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This week (April 24, 2020) I asked members of our “community” (faculty, staff, student, alumnus) to answer the following questions.

  • How are you balancing the “new normal”: working remotely while managing to be “at home.
  • What do you miss most about coming in to TUSDM/going to work?
  • What short reflection do you have about this health care crisis?


  1. How are you balancing the ‘new normal: working remotely while managing to be at home.’
    As a postgraduate course director, I am looking at this transition as an opportunity to explore a different format: asynchronous distance teaching (via CANVAS). Together with Dr. Noshir Mehta and Dr. Hana Sadi, we adapted the ‘Management of Complex Cases’ class accordingly. Residents are reviewing a short video and then collaborate in teams to compile evidence-based discussions to questions pertinent to the proposed clinical case. For every assignment a winning team is being selected showcasing their example answers.
  2. What do you miss most about coming in to TUSDM/going to work?
    The TUSDM family – the interaction with all colleagues (faculty, staff and students). I also miss meeting with peers from other universities and sharing best practices.
  3. What short reflection do you have about this health care crisis?
    I think this is an opportunity to test our resilience and capacity to adapt. Our field is being challenged in particular, but as dentists we are creative individuals. I am sure we will come out of this crisis stronger with innovative and well-thought solutions.”

-Dr. Irina Dragan DG15, DI19


“I miss the lively, warm atmosphere at TUSDM and personal interactions with the students, staff and faculty. I also miss my clinical endodontic practice, the fulfilment I receive from in treating and caring for patients alongside working with my clinical team. I have been balancing this new way of working at home by maintaining a routine similar to what I had before this situation by exercising early in the morning, keeping my work hours consistent with my usual schedule and creating a “hard stop” at 5pm to fully engage in family life. Our world is experiencing this pandemic together and we are all vulnerable. I have been reflecting on how vulnerability can empower us to be courageous, resilient and more empathetic to the grief and struggles of others.”

-Dr C. Pastan. D91, DG94


“As these days have been quickly, yet slowly, passing by, I have found myself overindulging in Netflix and the ever-so-popular Nintendo video game, “Animal Crossing” which was released when this pandemic was just beginning to sweep our nation. I have also taken on new hobbies such as crocheting and playing guitar and have joined a study club to go over complex cases with a small group of dental students and dentists from all throughout the country. Although we have the luxury of “Zoom” calls, I miss seeing everyone at Tufts on daily basis: the students, faculty, staff, and my patients. My group practice zoom calls is something I look forward to every Friday; it’s relieving to still be able to see everyone’s faces even if it’s only once a week. COVID-19 has unexpectedly changed everyone’s lives in the past few months, and I hope that when this is all over, we can appreciate technology for keeping us connected to our loved ones, but realize that it cannot be a replacement for personal connection.”

-Airy Choi D20


“I am trying to remain positive during this time, but I miss coming into work and seeing my coworkers, students and faculty. Working from home has been extremely difficult because I am not computer savvy. I have had to learn about zoom, WebEx, jabber and all of these different software programs. I am fortunate to have team members that help me.

I miss doing the stairs! I am gaining weight, but I really miss my coworkers and students.

My thoughts are that the covid-19 virus has kept us still. Building our family relationships to become stronger, and to appreciate that during these difficult times, so many people have lost their jobs and I thank God and I am very grateful that I still have a job!

Thank you, Dean!”

-Cheryl Coke (DA, Department of Periodontology)


“The new normal, balancing working remotely, a.k.a. working from home is hard! Because of my 2-hour commute I was up every day at 4am, I found it hard to sleep any later than that. It was frustrating because I felt like the beginning of my day was being wasted. I set a goal to turn this crisis into something good. I still get up early, around 5am, but instead of getting in the car to drive I am now training for a half marathon. I exercise and run every morning. It preps me to start the workday. I found it important to set a schedule and give myself timelines to complete projects. Trying to sit in front of the computer all day is difficult, so I have set 2-hour increments (usually one of my 5 Dogs needs a potty run by then) and then I get up, stretch and reset.

I found myself really missing my teams and my work family. We have set up zoom calls to stay in touch and just ‘see’ each other. It will be nice once we are back in the same place physically but thank goodness for today’s technology we can stay connected until then. We have even set up a Friday 5 o’clock Coffee Happy Hour call just to hang out.

Reflecting on the current situation around the world it really makes you appreciate the lives we have. The time we have to spend with loved ones and what is truly important. I hope it has made more people appreciate the healthcare workers and what they sacrifice on daily basis to help others. Everyone from first responders, doctors and nurses and the facility workers in the hospitals. They are truly heroes.”

-Nicole Wilkinson, Practice Manager 12th Floor


“They say adversity brings out the best in people – I beg to differ. For me, the past few weeks have been more about survival than self-growth. I remember why I chose to be a Pediatric Dentist. I love working with children, helping them conquer their fears of the dentist and having a successful dental visit. I sorely miss the challenge and fulfillment of a life-long career of dedication and service to others.

During the past few weeks I have alternated between going to the office where I “pretend” to work and curling up in bed with my bullmastiffs (breed of dog that looks like a pony), using impolite language, when the internet cuts out during the climax of my current Netflix binge watch.

Sometimes the dishes begin to accumulate in the sink, the laundry room overflows and the bed doesn’t get made because I need to rush out to my ‘pretend office.’ In actuality, it has become a great escape and safe haven from the 5 adult children and two dogs that have chosen to hunker down and significantly alter the calm, controlled and simple environment of an empty nester life.

My husband, Jon Golub, D’85, Tufts Ortho ’87, on the other hand, has painted the entire house (with scaffolding), mulched the entire yard, opened the pool , finished the basement and done some minor plumbing work (this house wasn’t made for 9 of us). He needs to accomplish something. I myself am satisfied with my ‘pretend office.’

Now more than ever, we are thankful for our friends and family, including our Tufts Dental family. A new highlight of our weekly routine now includes the lighting of shabbat candles and ritual blessings with our dear friend, Eli Davidyan, D’85.

I have attended one to many virtual funerals as a result of this nasty virus. It has just been heartbreaking. We here in Northern New Jersey have gotten hit very hard. Personally, I cannot wait for the day when my ‘pretend office’ can get back to its chaotic tumultuous self, filled with life, laughter and screaming children.”

-Dr. Jamie Diament-Golub, D’87

Dean Karimbux