Reservoir for Relief

The state of Texas is fighting to keep its head above water thanks to one of the most devastating hurricanes to ever hit the United States. Hours before making landfall, Harvey upgraded from a category 3 to a category 4 hurricane, reaching wind speeds of 130+ mph., and ultimately left families along the southeast border of Texas helpless and unable to evacuate in time. And within a few days, Harvey dropped 11 trillion gallons of water and displaced tens of thousands of people. Families sat on rooftops for hours until they could be rescued, animals have been lost, and victims have been claimed. Even as a born-and-raised Houstonian who is rather "accustomed" to unpredictable weather and heavy rain, this storm absolutely broke my heart. I, along with so many others, did not anticipate the tragedy and catastrophic events that have fallen on my beloved state. 

While I can certainly sit here and share photos, videos, and anecdotes of people I know who were affected by Harvey, I want to bring light to something amazing in my city that will help us all get back on our feet. I have read about Houston becoming the city that will teach others what it looks like to bridge gaps and break down walls to lift each other up to higher ground. Houston will help others be strong and carry on despite our differences in politics, ethnicities, and religious affiliations. I believe this wholeheartedly because I have already seen in the past few days how we have identified as one. In this sense of unity, we will rebuild our Thanksgiving dinners, Ramadan celebrations, Passover meals, Christmas festivities, and other cherished memories together. We can do this, but we will need help.

Visualization of the flooding around UTSD during Harvey. Image courtesy of drone footage from Paul Smith, DS3.

Visualization of the flooding around UTSD during Harvey.

Image courtesy of drone footage from Paul Smith, DS3.

The Greater Houston area is home to 6.4 million people, but other cities like Victoria, Port Lavaca, Port Arthur, and Rockport were also in Harvey’s path. While Houston may be a city that becomes heavily spotlighted in the media, all of the cities of southeast Texas will need rebuilding for weeks and months to come. Houston and Texas cannot be strong when some of our cities are drowning. So I want to call on my profession to join UT Houston ASDA in its effort to be an example of what it means to come together and build each other up so that we are all better than we were before. We are asking you to join us in serving our communities during this difficult time and be a part of something beautiful. Our relief efforts are not just for Houston, they are for all the families that have been affected by Harvey. If you are interested in giving, please consider donating to our Restore Houston Fund, where 100% of the proceeds will be utilized to purchase needed items to donate at local shelters and also those affected within the UTSD community.

We want to offer our sincerest gratitude to all of the organizations and surrounding cities that have already opened and will open their homes and hearts. Thank you to the nurses, doctors, dentists, emergency personnel, first responders, and volunteers who have shown so much capacity for caring that shelters have had to turn away donations and help. Thank you to our neighboring states, our homegrown businesses, and countless others I apologetically have forgotten for helping us swim. Harvey continues to make a splash on the lives of many families, but with the continuous help of our friends and community, Texas will one day be afloat again. 

Wellness Newsletter August 2017

EMOTIONAL

In this new school year, let’s start off strong! Emotional Wellness in dental school encompasses your self-esteem, self-acceptance, optimism, and expressing your feelings. This year, make a pledge to yourself to practice mindfulness every day. Make a new friend. Ask for help when you need it. Read this excellent ASDA blog for tips to manage emotional wellness in school this year.

http://www.asdablog.com/managing-emotional-wellness-in-dental-school/

 

ENVIRONMENTAL

To our upperclassmen in clinic – are you frequently finding yourself throwing away excess unused materials after seeing a patient? Cut back on this and help out the environment by taking what you need from the beginning – you can always go back for more!

 

PHYSICAL

Houston is easily becoming one of the top foodie cities in America. Get out and explore the city with your taste buds! Houston Restaurant Weeks is a fundraiser running August 1st to September 4th for the Houston Food Bank where top notch restaurants around the city offer different meal options at discounted prices. Brunch, Lunch, and Dinner options range from $20-$45 for 3,4, and 5 course meals! It is a great way to try something new and also support a wonderful cause. Grab some classmates and go! Find out more at http://www.houstonrestaurantweeks.com/

 

OCCUPATIONAL

Whether you are a first year starting new or an upperclassman breaking into the swing of things again, start your semester with a visit with your faculty advisor or mentor. Making connections with faculty and older students can help you along your path in dental school and beyond. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

 

INTELLECTUAL

Adjacent to the medical center we have the museum district. Take a breather before really entering the grind of school and head to one of the many museums we have in Houston. Explore something outside the field of dentistry. Many of our museums have free admission on Thursdays! http://houmuse.org/free-admission-times/

 

Wellness Newsletter June 2017

Be Well ASDA

EMOTIONAL

ALERT - THE FIRST CAT CAFE IN HOUSTON HAS ARRIVED! El Gato Coffeehouse features playing with adoptable cats, crafting sessions, cat yoga, movies with cats, etc. etc. A cat cottage visit includes BOTTOMLESS COFFEE and kitty snuggles for $10 with student ID. See their website for more info: http://www.elgatocoffeehouse.com/

 

PHYSICAL

Have you ever wanted to run a 5K? 10K? Half-Marathon? We are starting the inaugural UTSD ASDA Running Group! The group will meet every weekend for long runs in order to have some fellowship and moral support as we train together for the Aramco Houston Half-Marathon on January 14th 2018. Registration is $125 and opens on June 7th! If interested, and for more info on training plan, please email wellness chair Whitney Vrazel at whitneyvrazel@gmail.com.

 

INTELLECTUAL

Miller Outdoor Theater is an outdoor venue in Hermann Park. All events are FREE! The month of June includes dance, children’s theater performances, and symphony nights. Be on the lookout for the Shakespearean festival in July!  http://milleroutdoortheatre.com/events/2017/6/

 

OCCUPATIONAL

FROM ASDA NATIONAL: Month of June Wellness Challenge: Show your professional gratitude
Dimensions: Occupational
Steps:
            - RSVP to challenge event on National ASDA Facebook
            - Send three handwritten thank-you notes to people in your network who have helped you find success this year.
            - Share your experiences on Facebook and Instagram with #BeWellASDA.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL

IT’S SUMMER! Get outside and explore. Houston has some great parks with free activities all summer long - Hermann Park, Discovery Green, Buffalo Bayou Park, and Memorial Park just to name a few. Many parks offer the option to rent a bike, paddleboat or kayak.