Message from Dean Charles N. Bertolami
This past May, after more than two years of restrictive COVID protocols, the members of the Class of 2022, their faculty, family, and friends gathered for an in-person graduation celebration at Madison Square Garden. It was a joy for me to preside at the event, which featured inspiring remarks by honorees Dr. Dennis Mitchell and Ms. Anastasia Somoza, who shared their extraordinary stories and encouraged our graduates to "pay it forward" as they proceed with their professional lives. Graduation day was the culmination of four years of hard work, commitment, and I think it is fair to say, more than the usual resilience required of our candidates for degrees and certificates. But despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, the members of the Class of 2022 triumphed, and everyone at the College is exceedingly proud of their accomplishments as they transition to the next stage in their careers. You can read more about the Graduation Ceremony here.
There’s more good news on the research front. On January 1, 2022, the College officially opened the NYU Pain Research Center. The Pain Research Center seeks research-based solutions to critical issues facing our society, including providing non-opioid treatments for chronic pain. In this issue, you can read an in-depth interview about the NYU Pain Research Center with Brian Schmidt, DDS, MD, PhD. Dr. Schmidt is senior vice dean for research development and academic affairs and one of the two conceptual architects of the Center, the other being Nigel Bunnett PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Pathobiology and assistant dean for research development. There’s also an article featuring the new director of the NYU Pain Research Center, Rajesh Khanna, PhD, and synopses of the work of several of the Center’s other investigators. Testifying further to the robustness of our research enterprise are stories included in the Research and the Grants & Philanthropy sections of this issue of Nexus.
In addition, we continued to move forward with unique initiatives for our students, becoming the first dental school in the U.S. to teach DDS students to perform dental implant surgery using state-of-the-art robotic technology and inaugurating the NYU Dentistry Dental Student Leadership Institute (DDSLI) and the Global Health Care Leaders Program, both of which aim to develop future leaders for the profession. In support of our student recruitment efforts, we produced a series of videos featuring alumni and faculty discussing their perspectives on the value of an NYU Dentistry education. Notably too, the 2022 QS World University Rankings list NYU Dentistry as the #2 private dental school in the country, after Harvard, and the #1 dental school in New York State.
During the past year, the College also continued to focus on access to care and health equity issues. Our VOCARE (Veterans Oral Care Access Resource) program, a partnership with the Veterans Administration launched in July 2021 is on track to provide nearly 6,000 veteran patient visits this year at no out-of-pocket cost to veterans who are not eligible to receive dental benefits through the VA. We held our second AHEAD (Achieving Health Equity through Access for All with Disabilities) Symposium in April, and hundreds of people from around the world logged on to the virtual symposium, which brought a distinguished group of disability, health care, and policy experts to the table to discuss the steps we need to take to further advance a more equitable health care environment for people with disabilities.
As you explore this issue of Global Health Nexus, I hope you will find stories that engage your interest, increase your sense of belonging to the College, and reaffirm your commitment to its future.
Charles N. Bertolami, DDS, DMedSc
Herman Robert Fox Dean