speaking of finals, pulling all-nighters with gallons of caffeine fueling your mind and adding a spark of homesickness is probably the worst feeling you can go through in dental school. You can’t imagine how much of a

backgrounds

are

all

tied

to

one

common

factor.

We

tend

to

get

blinded

and

overwhelmed by the number of courses and work that we need to do every day and forget about what makes all of that bearable: friendship. I can proudly say that I made life-long friends from all over the world. Each one of you had a unique impact on me. Speaking on behalf all the Kuwaitis, I would like to thank each one of you for making us feel welcomed and giving us a home away from home. Although

"We've come along this far— let’s make the rest of our journey count!"

we will only be together for 4 years, I hope

we

cross

paths

again

in

the

future!

To

all

of

my

international

classmates and friends who left home to pursue their dreams, I am proud of each one of you for making it this far. If you ever thought that language was a barrier, then you are doubting yourself. I still remember a time when one my friends

needed

restaurant;

now

help he’s

ordering fluently

at

a

giving

patients different treatment plans and educating them about oral hygiene. As simple

as

it

sounds,

it

shows

persistence and determination.

Class of 2022! Each

one of you is

a Rockstar. We've come along this far— let’s make the rest of our journey count! Lastly,

thank

you

VCU SoD

for

giving all of us a chance to achieve our Tareq Alsarraf and Ali Alhaddad at their White Coat Ceremony

dreams.

09

The Probe | Winter 2020-21

S E L I M

different

M O R F

from

E M O H

Looking back on D1 year, as a class, we grew on each other so much. It is strange how 103 students

1 0 6 , 6

positive effect a five-minute study break to Facetime your family can have on you!

Q E R A T

trained and adapted. We started off complaining about how much memorization needed to be done

F A R R A S L A

my answer after our first exam: you just simply do it. Your brain is like a muscle that can easily be


STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

JAN 2021

SENIOR SPOTLIGHT Our summer issue kicked off the school year with a fun Q&A from our 8 predoc GP leaders and our fall issue featured 5 of our residents. This winter issue features 3 D4s who were in a senior selective program this past fall. Let's hear more from them!

Featuring D4s Asha Tuli, Mel Savarese, and Sungmin Sohn.

Interviews by Jasmine Lee

The Probe | Winter 2020-21

10


PROBE

NOV 2020

ASHA TULI Asha M. Tuli PERIODONTICS

Fall 2020 D4 Select Student VCU SOD Class of 2021 11

The Probe | Winter 2020-21


STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

JAN 2021

ABOUT ASHA Fun Fact: I am an absolute—I love trying new recipes, eating in new restaurants, trying different ethnic delicacies, cooking, and more eating.

Advice for underclassmen: Every day is an opportunity to learn something new. Create personal goals for yourself so that you can measure how you are growing and improving as a dental student. Such goals can be increasing your speed, being more efficient or taking on more complex cases.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM What influenced your choice to apply for this program? What would you like to do after graduating dental school? I really enjoyed shadowing and assisting the perio residents my D3 year. I also had many perio patients of my own that I was able to see from the comprehensive evaluation appointment to the maintenance stage. I had many patients who had drastic improvement with their oral health just after initial therapy. I wanted to learn more about localized surgeries that I can offer for my patients if needed, which is why I chose to apply for the perio select course. After graduating dental school, I will be attending an AEGD program where I will continue performing minor periodontal surgeries. I want to be a general dentist, but I am always interested in learning ways that I can provide more options for comprehensive care for my patients.

What's the coolest thing you've been up to in your program? After doing scaling and root planing on a patient and determining that they need open flap debridement, I was able to see just how much calculus is left behind in deep pockets after initial therapy.

Any tips for the process of joining the select program? I advise you to work with the course director for the select program you are interested in during your D3 year if possible. I would also ask current select students about what specific experiences have they had so you can know if it is something you will be interested in.

The Probe | Winter 2020-21

12


PROBE

NOV 2020

MEL SAVARESE Melchior "Mel" Francis Rosario Savarese IV

ORAL AND

MAXILLOFACIAL

SURGERY

Fall 2020 D4 Select Student VCU SOD Class of 2021 13

The Probe | Winter 2020-21


STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

JAN 2021

ABOUT MEL Interesting hobby: I competed in The King of the James Triathlon this year. The race is composed of a mountain bike, trail run, and whitewater kayak in The James River Park System.

Advice for underclassmen: Work hard, take your training/education seriously, but don't forget have fun. When I made time for the things that I enjoyed, it helped me to relax and do well in school.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM What influenced your choice to apply for this program? What would you like to do after graduating dental school? As a D.5 student I had the opportunity to work in the department of OMFS; after this experience I found an interest in the field. The residents were always super well-composed, knowledgeable and friendly, serving as great role models. I have always been fascinated by surgery and medicine because of the extremely high level of skill and intellect it demands. After graduation I am pursuing a 1- year GPR with an emphasis on dentoalveolar surgery.

