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Friends and family cheered as the A.T. Still University Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) class of 2012 entered the Comerica Theater in Phoenix, Ariz., for commencement ceremonies on Friday, June 8.

The 68 members of ATSU-ASDOH’s sixth graduating class received their Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree, 23 of whom also received a Master in Public Health (MPH) through ATSU’s School of Health Management (SHM). In addition, three postgraduate orthodontic program residents received their Doctor of Health Sciences (DHSc) degree.

Said ATSU-ASDOH Inaugural Dean Jack Dillenberg “We are proud of this extraordinary class, and are looking forward to the contributions that they will make in the communities where they choose to practice and serve,” he said.

A significant fact regarding the class of 2012 is the that six graduates are American Indian, which  is believed to be the largest number of American Indians to graduate from any U.S. dental school at one time. “I believe this is probably going to be a high-water mark for some time,” said George Blue Spruce, associate dean at the dental school and co-founder of the Society of American Indian Dentists. All six graduates plan to work with American Indian populations, such as those on reservations or at clinics affiliated with the national Indian Health Service.

ATSU President Jack Magruder presented an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Ronald F. Pollack, Esq., executive director of Families USA, the national organization for healthcare consumers. Families USA’s mission is to achieve high-quality, affordable health coverage and care for everyone in the country.  Mr. Pollack was also the keynote speaker at the graduation.

Pollack spoke to the graduates about the importance of being a part of the solution for the medically uninsured and under insured. “My wish for you as you launch into your careers is to be a part of fixing the problem of uninsured in this country,” said Pollack. “I urge you and challenge you to think of what you will do to improve oral healthcare for people across the country.”


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The 1st Annual Clinical Presentation Curriculum (CPC) Proceedings was held June 9 on the ATSU Mesa campus. The event was sponsored by the newly formed Clinical Presentation Curriculum – Learning, Education & Research Community (CLEAR).  CLEAR is a group of medical educators interested in facilitating and implementing the clinical presentation-based medical education model.

“Given that many medical schools throughout the world have implemented or are considering implementing the CPC, we hosted what was (to our knowledge) the first Proceedings on the CP model,” said Gene Winfield, DO, assistant professor, ATSU-SOMA and chair, CLEAR committee.

The goals of the Proceeding were to facilitate a connected community of interested faculty in the CPC, to discuss important elements of the CPC and share individual challenges and solutions to these widespread issues, and to develop a shared repository of information on the CPC.

Keynote speaker at the event was Dr. Douglas Wood, ATSU senior vice president-academic affairs.  He encouraged participants to read Educating Physicians, by Cooke, Irby and O’Brien, in celebration of the Beyond Flexner report. “One of the four major areas of U.S. medical education which the authors found deficient was in the area of integration,” said Dr. Wood. “Their definition of integration was bringing together the basic sciences, the clinical sciences, and the social sciences across the model. I think that is what the CPC does.”

Approximately 50 medical national and international educators attended the Proceedings. For more information on CPC and the event, visit www.cpc-clear.org.

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The SOMA class of 2012 enjoyed a night of awards, dinner, and dancing at the second annual Innovator’s Gala, held on June 7 at the Sheraton Hotel in Phoenix, Ariz.

The gala, which was attended by 340 guests, took place the night before graduation and allowed the students to spend time with their peers, SOMA faculty, staff, and their Community Health Campuses (CHCs).

A tribute video was created for the graduating class and can be seen here.


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ATSU-ASDOH held its fifth annual Founders’ Ball on June 7 at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Ariz.

All students from the class of 2012, along with one guest, were invited to attend the black-tie formal, reception, and dinner. The night included remarks by ASDOH’s dean, the presentation of the student-made DVD yearbook, and lots of dancing.

The ball, which was attended by 317 guests, is primarily funded by sponsorship, and this year consisted of five Gold-level sponsors ($2,500), eight table sponsors ($2,000), and 16 Friends of ASDOH ($100-$1,999).

The event originated in 2007 as a way to honor ASDOH’s Founding Member donors and celebrate the School’s first graduating class.

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  • Missouri National Student Leadership Award:  Jinlin Wang, OMS II
  • Missouri Gaber-Martin Honorary Student Fund:  Katherine Milam, OMS I, Alison Nelson, OMS I
  • Missouri Flight 5966 Student Compassion Award:  Alex Swan, OMS II, Michael McGrew, second-year BioMed student
  • Distinguished Organization Award for Service & Performance:  Biomedical Sciences Club, Sigma Sigma Phi
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