Category Archives: Reflections

D18 “Tooth Talks” at Castle Square Tenants Organization

The D18 class  has put together “tooth talks” at the Castle Square Tenants Organization with the goal of introducing oral health topics (hygiene, dental insurance, nutrition) to the members of the community. D18 class members engaged the community with dental jeopardy, flossing demonstrations, and a Q & A session. D18 Co-Community Service Chair Lauren Gerkowicz reflected on the event:

“The D18 Community Service Chairs have been working hard to create opportunities for the class to get intimately involved in the local community, namely through programs with the Castle Square Tenants Organization in the South End. A series of “Tooth Talks” was set up and the first seminar covered general oral health and hygiene, a flossing demo, dental jeopardy, and passing out of toothbrushes and toothpaste. A group of D18’s hosted the seminar at Castle Square, and the turnout was incredible! Over 45 residents attended and were fully engaged in the presentation. The next talk will cover dental insurance and we’re hoping for even more class and CSTO resident involvement. Through these interactive seminars, Tufts dental students get to connect with individuals in our neighborhood in a very meaningful way.”

D19s Volunteer at Urban Edge

Last week the D19 class volunteered with Urban Edge, an organization based around helping families in need. Their main aim is in construction of affordable housing, but they also want to strengthen communities and families through their housing. They put on a few events each year and one of the events is the Thanksgiving Turkey Drive. Volunteers from the D19 class were welcomed to attend to help out on this busy day for the community. Abby Manzella (D19) had this to say:

“We had an overflow of students wanting to donate their time but we had to narrow it down to ourselves and three others based on their interest and timely responses. We set up a table at the event with a jeopardy board and different oral care pamphlets. The five of us switched off between working at the table and checking people in. We were blown away by the interest and incredible reactions we were getting from the attendees. The children LOVED the monkey and had to get in line to brush his teeth because they were all so antsy! The older kids and adults loved the jeopardy game and many did multiple questions. Everyone had a blast and we hope that next year we can go back and bring a bigger group of our classmates!! One of the best parts of the evening was when an older woman was complaining about her teeth and Gilbert was able to help translate a pamphlet for her and instruct her to call Tufts to be seen by a pre-doctoral student. She then said that us being there was ‘a blessing in disguise’. It was a wonderful evening for all of us.”

Robert Geary (D18) Reflects on Lecture Given By Dr. Paul Farmer

 Paul Famer Talk (1)On November 4th D18s Lauren Gerkowicz, Mary Keezel, Kevin Campbell, Hannah Cook and I attended a talk by Dr. Paul Farmer at Boston University.  For those that don’t know, Dr. Paul Farmer is considered by many to be one of the foremost experts on public health.  He has a Medical Degree and a PhD in Anthropology from Harvard University; and is trained in the fields of infectious diseases and internal medicine.  He is one of the founders of Partners in Health, has numerous accolades, and has been instrumental in bringing quality healthcare to nations around the globe. His talk was titled “ The Current Status of Global Health.”

Continue reading Robert Geary (D18) Reflects on Lecture Given By Dr. Paul Farmer

D17s at the Special Olympics

SpecialOlymSeveral weeks ago, the D17s headed out to the Special Olympics Massachusetts State Soccer Tournament in Byfield, MA. At the event, there were over 800 athletes competing the tournament. D17 class members set up a table and provided oral hygiene instructions to event participants and their families. They also provided dietary instructions to help prevent dental decay. D17 Community Service Chair Mike Arrigo reflected on the event:

SO2“We really learned the importance of engaging with the community and the importance of having people see us outside of the office, in a non-threating, fun enviornment. It is a great way to help build trust between the dental community and the community at large. We really enjoyed our experience and hope to continue going back to this event in the following years.”

Micheline Moini (D18) and Sandy Lor (D19) Reflect on the Albert Schweitzer Leadership Conference



“On Saturday, October 24th, 2015, I attended a Leadership Conference on behalf of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.  The day long event incorporated a number of lectures, including: Pipelines: How to Get More Underrepresented Minorities Into Healthcare/Medicine by Dr. John K. Su, M.D., M.P.H.; Adventures of a Healthcare Provider from Dentist to Activist by Dr. Abdullaibrahim Abdulwaheed B.S.ChE, D.M.D., M.B.A., A.B.G.D., M.A.G.D., F.A.A.H.D.; and Marketing Bootcamp: How to Share your Story, Gain Media Attention, and Reach Donors by Skye Schulte, M.S., M.P.H. Each lecture touched on an array of topics in the wide spectrum of leadership. The first lecture focused primarily on ways to get more minorities exposed to healthcare at various levels of education. The second lecture featured Dr. Abe discussing how he has been successful in the dental profession by primarily focusing on the community and the patient as a whole. The final lecture was a reflection to remember that dentists are also running a business, in addition to their clinical practice, and need to know how to market themselves properly. Ms. Schulte was able to delve into the marketing world and how to lure target populations to your company. I met a ton a great people at this conference and had the opportunity to learn more about the fellowship itself and its founder. I am grateful and appreciative to have been honored to attend this conference and look forward to be able to work with the program in the future.”     ~Micheline Moini (D18)

