February 23, 2018
"Dental school is challenging," says the academic calendar section on the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry's website. Between the coursework, the hours spent in the clinic working with patients and volunteer work outside of school, sometimes a student may want a few minutes of peaceful contemplation.
That's why the Dugoni School has taken a new step to support student wellbeing by opening a new meditation room to be used for reflection, prayer, meditation, or simple relaxation.
This calming space is intended to serve as a quiet oasis in a building that buzzes with activity.
Created in response to feedback from dental students who were looking for a quiet and reflective space, the meditation room is open to students from all programs on University of the Pacific's San Francisco campus, as well as to all faculty and staff. It is located on the fifth floor in the corner by the Student Wellness Center and is open during regular building hours. The room includes a living wall with plants, seating, natural light and calming wall colors.
"The meditation room has given me a place to pray and be professional simultaneously," says Dr. Hasnain Abbas, a student in the International Dental Studies Class of 2019 who regularly uses the space. "It's like a sanctuary within a home."
"Creating meaningful spaces for students to pray, meditate, and reflect taps deeply into University of the Pacific's values, including our commitment to being student centered and supporting diversity and inclusion," says Pacific's Dean of Religious Life, Joel Lohr. "Spaces like these also help foster greater equanimity in our students, which in turn has been shown to help students succeed and enhance their grade point averages. The Dugoni School should be proud of this important achievement."
Other ongoing mindfulness activities at the Dugoni School include a series of meditation workshops open to all students, faculty and staff.
A 2014 review in JAMA Internal Medicine found that meditation programs showed promising results and could help reduce anxiety.