YBCBD Honors Dugoni School for Excellence in Community Service

Dean Nadershahi holding 2021 Yerba Buena sign

A downtown San Francisco civic organization has awarded the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry with a Community Excellence Award for Community Engagement, recognizing the school’s many forms of community outreach and support over the past year.

The Yerba Buena Community Benefit District bestowed the honor during a virtual awards presentation held January 18 as part of the organization’s annual meeting. The awards are given yearly to highlight those who show outstanding participation in improving the neighborhood. Recipients are selected by YBCBD’s volunteer committees as well as its board of directors, which includes Yerba Buena residents and representatives of businesses and nonprofit organizations.

The Dugoni School has made a positive impact on the neighborhood in many ways, especially during the pandemic. The school provided vital dental services to nearly 20,000 local children, families and adults over the past year. It kept its emergency clinic open during the initial shelter-in-place order in 2020 so people who needed dental care could get it without overburdening already busy hospital emergency rooms.

Last year, the school provided more than 4,000 COVID-19 vaccines to local seniors, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, healthcare workers and other frontline workers. The school worked closely with the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the San Francisco Mayor’s Office on Disability to host the first targeted vaccine clinic in San Francisco for people with disabilities. It also created a patient emergency fund for people who were financially impacted by the pandemic to help them pay for dental care. In addition, the school launched a “Dental Care is Essential Care” public service ad campaign to encourage those who put off dental visits during the pandemic to resume them.

A few of the volunteer students, faculty and staff at a recent free health screening event held for local military veterans.

A few of the volunteer students, faculty and staff at a recent free health screening event held for local military veterans.

The award caps a milestone year in the history of the Dugoni School academic programs and service to the community. It is celebrating its 125th anniversary since its founding in 1896 in San Francisco. The school traces its roots back to the Yerba Buena neighborhood, as the school’s original location was in a building at Howard Street (at 4th Street).

“We really appreciate this recognition from the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District and are proud to support the health and safety of our community,” said Dr. Nader Nadershahi, dean of the school. “I know that by working together with our community partners we will continue to help our neighborhood thrive for many more decades to come.”

Other honorees receiving Community Excellence Awards included the Moscone Convention Center; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; and members of the Yerba Buena Community Guides program and Yerba Buena Clean Team.

The Yerba Buena Community Benefit District is a community-based nonprofit organization working to improve the quality of life in the Yerba Buena neighborhood, encompassing roughly Second to Fifth and Market to Harrison streets. Yerba Buena is a dynamic district that features world-class museums, convention space, hotels, educational institutions, and hundreds of shopping, dining and entertainment venues. The YBCBD began implementing programs in 2009, such as a Community Guides program, SFPD bike patrol officer program, graffiti removal, street and sidewalk cleaning, neighborhood marketing, public art projects and other improvement efforts. Learn more at