KDA Today

KDA Today

For Immediate Release

Date: Oct 17th, 2013
Contact: Justin R. Kolasa, D.M.D.
Phone: 800-292-1855
Email: info@kyda.org

Dr. Janet Faraci Lee Leadership Development Award

I have the curse, and blessing in this case, of being a pack rat.  Two weeks into my dental school career, I received this email from Dr. Janet Lee in August of 2009.

 “My dear students,

I have been through a wild time for the past week.  The bottom line is that I was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma after lymph node biopsies last Wednesday.  Today, I had follow up testing with MRI, mammography, ultrasound and biopsy to confirm the original site is breast tissue.  Tomorrow I will be meeting with an oncologist to consider any other areas of concern and discuss treatment.  This has come as a total shock to me and my family.  I will try not to bore anyone with details but also try to keep you informed.  I hope to be at UKCD as much as possible.  I should know more at the end of the week.  As most of you know, I miss each of you terribly - the great stories, the wonderful work and the rewards of watching 'that light go on' when you put it together.

 I am not in need of anything -- just thoughts and prayers and I thank you, in advance, for those.

 Love,  Dr. Lee”

I wanted to share this because at the time of her diagnosis, I knew her only as another new face in the plethora of faces I had seen in my short time at UKCD.  That was something that changed drastically as I grew to know her in our time together.  When I re-read the email, some three years later after her passing, I had a pit in my stomach and a smile on my face.  I could not imagine trying to use my words to accurately describe her compassion, courage, selflessness, and strength; so you can see these characteristics in her words instead.  If you knew Dr. Lee, you are not surprised to see statements like “I will try not to bore” and “I am not in need of anything” because she was more worried about her family and her students than herself.  You read how much she will miss each of us and watching “that light go on” and see her compassion for what she did and the profession.  And the most telling word of the entire e-mail, “Love”. Not “Regards”, “Respectfully”, or some other empty closing, but the word, “Love.”  Because she absolutely loved her students.

The Dr. Janet Faraci Lee Leadership Development Award was the most meaningful award I received in dental school. Dr. Lee embodied what it meant to be a leader because her actions were even louder than her words.  The award gave me the opportunity to travel and participate in the ADA New Dentist’s conference in Denver, CO.  Here, I was able to be a part of organized dentistry for the first time not as a student, and see the resources available to us as professionals. I interacted with regional and national leaders within the organization to get a feel for the issues organized dentistry was currently tackling.  One of the most important for our profession, and one I hold with great value, is the continued support for research and development of Evidence-Based decision making for use in practice.  A focus of the meeting were the online resources for ADA members in an easy to find, easy to search, and easy to utilize database of current research. This is an invaluable resource for practitioners, especially those leaving an academic setting for the first time and are now responsible to provide their patients with proper care on their own.  Another resource organized dentistry provides are top-rate CE courses.  As a new dentist at the meeting, I participated and received six hours of CE credits in Implant Dentistry.  The course was entertaining and informative, and a service provided by the ADA to all meeting attendees.  Access to these quality courses is invaluable in providing the best patient care possible.  Overall, it was overwhelming to see that vast amount of information necessary for success in practice, and comforting to see the ADA provide this for its members.  From information on the Affordable Care Act, and its impact on our profession, to examples of proper consent forms, these are resources we are obligated to be aware of, and should know well enough to share with our patients.

However, in order to truly honor Dr. Janet Lee who loved dentistry, but who loved also to socialize with her students, it couldn’t be all business.  Included with meeting registration were tickets to the Colorado Rockies game at Coors Field.  Here, I was able to spend time with numerous fellow “new dentists” from Kentucky and enjoy the city of Denver.  The meeting left me inspired to pursue how I can be of use in organized dentistry and the value it has in bettering our profession.  It was a memory I owe to Dr. Janet Lee and hope others will be afforded the same in the future as well.

My sincere thanks go to Dr. Bill Lee and the Dr. Janet Faraci Lee Leadership Development Award scholarship committee for selecting me to receive this outstanding award.  I am humbled to have known and to forever be associated with such a tremendous person.

 

 

 

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