Dr. Elisa Chávez Honored with CDA Foundation’s Dr. Arthur A. Dugoni Faculty Award

Dr. Elisa Chávez

Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry faculty member Dr. Elisa Chavez is the recipient of the California Dental Association Foundation’s Dr. Arthur A. Dugoni Faculty Award for 2020. A professor in the Diagnostic Sciences department and director of the Pacific Center for Equity in Oral Health Care at the Dugoni School, Dr. Chavez was nominated for her service to the school and the profession, and for her work in improving access to care for geriatric patients.

Founded in 2006, the award acknowledges eligible faculty members affiliated with California’s six dental schools for their exceptional leadership, innovation, collaboration, compassion, philanthropic spirit and integrity in dental education. The award is named for the late Arthur A. Dugoni, DDS, MSD, who is credited with the development and management of many innovations that elevated the University of the Pacific to national prominence, including the enhancement of the humanistic model of education.

Dr. Chavez began teaching at the Dugoni School of Dentistry in 2000. In 2001, she launched the pre- and postdoctoral clinical education programs for the Dugoni School at On Lok Lifeways, a nonprofit organization that provides care and support to improve quality of life for older adults and their families. She continues to serve as director of the student rotations and as a staff dentist at On Lok. Dr. Chavez also developed and launched a clinical rotation for predoctoral students at Stanford University’s department of surgery. As course director of Integrated Clinical Sciences II at the Dugoni School, she is credited for her ability to integrate interprofessional education and collaboration in unique and innovative ways.

Beyond the classroom, Dr. Chavez serves as chair of the school’s Strategic Plan Oversight Committee. She is a Founders Fellow with The Santa Fe Group, an action-oriented think tank with a mission to improve lives through oral health. She is an advocate for improving the oral health of America’s seniors, and she has authored or co-authored over two dozen articles, primarily in the areas of education and care for geriatric patients. In October 2019, Dr. Chavez presented at the Symposium on Geriatric Oral Health in California held at the Dugoni School, and served as guest editor of the CDA Journal ’s April 2019 issue dedicated to the oral health of older adults.

“Dr. Chavez is an exceptional credit to dental education and the extended professional community whose genuine, sustained commitment to vulnerable older adults make her a force for change,” said Dean Nader A. Nadershahi.

Learn more about Dr. Chavez in this article on the CDA website.

For more information about the CDA Foundation, whose mission is to improve the oral health of all Californians by supporting the dental profession in its efforts to meet community needs, please visit the foundation website at