A New Year’s message from the endodontics chair: Dr. Clara Spatafore

Dr. Clara Spatore, chair of the department of endodontics and interim chair of the department of oral diagnostic sciences

Happy New Year!

As my family will attest, I love New Year’s resolutions. I make them for myself every year, but I often make them for family members.  (Some have been more appreciative than others!)

I could probably use the terms “accomplishments” or “goals,” but where is the fun that? As a driven endodontist, I “resolve” to do something…….so I want attainable resolutions. Of course, “exercise more” and “lose weight” are #1 and #2, but a close #3 is to be a better citizen of the world. It’s a good fit for how I feel about the future.

Becoming a better citizen in three easy ways

  1. Reducing my ecological footprint. Why grab a plastic water bottle when there’s probably something reusable close by? The amount of plastic in our oceans is a scary prospect for the future so I’ll be cutting down on water bottles and plastic packaging in general by at least 50%.
  2. Becoming a minimalist. Do I really need another sweater, pair of pants or shoes, or another kitchen gadget? The answer is probably NO.
  3. Giving back. When I speak with residents or dental groups, I always encourage people to give back. And that starts with me.

Giving back in three easy ways

  1. Money. My father, Joe Robert Spatafore, had very little in the way of financial means, but he was probably one of the most generous people I have ever met. He believed whatever you gave away, you received something back tenfold in value. I have tried to live my life following his example. It is my resolution over this next year to do even more financially for the causes I support.
  2. Time. When I look back on my life I do not want to calculate hours spent in front of a television screen. I want to calculate what I did with my time for the benefit of others and my career, or worked toward the greater good of my family, my department, my profession, my school, my religion, or mankind. 
  3. Gratitude. Expressions of gratitude, from recognizing a job well done with a simple “thank you,” nominating a deserving individual for an award, consoling a friend, saying “good morning” to the people I pass every day. These small efforts goes a long way. So, I’ll start each and every day with a simple prayer of gratitude for all that I have been given in this crazy world.

I’m very grateful for my wonderful family, for my health, for my friends, for a profession where I can help others, relieve pain, touch the future of dental students and residents all the while earning a discernible wage.

Those are my resolutions, my goals, and things I hope to accomplish not just in 2020 but for the rest of my life. I hope that each of you have a wonderful, happy and healthy year and that each day you consider all of your blessings.

Save the Dates!

Stay engaged with your residency program! Here’s how:

Visit – I am always happy to hear from alumni, so please stop by if you are in the area.  You can just visit or spend some time with the residents.

Give back – It is that time of year to make your annual donation to the Molar Fund, the fund we use to supplement resident education and travel, the fund you benefitted from when you were a resident here at the school.

If you’ve not already done so, please consider a pledge or donation to the Dodd’s Endowment Fund or the Hartwell Endowment Fund.  Both help supplement salaries of the faculty and guarantee that endodontics will always be taught by endodontists at VCU. 

All the best to you and your family. 

Please be sure to read the latest endodontics news on the school’s website, where you’ll see the following blog posts. Be sure to search for the “endodontics” category.