My name is Kim Kelly and yesterday was my last day as ASDA’s senior manager of publications. I started at ASDA nearly nine years ago, before this blog existed. For the better part of a decade, I’ve worked with dental students to create the type of content they want to read. Today, with the launch of Contour magazine and the success of this blog, ASDA’s publications look very different from when I started. But no matter how much time passes, the publications are still centered around dental student authorship. It takes a lot of work to produce member-written publications. Between ASDA’s printed publications and this blog, we publish more than 400 pieces of content each year. That’s a lot of student writing and a lot of work by ASDA’s Editorial Board.
In a way, ASDA’s publications are crowdsourced by our members. We ask you what you want to read and then we have you write about it. Contour and Mouthing Off are shaped by our member authors. Admittedly, I’ve written quite a bit over the years as well. This will likely be my last post, so I wanted to leave you with a list of my favorite articles from my time at ASDA.
Over the past nine years, I’ve read every single article and every blog post published by ASDA. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:
“Dental school, what have you done to me?”
This post was the first time I read Dr. Joe Vaughn’s writing. The post went viral on social media and quickly became our most popular of all time. Joe became an ASDA editor and continued to churn out creative pieces with a dental twist. My new favorite line from this post features a dental term that would become the name of our flagship magazine, Contour: “I am a nerd. I get excited over extra study days and heights of contour and sonic scalers and mandibular tori.”
“What the Match taught me about wants vs. needs”
Dr. Tyler Fix is not your average dental student. If you were to meet Tyler, you’d be able to tell that he’s more professional and more gracious that most. He’s incredibly conscientious of others and seems wise beyond his years. What Tyler doesn’t tell people is that he was diagnosed with tracheal cancer during his second year of dental school. When I met Tyler, he hadn’t even told his classmates. Instead, he quietly fought the cancer, all while enrolled in dental school. Tyler decided to finally share his experience with not only his classmates but with ASDA’s entire membership. Contour is mailed to about 24,000 people. This editorial is beyond brave and it’s a must read.
“Don’t let lab work be your best dental school memory”
Dr. Greg Sabino came to ASDA’s Editorial Board with a Ph.D. and a mission to make the publications scientifically sound. Some of Greg’s best work can be seen in the Science + Tech issue of Mouth. So when I read Greg’s last editorial, I was floored. In this piece, Greg shares a heartbreaking and inspiring story about what drives him. This editorial will change your day and might just change the way you look at dental school.
The first Wellness issue of Mouth
ASDA’s Wellness Initiative and this issue of Mouth were launched in memory of Past President Jiwon Lee. Dr. Christian Piers was editor-in-chief at the time and wanted to do something for Jiwon, but also for all ASDA members struggling with depression, anxiety and over exhaustion. This issue would go on to win the Meskin Journalism Award from the American Association of Dental Editors & Journalists.
“Apples to GMO apples”
Stephen Rogers didn’t sign up to write the lead story in April Contour. But when something fell through last minute, this GMO article landed in his lap. Stephen tackled the topic from a scientific angle and gave dental students an objective look at a controversial topic. We wanted to address an area of science that has been politicized and actually dig into the science. Not only did Stephen’s article deliver, but it’s an absolute delight to read. You’ll be more informed when you’re finished and you might just have a few more answers for that patient who asks about everything.
All the editor’s letters in Contour
By now, I really hope you’ve read Contour. This magazine was launched in January of this year but has been years in the making. Dr. Adam Saltz poured his heart into Contour. You may not even realize it, but almost every part of the magazine was influenced by him. From the cover design to the departments we include to the playful sidebar on the editor’s letter, Contour is Adam’s baby. I sometimes skip the editor’s letter when I read a magazine, but I encourage you to go back through these. Adam doesn’t just set up each issue of Contour in his letters, he also gives you a glimpse of how he lives life. You see, Adam didn’t just survive dental school, he thrived. And if you read his letters, you may find a tip or two on how you can take hold of these crazy years and really enjoy them. Here’s a bit from the first issue of Contour: “When you contour the anatomy of a final restoration, you shape that tooth for the most esthetic and functional outcomes. ASDA’s Editorial Board applied that same focus, passion and artistry to this magazine.”
Thank you for letting me plan, write and edit your publications for the past nine years. Thank you to all the editors who stopped using the Oxford comma even after they’d left Ed Board. And thanks for being the best members in the world. Keep reading and keep writing.
~Kim Kelly, 2008-2017 ASDA publications guru