Profiles in Courage

Nader A. Nadershahi, Dean

After finalizing this issue, we received the sad news about the passing of Dr. Arthur A. Dugoni ’48 on September 23, at the age of 95. Please see the inside front cover for the link to a special In Memoriam website. We held a virtual celebration of life on Saturday, December 12 for all members of the Dugoni School family and dental profession. Our spring issue of Contact Point will be dedicated to the life, legacy and impact of Dr. Dugoni—a teacher, friend, mentor and inspiration to us all.

As I reflect on recent months of what the Dugoni School and our society have gone through—and all that is ahead of us—one of the values that comes to mind is courage. 

Courage, woven into the fabric that supports our humanistic education, is one of our core values. Courage involves taking risks—doing what is right, not just what is easy. It took courage to step out of our comfort zones to deliver our dental curriculum in new ways and to learn the new infection control protocols in the clinics as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It took courage to find new ways to communicate, shop for groceries and other essentials, exercise and perform other daily activities behind our face coverings using our sanitizer-scented hands. It took—and continues to take—courage to handle the daily news and stay strong physically and mentally while facing this pandemic.

As the Dugoni School navigated through the uncertainties of the past several months, many of our other qualities also shone through. In this issue, you will read how the Dugoni School family rallied to make sure our graduates became licensed by hosting our first simulation-based WREB exam. You will see examples of our crisis management in action and learn more about how so many individuals showed their leadership in such challenging times.

The story of the pandemic is far from over. However, we will build a better future and emerge even stronger than before. We are embracing innovation in teaching, patient care and our use of technology. We are pursuing research opportunities to understand the pandemic’s impact on oral health. We are reshaping the curriculum to prepare graduates to lead in the evolution of oral health care.

The Dugoni School of Dentistry family is strong, resilient and courageous. Our commitment to excellence and a world-class dental education remains at the forefront. A pandemic tried to get in our way, but our family rose to the challenge by harnessing their courage. I have never been prouder of being a part of this great organization.

“Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.”

—Nader A. Nadershahi ’94, MBA, EdD