"I enjoy giving back and I don't see myself stopping."
Jan Fricke began her career in the school's pediatric clinic as a dental auxillary utilization (DAU) teaching assistant, a position which has evolved over the years. In her time here, she's taken a more active role in the community in addition to her regular duties in the clinic. It's her passion for teaching and helping those in need that has kept her at the Dugoni School for the last 34 years.
"Our duties as DAUs go beyond the title, but the basic job entails teaching dental students one-on-one," says Jan. "We cover ergonomics and injury prevention; how to work efficiently and effectively at chair side; infection control; and how to work with a child patient — covering all phases of behavior management."
Going beyond this comprehensive student training, Jan took her love of community health and started an education outreach program. She is one of the founding members of the San Francisco Children's Dental Health Committee, whose mission is to coordinate on-site dental education and screenings throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to the Dugoni School of Dentistry, the program partners with the San Francisco Department of Public Health Dental Bureau, San Francisco Dental Society, University of California at San Francisco School of Dentistry, Native American Health Center, San Francisco United School District and San Francisco Dental Hygiene Association. The committee meets four times a year to discuss past and upcoming activities and ways to help each other out in various areas of local community oral health.
"What's rewarding is seeing the outcome of these outreach projects and serving the needy and the people who aren't able to have oral health care on a regular basis," Jan reflects. "And it is also rewarding to give students the opportunity to go out into the community. Giving them those experiences is a great feeling."
One of Jan's favorite parts of the job is meeting new people and working with the students and faculty. This includes collaborating on projects beyond the walls of the dental school. She has helped to launch many community programs and the Children's Dental Health Committee frequently collaborates with the Student Community Outreach for Public Education (SCOPE) program. Each year she also spearheads the dental school's involvement with Give Kids a Smile Day, an annual event held on Pacific's Stockton campus which offers free, comprehensive dental care to families in need.
Over the years Jan has also been involved with the Development Office and fundraising, helping with charity events such as Vino de Mayo and Kids in the Klinic Golf Tournaments to raise funds for children in need. And if that's not enough, she coordinates Dental Assistants Recognition Week on campus to make sure the efforts of her team are recognized.
"I enjoy giving back and I don't see myself stopping," says Jan. "I'm always the person to be involved in one project or another."