Fiji Time!


By Elena Ebrahimian DDS 2016

Over the spring break this year, I had the unique opportunity to travel to Nadi, Fiji with 21 other dental students and 13 faculty chaperones to provide free dental care and preventive resources to the people of Moala Village. I was thrilled to be carrying on the legacy that my sister, Ariana, started when she founded this mission as a Pacific dental student in 2007 with fellow classmate Lexie Lyons and alumnus Dr. Karl Brose ‘72.

Elena (left) and Ariana (right) with a patient.

Elena (left) and Ariana (right) with a patient.

What made this trip especially meaningful was being able to share this experience with my family. After working as a dental assistant to both my father and sister in our family’s practice, I imagined the day when I could join them as a fellow doctor. This mission trip was my first experience actually practicing dentistry with my family, and it was a very special moment to me. I was very grateful to have their support, encouragement, and advice throughout the week, and enjoyed sharing in a new cultural experience with them.

As a whole group, we accomplished a great deal of dentistry.  Of the 379 patients treated, we completed 628 extractions, 751 operative surfaces, and seven root canals. Everyone worked together as a team and brought a positive attitude, which made all the difference.


One of the things that had the greatest impact on me occurred on our last day in Moala when one of the female leaders of the village described the impact we had on them, how their government recognized and appreciated the services we provided, how they saw an improvement in the health and lives of their people, and how grateful they were for our service to them. It made me realize the true magnitude of our work and how our mission trip really encompassed the seven core values of Pacific Dugoni: humanism, innovation, leadership, reflection, stewardship, collaboration and philanthropy. I feel so fortunate to have my family be a part of the larger Pacific Dugoni family, and I can’t wait to return to Moala next year as a third year trip leader to continue this tradition of service to others.

Pacific ASDA Chapter group photo

Making a Difference at the 2015 ASDA Annual Session

On February, 18-21, 29 Pacific Dugoni ASDA members traveled to Boston for the Annual ASDA Session. The weekend brings together student leaders from all 65 U.S. dental schools and includes highlights such as an exhibit fair, prominent speakers, an awards ceremony, House of Delegates meeting and elections of ASDA’s national leaders.

Pacific’s ASDA chapter president, Steve Truman ‘16, reported back on the session:

It was a pleasure to represent you at the end of February at this year’s ASDA’s Annual Session that took place this year at the historic (and snow-covered) city of Boston! This conference is the time where ASDA chapters from around the nation gather to vote on ASDA policy that aims to enhance the dental school experience and your future career in this profession. It was an exciting conference for us, and I am happy to be able to report back some of the highlights.

Steve Truman

Pacific Dugoni ASDA Chapter President Steve Truman ’16 (at right), represented the school at the House of Delegates meeting.

The most important portion of Annual Session is the House of Delegates meeting where the chapter president and vice president of each respective school comes together and votes on resolutions in a variety of areas. Here is an outline of the more important resolutions:

Education and Licensure:
Needlestick Policy:
It was brought to the attention that it may be necessary for schools to provide increased protection for students potentially exposed to infectious diseases during the course of treatment both in school and at volunteer events.

Oral Health Literacy & Evidenced-Based Dentistry
Resolved, that ASDA encourages incorporating the term “oral health literacy” into CODA accreditation standards, particularly in the standards related to prevention and public health; and be it further
Resolved, that ASDA encourages a multi-disciplinary approach to student education about oral health literacy and usage of communication techniques that are appropriate based on patient level of oral health literacy.
Resolved, that the American Student Dental Association supports dental schools’ incorporation of Evidence-Based Dentistry

ASDA research exhibit

Pacific Dugoni supports its very own Jesse Han (third from right) at the research exhibit during the Annual Session.

Membership & Professional Issues:
Resolved, that the American Student Dental Association encourages Congress to introduce and pass legislation that includes adult dental services in the federal Medicaid program. 

The American Student Dental Association supports opportunities for interprofessional education within the dental school clinical and didactic curriculum.

Thank you all for your time. It is amazing to be part of a school that already practices and teaches so many of these resolutions. If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything further, I encourage you to email me or find me in the halls or study room. If you disagree with something that was voted on please remember that this represents the collective voice and not necessarily my own beliefs. However, I would be happy to discuss the merits and or the reasoning behind of each resolutions to the best of my ability.

Pacific ASDA in costume

Pacific ASDA dressed up as The Incredibles for the superhero-themed President’s Gala.