“The 2015 Schweitzer Leadership Conference Reflection was such a refreshing conference to attend. While in dental school, we are so busy constantly studying for exams or working on projects to beat deadlines, we often lose sight of why we began this dental journey.  Attending the conference helped remind me that after we graduate we will be leaders in our own practice and also in our communities. One of the speakers from the conference talked about his journey from being a poor dental student, to opening his own private dental practices, onto becoming involved with policy and advocating for his patients. He stressed that not only are you providing care, you also become a voice for your patients; and it is part of your duty to effect change and advocate for your patients’ needs through meeting with politicians. Another speaker reminded us that you don’t need to be a hero to make change. This idea resonated with me because often times I find myself questioning what I will realistically be able to do as a dentist and an active citizen to promote oral health in the community. I realized that I will have to take everything one step at a time. Every little thing we do individually will make a huge impact collectively. Being in a room with so many like-minded professionals with overwhelming positive energy influenced me to aim to be a more active member of my community and to always give back.”                                                           ~Sandy Lor (D19)

Student Leadership Dinner and Training a Great Success!


Twenty-five student leaders spent a fast and fun two hours talking and thinking through the many aspects of what it means to be a leader with Mindy Nierenberg (from Tufts’ Tisch College) and Nancy Marks. While munching on a dinner of chicken parmesan and pesto tortellini, folks dialogued in pairs and then as a group, about how to be an effective leader using verbal and non-verbal skills. Students were asked to think about leadership both as student leaders at TUSDM and in the future as a dentist.

The group was then divided into teams of 5 and given the same materials—4 cups, a bowl, 7 sticks, tape and two rolls of paper. The assignment was to spend five minutes planning how you would build a 5-foot tower. After the planning time, groups were given 5 minutes to build it… with the building done in silence. The room went from a cacophony of noise to a room so quiet all you could hear was tape bring ripped to laughter when time was called. Participants were asked to reflect on what happened as a group, as well as their own participation in terms of when they ‘led’ and when they ‘followed’.

Some participant quotes:

  • “The leadership workshop was a fun and collaborative experience that demonstrated diverse leadership strategies including the importance of both verbal and nonverbal communication techniques that are beneficial in effectively managing teams and groups of people in many situations we may face as students, clinicians, and members of the community.” – Ben
  • “The activities at the leadership dinner allowed me to measure the strength of my voice as a leader and it also showed me areas that I could improve on.” – Tracy
  • “This training reminded me that learning to be a leader is a continual process, and I will likely never feel I have finished.” – Courtney
  • “The leadership dinner/training was a great way for me to realize other ways in which leadership can be gained. I learned through one exercise that sometimes non-verbal communication needs to be done in order to reach an overall positive outcome. Mindy Nierenberg offered great advice that leadership can be created and developed over time as opposed to “being born a leader.” – Micheline
  • “This was one of the best leadership trainings I’ve ever been to. It was a lot of fun and helpful at the same time. I love that it was so interactive instead of just a presentation.” – Aekta
  • “I learned that being a leader mean being a good listener and having good judgment when it comes to compromising. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you listen to each other and work together.” – Sandy
  • “Teamwork is the foundation for success!” – John
  • “Regardless of our backgrounds, we are still a part of one community. As such, we can set aside  our differences and work in harmony towards improving that community. – Hammad
  • “I came to better understand that a leader does not need to always be the loudest and most outspoken in the room, but rather someone that can make those around them better without them being aware.”          – Ramin
  • “It was a refreshing experience and I enjoyed Mindy’s facilitation of both the discussions and activities. I came away with a new view on how to work in a group/team setting. I learned that regardless of what leadership styles are present in a group their success is based on how you as an individual communicates with them and how the team will utilize everyone’s strengths.”  – Jackie


Cristina Kendall (D17) Reflects on ASDA-ADEA Predental Day at Tufts!

ASDA-ADEA Predental Day gives Tufts an opportunity to showcase its facilities, faculty, staff, and students to prospective dental students. We made a great impression on almost 100 attendees from New England and the Tri-State area.

We kicked off the morning with presentations about ADEA by Kathleen Molgaard and ASDA by Neil Patel and myself. Then the predentals went to preclin for wax-ups and sim clin for amalgam fillings. This was the big hit of the day with our guests, according to our exit survey. Thanks to all the D18 volunteers who assisted our visitors, as well as Robbie Russell, Sahar Mostafavi, Olivia Rudnicki, and James Assad for the demonstrations; and to Dr. Arsenault, Dr. Papathanasiou, Dr. Saksena, and Dr. Leader for supervising these hands-on workshops. The preclinical sessions gave “…a great impression of what dental school is like [at Tufts],” wrote one predental. Another wrote, “It was really nice that you gave us the opportunity to do the wax[-up] and filling. Everyone was super-friendly and the day here made me very excited to apply to Tufts.”

During lunch, the predentals had time to mingle with student volunteers. In the afternoon, they listened to presentations from Admissions and Financial Aid — Melissa Friedman, Gillian Anzivino, Danielle Christie, and Sandra Pearson. Afterwards, the D18 volunteers gave tours. One predental wrote in the exit survey, “I’m afraid this tour has ruined any other school I may have considered.” We concluded with a question-and-answer panel made up of dental students from all class years. It was a great event, summed up by one of our survey responses, “The student volunteers were so helpful and informative. I
really got a good feel for student life and education.”

Cristina Kendall
ASDA Tufts D17 Representative
ASDA District 1 Membership Chair