The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has gone nearly viral at Loma Linda University, particularly at the School of Dentistry. Taking its cue from videos of LLUH President Richard Hart, MD, and School of Medicine, Dean Roger Hadley, MD, accepting baptisms with buckets of water and ice (like winning Superbowl coaches) to raise awareness and funding for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) research, dentistry’s marketing team called out the School’s senior administrators who readily accepted the challenge.
The public dousings took place in small waves. First was Graham Stacey, PhD, associate dean, Student Affairs, surprised on the quadrangle August 21 when his wife, Rosanne, and his administrative assistant, Irmgart Mitchell, did the honors. Then it was Dean Ronald Dailey, PhD, on August 27, whose remarks before his icing explained that he was particularly willing to participate in memory of Ron Blank, DDS’75A, associate professor, oral diagnosis, radiology, and pathology, much loved School of Dentistry faculty member who died in 2005 after a four-year battle with ALS.
Dean Dailey also called out three of his colleagues, Robert Handysides, DDS’93, associate dean, Academic Affairs, Joseph Caruso, DDS’73, MS’75, MPH, associate dean for Strategic Initiatives and Faculty Practices, and Yiming Li, DDS, PhD, MSD, associate dean for Research, to take the challenge which they did the next day, Thursday, August 28, with Dr. Caruso also paying tribute to his missing colleague, Dr. Blank, who before his death established the ALS Foundation of Research and Clinical Evaluation (FORCE).
No doubt Dr. Blank would be overwhelmed to know that a decade later, as of Wednesday, August 27, The ALS Association has received $94.3 million in donations compared to $2.7 million during the month of August last year.
Much loved by his students, Dr. Blank was voted Teacher of the Year for 2002 and also received the Pierre Fauchard Academy Teacher of the Year Award. On April 11, 2001, he was diagnosed with ALS. He retired in February 2003 when his health no longer permitted him to continue his duties.
As the chain of challenges continue, Dr. Li called out “the money man,” Jack Burdick, MBA, assistant dean for Finance and Administration, who was soaked down September 2 in front of Prince Hall, along with colleagues from two other schools he had challenged: Kent Chow, MBA, assistant dean, Finance, School of Allied Health, and Joann Shaul, BBA, assistant dean for Financial Affairs, School of Nursing.