-By Benjamin Smith (D19)
Wow, what a year! On behalf of the D19 class, I would first like to thank all of the faculty, staff, and administration at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM) that worked with the D19 class this past year. You made our transition to dental school as seamless as possible and a truly inspiring experience. First year dental students face unique challenges regardless of their backgrounds, whether it be in didactic courses, clinical, hands on work, or personal matters. Whenever these challenges occur, it has been comforting to know we have outstanding professors, clinical instructors, deans and administration who are there to lead us in the right direction. As D19s, we have also learned that we are advancing through dental school collectively, elevated by our support for each other.
I would also like to welcome the D20s to TUSDM! We are thrilled to have you on board, and have already heard so many great things about your class. Soroush and Meghana will take great care of you. Know that our whole class will be there as mentors, colleagues, and friends. I hope we can provide you all with as much foresight as the upperclassmen did for us, to make your first year enjoyable and successful. Be proactive. Use us as a resource; we have been in your shoes just a short time ago. The D16s, D17s, and D18s have proven to be invaluable to us, and we appreciate their mentorship and friendship. We are anxious to do the same for you.
D20s, the first part of our journey, like others before us, began in Dental Anatomy with Dr. Falzone last August and ended with Immunology and Basic Human Pathology this summer. There is a reason she is “Mama Falzone;” she will take such great care of your class like she has done for all prior classes. You will realize that you are receiving your foundation for dentistry in the Dental Anatomy course from the very best. Before you know it, you will be taking more classes than you realized; Gross Anatomy, Biochemistry, Nutrition, and Operative Dentistry begin. You will learn the value of balance. At first, it may seem impossible to accomplish your duties in the Gross Anatomy lab, prepare and mount an articulator so you can produce a functional wax up of maxillary incisors and mandibular molars in proper occlusion, while simultaneously getting ready for your first operative practical, an occlusal prep on #30. And don’t forget, you have a nutrition project and a Biochem exam on lipids and amino acids (Do not forget about the amino acids!). Like us, you will realize that you can excel and experience a well-rounded, highly satisfying lifestyle in Boston, the greatest city in the world (Go Pats!).
In the midst of your fall course load, you will earn your white coat with your classmates. This day will emphasize the camaraderie you and your new friends have already created, and you will share this proudly with your families and loved ones. You will experience a vision of the light at the end of the tunnel when you put your arms through your fresh new coat, and take a photo with Dean Thomas. In a flash, we were celebrating the conclusion of our first semester and the holidays at Venu with all of our classmates.
Many members of our class kicked off 2016 with a ski trip to Vermont with the D18 class. Everyone was welcomed back from a well-deserved December break to Semester 2, which included our first Medicine course with Dr. Ganda in addition to Histology, Physiology, Microbiology/Oral Health Promotions, and the continuation of Operative Dentistry. January to April was our biggest challenge in regard to time management; we worked very hard to learn as much as we possibly could about antibiotics and anesthetics and everything else Dr. Ganda discussed in lecture (literally everything), while performing our first composite and amalgam restorations, in addition to hours of Histology slides, Physiology concepts, and completing our OHP hours. Our biggest take away up to this point was to embrace the process; you will be excited about how much you are learning and how much Tufts will become home. And again, between the exams and endless hours in PreClin, we still had fun. We shared more great times with the D18 class at Frog Pond for ice skating in early February. We also celebrated the completion of the 2nd semester with a class event at Jillian’s near Fenway Park for bowling, ping pong, and a great evening out. And finally, we held our Halfway to Halfway Party at the top of the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge with a view of the Boston skyline. It is always special and uplifting to see our class come together and simply enjoy each other.
Amidst all our academic commitments, we have an undying commitment to Tufts and the Greater Boston communities. The D19 family is blessed with leaders and builders of communities that, together, have provided countless opportunities to support others. Our community service liaisons, Jacqueline Liu and Abigail Manzella, are the standard setters for our community involvement. The community service committee has hosted and participated in more than a dozen events, including volunteering with Urban Edges’ Turkey Drive during Thanksgiving, creating an oral thrush pamphlet, and holding a craft and sip night. The committee is particularly proud of designing and executing two nutrition and oral health education programs, one specifically geared towards the older adult community and one for the Cardinal Medeiros Center. Jacqueline, Abigail, and the community service team are planning two new projects this year: hosting a step-a-thon challenge in which group practices will compete among each other to raise money for community service projects and adopting a family during the holiday season through ABDC. Jackie and Abby have expressed their deepest gratitude to all of their classmates and the administration who have volunteered on behalf of their programs and events. We are also extremely fortunate to have Pouya Namiranian who is the technology/media/Dental Central liaison for our class, ensuring that all of our course materials are organized and readily accessible and major class and community service events are posted.
I would personally like to thank the rest of the D19 Eboard for all of their efforts this past year. The Eboard works daily with the faculty and administration to instill positive change for our class and keep our morale high, even during the toughest of times. Our Vice President, Ramin Movafaghi always has a big smile; his enthusiasm and positive energy is contagious throughout TUSDM. Nari Park, our Secretary, maintains a constant level of focus and an uncanny attention to detail keeping our class organized and prepared. The D19 Treasurer, John Calabrese, manifests a unique commitment to all aspects of Tufts life, while managing fundraising and finances for our class budget. We have been able to raise money for our class through our Custom TUSDM and Jumbo socks (we still have more!) and will be starting new fundraisers for class events and community service this fall.
The next chapter of our dental school adventure has already begun with Introduction to the Patient II. Most of the D19s will have taken the NBDE Part I this summer. We know Year 2 will present its own challenges, but we will continue to push forward together. In less than one year, we will be in the clinic treating our first patients. Our class continues to learn how to manage dental school life, but we take pride in being D19s at Tufts. We look forward to continue sharing more highlights with the TUSDM community, and are truly grateful to be a part of the Tufts family.
Benjamin Smith, D19 Class President