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Most of us look for the silver lining in this dark cloud known as the COVID-19 pandemic. For me, I’ve learned to use Zoom and visit with family and alumni virtually.

It beats a phone conversation, but it isn’t quite the same as meeting in person. Whether you’ve used Zoom or another virtual technology, there’s no debating there are several advantages, including saving on travel expenses, time, etc…

I’ve been reading a lot about philanthropy and healthcare philanthropy in particular. The shifting culture of healthcare organizations has been fascinating to read about and study. I’ve also had a lot of time for pleasure reading. Some of the authors I’ve read during the pandemic who I would recommend include: Brian Freeman if you like detective books, David McCullough for historical biographies, Robert Parker (the Spenser, Jesse Stone, and Cole and Hitch Series are all entertaining), and John Sandford and Stuart Woods for crime thrillers.

Many of our UAB School of Dentistry alumni seized downtime during the COVID-19 shutdown to devote more time for reading and other personal interests. Dr. Larry Deep (’78) practices in Birmingham and serves as the 2020 Chair of the UAB Dentistry Leadership Council. He managed a number of home improvement projects including major work in the back yard, cleaning and planting, repairing a water leak in his guest house, installing a new garbage disposal, and purchasing a new television to replace the one struck by lightning. Deep admits some of those projects weren’t a lot of fun, but he did and does continue to read a lot about healthy living. “I was mainly reading on the internet a lot of health type information. I read a lot about vitamins. I take a lot of vitamins and would recommend our alumni check out Jay Campbell,” he said.

Deep sold his private practice a few years ago and now spends three days per week treating patients for Luma Dentistry in Birmingham. He and his wife, Rima, haven’t been able to see their three children and five grandchildren during the pandemic, so they’ve relished their time with them via Zoom or by having family members drop off groceries from time to time. He also missed his regular time with a personal trainer. “I tried to find ways to remain active during the shutdown. I walk two to four miles every day, do push-ups off the kitchen counter, that sort of thing,” said Deep. He goes on to say that nutrition is very important to him. “One of the best things to do is intermittent fasting. I stop eating by 8 or 9 p.m. and don’t eat again until about 1 p.m. the next day. I also drink MCT Oil with Bulletproof Coffee three days a week. There are a lot of recipes on the internet”. For more on intermittent fasting, check out this UAB link.

Dr. Kent Palcanis, School of Dentistry Professor Emeritus and UASOD Alumni Association Alumni By Choice Representative, has spent a lot of time at home during the pandemic. He and his wife, Phoebe, had to cancel a family vacation. He recently read The 911, a book on the development of the Porche 911. He also recently read Chesapeake Requiem by Earl Swift. The book details the past, present, and tenuous future of Tangier Island, which is located in the Chesapeake Bay off the Virginia Coast. “I used to tie up at the same docks where the fishermen boats were docked. I would spend the night back in my younger years,” said Palcanis. One other author he recommends is Clive Cussler, who writes adventure novels centered around his character Dirk Pitt.

gary and scooter myersDr. Gary Myers (’75) and his wife Scooter during a Zoom interview where he showed off a model from his days as a UAB dental student.Dr. Gary Myers (’75) UASOD Alumni Association Past President and his wife, Scooter, had to cut their vacation to Australia and New Zealand short due to the pandemic. During a recent Zoom interview, he said were adhering to social distancing and catching up on a lot of projects at home.

As far as reading, Dr. Myers recommended Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country. The book chronicles his travels to Australia, the country that doubles as a continent. “It is a hilarious book. I recommend it to our alumni, especially those who have traveled there or are considering a trip there,” said Myers.

The Board of Dental Examiners of Alabama released protocols to allow dentists to return to practice in May. As a result, UAB School of Dentistry alumni may not have as much time to read or pursue other personal interests.

Story by J. Scott Huffman, CFRE, Executive Director