Army’s top dentist visits San Francisco schools

SAN FRANCISCO – Students and administrators at three San Francisco dental schools visited last week with the head of the Army’s Dental Corp, Brig. Gen. Shan Bagby. A few months from retirement, Bagby shared his Army dentist story with the students and gave them tips on how to survive their postgraduate studies and thrive in their chosen careers.

His first stop was the University of the Pacific’s Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. There he spoke with several recipients of the Health Professions Scholarship (HPSP). At the University of San Francisco, Bagby talked with ROTC cadets about leadership and gave them advice on maximizing their training to benefit their career. At the University of California San Francisco, he toured the school’s dental training facility before speaking with a group of approximately 30 dental school students, HPSP recipients and clinical and assistant professors.

At one point, Bagby told his audience they were fortunate to take advantage of the HPSP, which pays their medical school tuition costs and provides a stipend while attending school in exchange for four years of Army service. Bagby, who joined the Army on an ROTC scholarship, joked, “The Army got me super cheap. They only had to pay for four years of college for me.”

The visit came as the Army prepares to launch a two-week effort to reconnect with communities across America with its March to Service campaign later in March.

“Very limited face-to-face contact over the last two years has had an impact on our relationships with our communities,” said Maj. Gen. Kevin Vereen, who leads the Army’s recruiting effort for both the Regular Army and the Army Reserve.

Studies show that about 75 percent of today’s young people do not fully understand the Army or the careers it offers. The March to Service campaign aims to provide information about the more than 150 different occupations in the Army as well as key benefits of service – to include technical training, 30 days of paid vacation, health care, money for college classes and certifications, family support programs, and even up to $50,000 in bonuses. “We find that people often change their impression of the Army when they are able to talk directly to a Soldier,” Vereen said. “They are able to ask questions and talk about some of the misperceptions they may have about what it’s really like to be a Soldier. Many people truly just don’t understand what we do because they have never had the chance to find out.”

The Army has many opportunities for those wanting to become a dentist as well as for practicing professionals.