Greetings to our VCU Department of Endodontics alumni and friends.  

Clara M. Spatafore, D.D.S., M.S.
Department Chair
Associate Professor
Interim Chair, Oral Diagnostic Sciences

Well, starting this off saying the world has changed since our last news update would be a huge cliché at this point in time. Here at the school we cringe every time we hear the words “new normal’ or “fluid situation.” That just means more changes are coming down the pike. Just an update on our status, the school was pretty much shut down from mid-March through mid-June. We had very little notice but immediately went to an online format for lectures and seminars for both residents and dental students. The amount of time and effort put forth by the faculty and administration to graduate competent dentists and endodontists was nothing short of Herculean. We returned to school mid-June so our residents were able to re-hone their skills and go out into practice July 1 feeling competent and able bodied.

Adapting to change

The dental school is undergoing “adaptations” as well as adjusting to constant change to make sure we are compliant with all the new required treatment and PPE modifications and regulations. All the while making sure our students have the same excellent experience in academics and clinic. It truly has been a whirlwind, we are having administrative meetings via Zoom, we wear masks while in the school, we tolerate layers of PPE while treating patients or overseeing clinic, we social distance as much as possible and we try to maintain positive attitudes and outlooks in the face of these trying times.  

Maintaining high standards

Over the 3-month closure we had weekly department meetings via Zoom. We kept up on all departmental issues as well as reported on the status of classroom work that was also being completed via Zoom. I am very proud of our faculty and part time faculty for all the work they put forth to finish out the senior select courses, academic courses, resident seminars, case reports and pre-doctoral requirements for clinics. Everyone was creative, dedicated to the task, and came up with innovative plans to recreate and maintain the high standards we live by on a daily basis when we are physically here at the school.   

Here in the VCU Department of Endodontics life is moving along at a rapid pace, we have had articles both published and accepted in the Journal of Endodontics, previous endodontic residents have passed their board exams, new residents have come on board, interviews have been completed for next year’s class, pre-doctoral classes are running on Zoom and in-person, research projects are underway, and hopefully we will all get used to wearing a mask every time we walk out our office door.

News from around the department ……

We’ve prepared several blog posts to keep you informed since we last issued our newsletter. Dr. Sameer Jain discusses current faculty research and the modifications for the graduating 2020 pre-doctoral dental students, Ryan Brown updates you on the staff and what they have been up to, you can meet our new residents, and learn about “brain fog.”

Dr. Garry Myers shows you the new world of resident education and Dr. Shawn McMahon reports on the inaugural year of the new Orofacial Pain Clinic. Dr. Aniket Jadhav shares radiology news and congratulates award winners. Speaking of awards, please congratulate the AAE Foundation, winner of the 2020 ADEAGies recognition.

On a sad note Linda Baughan (M.Ed. ‘78/E; D.D.S. ‘83/D; cert ‘93/HP; HS ‘00) decided not to return to the school after the pandemic break. She was a great addition to our team and was an outstanding educator in the pre-doctoral program here at VCU. She will be greatly missed. 

You recently received a letter and email from me asking for your support for residents and faculty through the Gary Hartwell, D.D.S., M.S., Junior Faculty Endowment in Endodontics. Don’t forget! There’s still time to help push us toward our goal. Thank you!

As Barbra Streisand says….

Like everyone this “new normal’ has been an adjustment for me. Anyone who knows me knows I am an extrovert, the classic line from the Barbra Streisand song “people who need people” certainly applies to me. Working from home on a computer all day, staring at a screen, is not my idea of a long-term life plan. I am happy to be physically back at the school, it is wonderful to interact with the students, residents and other faculty. Hopefully the beautiful city of Richmond soon comes to term with the political issues that are plaguing us at the moment and we can enjoy dinner inside a restaurant, share an evening at the home of a friend, go to a movie, or even take a walk without hoping off the sidewalk if we see someone coming in the opposite direction.

My wish is that you and your families are all safe, happy, healthy and productive.  At this time we do not have plans for an Alumni Legacy Day in the spring, but hopefully we can resume all normal activities in 2022. Please stay in touch, we love hearing from everyone.  TAKE CARE.

Categories Endodontics
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