Pacific Dugoni ASDA Leaders Reflect on Leadership in Dentistry

Student leaders from Pacific’s ASDA Chapter traveled to Chicago for the ASDA National Leadership Conference held on October 31 – November 2. They joined more than 500 dental students from across the country for a weekend of personal and professional development. Read their reflections on lessons from the conference, leadership in dentistry and why ASDA matters.

Pacific Dugoni ASDA representatives at the NLC Conference.

Pacific Dugoni ASDA representatives at the NLC Conference.

“This experience has reinforced the idea that ethics is the foundation on which dentistry stands. We must always remember that open communication and leading a fair business practice will allow us to be the successful business owner we all strive to be.”
 – Leesa Ching, DDS 2016, Webmaster Co-Chair

“We have the right to be our own business owner. Don’t let someone tell you, ‘We can handle the business, and you focus on treating.’ Don’t be afraid to take the risks, just learn from every decision you make.”
 – Veeraj Patel, DDS 2016, Treasurer

“I learned that there is a real need for ASDA and that I can have a voice when it comes to policy-making. It was interesting to know that I can help influence the state and rules of my profession.”
 – Deanna Lee, DDS 2016, Pre-Dental Co-Chair

‘“Listening intensely is a far more valuable skill than speaking immensely.’ This quote really struck a chord for me at NLC. Being a great leader isn’t about getting others to conform to your ideals; it’s about listening to your peers and gaining a better understanding of their needs so you can better serve them.”
 – Rosemary Tran, DDS 2016, Ideal ASDA Co-Chair

The students had the opportunity to explore Chicago and visit famous landmarks.

The students had the opportunity to explore Chicago and visit famous landmarks.

“After experiencing ASDA’s National Leadership Conference, I can attest to the level of professionalism and involvement we have here at Pacific. If we can incorporate the many aspects of organized dentistry we have learned to our practices here at Pacific, obtaining an “Ideal” ASDA will be within our grasps.”
 – Joey Meade, DDS 2016, Legislative Liaison

“Meeting people from different dental school made me realize there are many individuals who have a same goal in their minds: provide the best care for patients. I was able to gain positive energy from this event by interacting with many passionate and ambitious dental students.”
 – Jeong Yun, DDS 2016, Community Outreach Chair

“Advocacy isn’t just important, it’s vital. Policy has the potential to support us as practitioners or detract from our profession as a whole – it’s really up to us to decide how that works. Optimism and unity are keys to help ensure the former. Voting is the motion.”
 – Richard Ly, DDS 2017, First Year Legislative Liaison

“The keynote speeches of each day were both eye-opening and inspiring. Researcher Vanessa Van Edwards’s speech, “Body Language for Dentists,” taught me how to apply non-verbal and body language in patient care, while nonprofit organization Pencils of Promise’s founder, Adam Braun, reminded me of the importance and possibility of bringing positive social changes as a dentist.”
 – Ruidan Ma, DDS 2017, Vice President

The Pacific ASDA team celebrates Halloween during the conference. We are TRON!

The Pacific ASDA team celebrates Halloween during the conference. We are TRON!

“One characteristic of a leader that I tend to overlook is the importance of being able to effectively praise and compliment my (well-deserving) teammates and colleagues when they complete a task well. This is a valuable trait as a leader because one can powerfully motivate others by giving genuine encouragement and showing appreciation for their hard work.”
 – Leeann Chu, DDS 2016, Webmaster Co-Chair 

“With graduation looming around the corner, NLC also provided a great source of information on what to expect and how to handle various situations after dental school, from budget-friendly marketing strategies to making business-savvy decisions.”
  – Kowthemi Murugapoopathy, IDS 2015, IDS Representative 

“A gathering of students who care about their profession is an awesome sight to behold. This past weekend has been a fun ride of meeting new friends, seeing old ones and listening to great speakers. It was a feast of learning how to improve oneself and Pacific. This was an event that I left energized to do better.”
 – Steve Truman, DDS 2016, Chapter President

making our mark

A Political Perspective

How do dentistry and politics intersect? The Pacific Dugoni Chapter of the Academy of General Dentistry recently invited alumnus Dr. Joel Strom ’79 to speak with the Pacific Dugoni dental community on how dentists have an opportunity to enhance their career through political involvement. Dr. Strom is a former California State Dental board president and president of Strom Political Strategies. After graduating from University of the Pacific’s School of Dentistry in 1979, he completed a National Institute of Health Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Human Nutrition at Columbia University. In addition to practicing general dentistry in the greater Los Angeles area, he has served as course director for ethics at USC’s School of Dentistry and as president of the Western Los Angeles Dental Society. Dr. Strom also founded Dentistry United for WWII Vets.

AGD Political Perspective photo

During his visit, Dr. Strom discussed points of intersection between dentistry and politics, and explained how he got involved in political issues while just starting out in his career. Issues such as malpractice rates, changes in healthcare laws, student loans and taxes all affect the lives of dental professionals. Dentists have specialized knowledge about the healthcare industry that puts them in the prime position to make a difference in their community by taking leadership roles at all levels of politics – including professional dental organizations.

At Pacific Dugoni, students are constantly challenged to engage with their communities to be forces of positive change. Our clubs and organizations offer events that give students an opportunity to learn from seasoned professionals as they share perspectives on different ways dentists can use their talents in society. Many thanks, Dr. Strom, for sparking conversation on these timely topics at our school!