Building student involvement, fostering civic engagement and enhancing community service to advance public health. 

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Though postponed due to an earlier snow storm, this year’s Women in the Clinic Leadership Forum, was an amazing event thanks to our exceptional leader – rock star organizer Jackie Liu (D19)! With much support from Dean Thomas, Student Affairs and the Dept. of Public Health, the dinner event focused on empowering women to take leadership roles in the clinic, and also covered both rewards and the pitfalls surrounding this goal.

Highlights abound, including an impassioned call by Dr. Hanlon to become the next generation of female leaders in organized dentistry to remember that “patients are not points…and to be committed to their care every day.”  Following Dr. Hanlon, Student Affairs Director Katherine Vosker explained the rights that students have in the clinic and who to go to in case of any uncomfortable incidences.

The evening continued with an amazing panel of D17s who shared their experiences and offered tips and wisdom for all the remaining female students. A special shout out to the fabulous D17 panelists: Poorna Phaltankar, Crista Fantone, Anna Bak, Brittany Bressler and Mansi Jailwala. The Q&A panel was moderated by Nancy Marks, and topics included gender issues, the interconnection between community work and clinic work, how to become a TA, assumptions about race, balancing didactic learning with clinic life and applying for jobs.

The panel was then followed by round table discussions on a range of interactions that happen in clinical settings. Through laughter and some tears, a safe space was surely created for women to ask and answer any questions in mind.

Some highlighted words of wisdom from our panelists include:
·      Don’t internalize people’s sexism—Stand up for yourself—you have a right to your voice and career!
·      Doing community work reminds you of your initial passion/reason for choosing dentistry
·      Just because you’re shy doesn’t mean you can’t be a leader!
·      Keep track of your points and create lists!
·      Utilize your “Bigs” to make a seamless transition into the clinic
·      Read your emails!
·      Remember that when you are interviewing for a job, you are also interviewing those interviewing you!
·      Know what you want and ask for it!
·      Make good relationships with faculty members
·      Learn to ask questions
·      Don’t let patients rush you
·      Keep granola bars in your locker and drink lots of water (:

Thanks again to Jackie Liu; committee members Dianne Luu (D19), Nari Park (D19), Mia Russo (D19), and Katherine Tan (D19); and faculty advisors Karen Alexander and Nancy Marks for putting together a powerful and memorable evening. For those who attended this and past Women in Leadership events, an opportunity to join the planning committee is coming soon – keep your eyes out for the e-mail!

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