What's the coolest thing you've been up to in your program? Completing full mouth cases and removing boney exostosis and tori is challenging. It has been cool to increase my proficiency and speed in executing dentoalveolar surgeries. After completing my D4 requirements I look forward to spending time on call and in the OR with the residents.

Any tips for underclassmen about the process of joining the select program? If you are interested in a senior select, speak with the faculty for the select program early. They will help you figure out the steps you need to take to put yourself in the best position to be chosen as a select student.

The Probe | Winter 2020-21

14


PROBE

DEC 2020

SUNGMIN ORAL DIAGNOSTIC

SOHN Sohn Sungmin

15

The Probe | Winter 2020-21

SCIENCES CLINIC

Fall 2020 D4 Select Student VCU SOD Class of 2021


STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

JAN 2021

ABOUT SUNGMIN Fun fact: I can eat a pint of ice cream in one sitting. Advice for underclassmen:

Take it day by day—you will get there!

ABOUT THE PROGRAM What influenced your choice to apply for this program? I am interested in treating underserved populations and wanted to get better at recognizing oral pathologic lesions and learning how to manage them.

What's the coolest thing you've been up to in your program? Working with Dr. Glass and finding real-life lesions I have only seen in textbooks and watching Dr. McMahon give injections that allow patients instant pain-relief!

FIND OUT MORE about the senior selective programs available at VCU SOD by checking out resources on the Intranet, by reaching out to students in the Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 programs, and/or by reaching out to the senior selective program faculty.

The Probe | Winter 2020-21

16


HISTORIANS Eva Miller and Joanna Domson are our 2020-21 ASDA community service co-chairs.

D1 Shraddah Vachani and a quote from her letter

Thank you for the sacrifices you made and continue to make t o ensure ou r commun ity is safe and healthy. You all truly have embodied heroism. W e appreciate all that you do!

Week Long Operation Gratitude during ASDA Fever Week (Oct. 19th -Oct 23rd):

Shraddah Vachani (D1) wrote her letter to first line COVID responders. "Thank you for the sacrifices you made and continue to make to ensure our community is safe and healthy. You all truly have embodied heroism. We appreciate all that you do!"

17

The Probe | Winter 2020-21


GALLERY

JAN 2021

November Project: A

free

fitness

movement

in

Richmond, VA focused on creating a community of happy and healthy people! Workouts were every Wednesday at

yb otohP .relliM avE yb nettirW

6am at VMFA this past November.

D2s Michael Barrett and Caitlyn Cullather attending

ASDA

Ethics

.nosmoD annaoJ

November Project

Committee

Sweet Reminders: On

Halloween

our

Ethics

Committee created candy bags

for

students

with

a

surprise Starbucks card in one of the bags.

The Probe | Winter 2020-21

18


COMMUNITY SERVICE

Lynna Liao and Sofie Fazel

are our 2020-21 ASDA community service co-chairs. In November 2020, VCU dental students packed 55 cold weather kits with gloves, socks, hats and hand written letters at the ASDA Community Service event. Despite the COVID restrictions we were able to come together and help our amazing RVA community in a safe and socially distanced manner. The giant box of cold weather kits was dropped off at the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority

Written by Lynna Liao and Sofie Fazel

who distributed the kits to those in need. We were proud to be able to contribute to the cause of providing essential care to children and adults through crisis and difficult times.

19

The Probe | Winter 2020-21


GALLERY

JAN 2021

(Left) D2 Colin Smith (Above) D2s Sofie Fazel, Lynna Liao

The Probe | Winter 2020-21

20


Please submit

Dental Doodles

articles, art, or questions to Jasmine Lee, at

The Probe's Back Page

leejj10@vcu.edu.

is a publication for YOU! Catch up on the Summer, Fall, and Winter 2020-21 newsletters at:

issuu.com/vcuasda Our 2020-21 goals are: 1. to highlight moments and people at VCU SOD and 2. to share encouragements,

Send in your submissions: your story / article photos with your peers + photos of what you've been up to in dental school

reflections, and

interviews with people or topics you want to learn more about

information as we pursue

dental doodles

excellence in dentistry for

the content you would like to see more of

our patients.

"Don't give up. Great things take time!"

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The Probe Winter 2020  

The ASDA Newsletter of the VCU School of Dentistry Published January 2021

The Probe Winter 2020  

The ASDA Newsletter of the VCU School of Dentistry Published January 2021

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