This past November, when smoke-filled air poured into the San Francisco Bay Area from the Camp Fire in Butte County, California, our school was forced to cancel clinic sessions and close our operations for two days due to the toxic air quality. Our disruption at the school, while inconvenient, was nothing compared to what was occurring in the fire-ravaged areas, where homes and offices were destroyed, lives were forever changed and entire towns were burned off the map, including the community of Paradise.
This issue of Contact Point examines the impact of the California fires on local communities through the eyes of dental professionals who survived the disasters. Our hearts go out to all who were impacted. As devastating as the conflagrations have been, these communities are showing their resilience as they take steps towards their “new normal” in the face of tragedy.
We also take a look at the changing face of dentistry in this issue. These changes are reflected in our student body. For example, our newest DDS class includes more female students than male. And our students have a growing interest in diversity and inclusion activities, as demonstrated by some of the many initiatives and events hosted by student organizations on campus.
Creativity is also on display in this issue. When they are not practicing dentistry, some of our alumni, residents and students have used their artistic talents to illustrate and/or author books for children and young adults.
We hope your spring is off to a positive start and that whatever ups and downs you may experience, your year is filled with growth and resilience.
Nader A. Nadershahi ’94, DDS, MBA, EdD