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August in my yard signifies flowers, pollination, and lawn mowing. This year, as I approached the rock garden, I noticed the noise of the lawn mower set off a burst of bees from an underground hive. It reminded me of the kind of activity we have at TUSDM. There is a certain buzz as you walk the floors.

August was a busy month and signifies our “new beginning.” Our first-year students were settling into a new routine, busy with learning Dental Anatomy and Professionalism and Ethics (and being introduced to the concepts of health and wellness). I got to lecture the first-year students on leadership style (thank you Dr. Ragalis!), and was invited to give opening remarks to the “Women in Leadership” session for the D23s (60 percent of our D23s are women). Nancy Marks and Romina Aznavaleh (D22) challenged the attendees to look for leadership positions whilst at TUSDM. I shared statistics that more than 50 percent of applicants and enrollees at dental schools across the country are now women. I shared that at TUSDM women are well represented in leadership positions 5 chairs, 3 deans).

This month, we also welcomed our D22s back to school. This year represents the transition for them from basic sciences to the clinical sciences and an intense preclinical period where they will spend many hours in preclinical space, culminating in their exciting introduction to the clinics.

On August 23rd I greeted the D21s, who have made the recent transition into the clinic. I told them I still remember my first operative procedure (a cervical buccal amalgam on a patient who had a large tongue and “strong” cheeks and copious saliva!). I told them it was natural to feel trepidation, anxiety, and excitement. I reminded them of the faculty and staff who are committed to their clinical experiences and education. I thanked the students for caring for our patients to whom they will be forever grateful.

Unfortunately, we had to reschedule our orientation for the D20s, since they had a looming CDCA exam. This year we had 186 students take the exam—a record number. Once again, the efforts of the faculty and staff were incredible, further cementing that TUSDM is known nationally (by external student candidates and examiners) for the way that the exam is conducted and for our professionalism.

This month, our chairs and deans also had the pleasure of meeting with new leadership at the University: Mike Howard, executive vice president, and Nadine Aubry, provost and senior vice president. After her visit with us, the Provost commented: “…I was very impressed by everybody I met and the facilities I visited. The size of the operations, both for clinical care and education, is amazing, including the brand new lobby.”  I look forward in the coming year to working with the university on the opportunities and challenges we all face in higher education.

There have been many other highlights this month (too many to mention here). Some of the ones that come to mind are meeting with the Staff Advisory Council (SAC) and visiting with them at their picnic lunch; meeting students and stopping by the cultural event they hosted in Jaharis Courtyard; meeting with faculty and appreciating the passion expressed by Dr. Talberth about our volunteer faculty and their commitment to the school; and seeing patients entering the new lobby, many here as early as 7:30 AM in advance of meeting with their dental providers. And finally, more than 100 alumni attended the annual Wide-Open Golf and Tennis Tournament on August 26, which was organized by our very able Development staff. Our alumni’s passion and gratitude for what TUSDM has meant to them was on display on the golf course and tennis courts during the full-day event.

There is something about the end of August that signifies a new turning point. Days get shorter, the light shifts, shadows lengthen, days are cooler. College students descend, parents and belongings in tow. Reappearance of yellow school buses, a longer commute. TUSDM, however, remains a bee-hive of activity, and I am struck by the ethic of all our worker bees—our faculty, staff and students here to fulfil our educational, clinical, and research efforts. The buzz in my garden is something I stay away from, but the buzz created at TUSDM is awesome!


Dean Nadeem Karimbux

September 3, 2019