Greetings to all alumni on the occasion of our beloved alma mater’s 95th Foundation Day!
The event was held last February 5, 2010 at the UPCD auditorium. This year’s celebrating jubilarians were class 50, class 60 (Diamond), class 70 (Golden), class 75 (Pearl) and the host class, Class 85 (Silver). It was an SRO affair, and I am happy to report that the following came: Dr. Alegria Zita Class 1950), Dr. Sofronio San Juan (Class 1952), Dr. Jose Francisco (Class 1958), Dr Natividad Gervasio (Class 1964), Dr. Aurelio Ramos (Class 1949), Dr. Leticia Guerrero (Class 1961), Dr. Eleuteria Marquez (Class 1961), among others. The event started with a mass graced by the Chancellor of UP Manila, Dr. Ramon Arcadio, and the members of the Chancellors’ Management team. Dr. Arcadio gave his message, which was then followed by the lectures of 3 members of Class 85 namely, Dr. Cristina Conanan, Dr. Malloy Sembrano and Dr. Joy Lua. In the afternoon, the UPDAA election for Board of Directors and President-elect was held. Dr Arnon Rivera (Class 1989) is the President for 2010-2012. In the evening, we had the student-organized “Dent Cirque”, a variety show featuring students and faculty alike. It was indeed a very memorable day for everyone.
My appointment as the Dean of the UPCD started January 1, 2010. This being a new administration, I would like to briefly share with you my flagship projects for the College for the next three years. You, our beloved alumni, would then know exactly how you can help our alma mater.
The first of these is to refocus everyone to academics in order to improve the graduation rate. The administration, the faculty, the students and the nonacademic personnel will concentrate their time and energy on the graduation problem. There are many reasons why our students do not graduate on time, and contributory factors include shortage of materials and lack of equipment due to an insufficient budget. The alumni can help by donating in cash or in kind. Many of you have donated in the past and we thank you for your donations. I have a list of the equipment we need, including their cost, and I will gladly share this with anyone who would like to help. I know there are a lot of you out there. We are appealing for your continuous support.
On our part, we have instituted the following measures to increase our financial resources:
1.We have proposed increases in lab fees and clinical fees, with the necessary justification.
2.We will improve collection of clinical fees by having our own special collecting officer or cashier so that collection of fees will be more efficient.
3.We will soon offer more continuing education courses. Currently, Dr. Armin and Dr. Michelle Segarra (Class 1986 and 1991, respectively) are planning an 8-day course on restorative and esthetic dentistry.
4.We will actively promote our board orientation center. We will take advantage of the very good results of the latest dental board exam where 6 graduates landed in the top ten. Dr. Susan Sotelo (Class 1985) is currently working on a really flashy but professional looking flyer that we will send to the deans of the different dental schools, personally if possible. Dr. Joyce Angeles (Class 1985) has donated reviewers, and I hope others will follow suit.
Another factor is the shortage of faculty members in the clinics and preclinical laboratory courses, like Resto and FPD. We cannot hire additional faculty members as there are no more faculty items available to the College. Dr. Heherson Tumang (Class 1980), Chair of the Dept. of Clinical Dentistry, is currently working on a scheme to address this problem, but you, dear alumni, can help by making yourselves available as WOCs or working without compensation. I have heard that many of you have a day to spare from your private practice and are willing to spend that day with us in the clinics or in the lab. In my Resto class, there were three of us checking the students’ lab work. However, for the past 3 years, I have been the only teacher in the lab. Luckily, I have two WOCs helping me, Dr. Pia Antonio (Class 1999) every Tuesday afternoon, and Dr. Tin Avenida (Class 2004) every Friday morning. The FPD lab class also needs additional teachers, and WOCs are welcome. Before the opening of classes in June, we will come out with new guidelines on WOC selection and recruitment.
Suggestions on how we can solve the graduation rate issue are most welcome. I am confident that the collective wisdom of our alumni can solve this problem.
The second flagship project is the improvement of our research output. Since most of the faculty are inclined to do laboratory research, it will definitely help if we have our own research lab. The alumni can assist by helping us solicit funds for equipment that can jumpstart research in the college. I am particularly interested in a Universal Testing Machine, a very valuable tool when doing research on adhesive dentistry and dental materials. It costs around USD 25,000. The Orthopedic Dept. of PGH is also looking for one, as well as students from other dental schools. We are confident that having this machine will improve not only our research capability, but also that of other dental schools. In addition, it will be another source of income for the College, since we will of course charge for its use.
Aside from the research lab, the alumni can also help by increasing the number of our journal subscriptions. Dr. Joy Lua has started the ball rolling by giving not one but two journal subscriptions to the college. Dr George Leung and Class 75, and Dr James Young (Class 1973) have also expressed willingness to give us more journal subscriptions. Doing research and writing manuscripts is not difficult if you have a well-stocked library. Currently, the library only has ten current journal subscriptions for seven disciplines. It is therefore not surprising that students cite abstracts or worse, websites, because they do not have access to full text articles. Even old journals are welcome, especially those that are ISI listed. You won’t be able to do a thorough review of literature if you don’t have access to old journal articles or pioneering articles. The bottom line is, if you don’t need it anymore, whatever it is, past journal subscrptions, used but still functioning amalgamators, light cure units, cast trimmers, grinders, even power tools, please give them to us. We will find use for them.
Third flagship project is to place the College in the forefront of Philippine Dentistry. We are doing our very best to lead the profession in educating the public in how to prevent the two most common chronic diseases: dental caries and periodontal disease. We plan to come out with short but effective educational materials in the form of animations that we can use in our adopted communities and later on in the mass media. The College will focus on educating and empowering the people in preventing these diseases. The Department of Community Dentistry is tasked to lead us in this endeavor. We are amenable to conducting dental missions as I have discussed with Dr. Cristy Conanan who is involved with a group from the States who regularly conducts charity missions in the Philippines. Suggestions on how we can make an impact on the oral health of the country are welcome. We need to get involved. As the only government subsidized dental school, we owe it to our countrymen.
The fourth flagship project is to prepare the school for the PACUCOA accreditation. We need to supply tons of documents but I am sure we can do it this year. The ultimate goal is not just to get a level 2 accreditation, but a CHED Center of Development/Excellence award. Also, I have made myself available and accepted the nomination of the UPCD College Council to the Commission in Higher Education (CHED) for the Technical Panel on the Master of Science in Dentistry program.
The fifth and sixth flagship projects are revitalizing the Orthodontics Graduate School and professionalizing the operations of the review center, respectively.
There are a lot of things that have to be done but with the cooperation of every member of Team Dentistry, the administration, faculty, students, non-academic personnel and alumni, I am very confident we will succeed.
VICENTE O. MEDINA III, DDM, Ph,D
February 17, 2010