Friends and family cheered as the A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) class of 2011 entered the Ikeda Theater at the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Ariz., for commencement ceremonies on Saturday, June 11.
The 59 members of ATSU-ASDOH’s fifth graduating class received their Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) degree, eight of whom also received a Master in Public Health (M.P.H.) through ATSU’s School of Health Management (SHM). In addition, four postgraduate orthodontic program residents received their Doctor of Health Sciences (D.H.Sc.) degree.
According to ATSU-ASDOH Dean Jack Dillenberg, D.D.S., M.P.H., ATSU-ASDOH’s class of 2011 has a high percentage of graduates going to practice in community healthcare settings. Of the graduates going directly into practice, 65 percent are choosing community settings to serve the underserved. Nine are going into active military. “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.
Another significant fact regarding the class of 2011 is the number of graduates going into postgraduate training programs. Thirty-eight students – more than ever before – will be going into residency programs across the country. Andrea Livingood, a 2011 graduate, will be doing a pediatric residency in San Antonio. Of her experience at ATSU-ASDOH she said, “I loved my days at ATSU-ASDOH, and I am ready for the next step in my journey. I have been prepared well through ATSU-ASDOH’s program.”
ATSU President Jack Magruder presented an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to two individuals who were also keynote speakers at the graduation. Stanley M. Bergman, C.P.A., chair of the board and CEO of Henry Schein, Inc., and Christopher Halliday, D.D.S., M.P.H, chief of staff to the United States Surgeon General, were presented with the honor.
Bergman spoke to the graduates about the importance of being open to new technology to being involved in community and being open to a global perspective and leadership. He added that “ATSU-ASDOH has positioned you more than any other institution to impact social responsibility. You are graduating from one of the most unique institutions in the nation that has at its heart community service.”
“ATSU-ASDOH is worthy for many reasons including leading the way in working with Alaskan and American Indian underserved populations,” said Dr. Halliday. He encouraged students to be proud of their alma mater that has brought in “a new generation of providers who are consistently focused on serving the underserved.”