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A Message from MDS President Dr. MaryJane Hanlon

The following is a message from MDS President Dr. MaryJane Hanlon to members addressing the recent violent attacks against Asian Americans in Atlanta.

March 22, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) Board of Trustees, I want to take a moment to reflect on our country’s grief over the horrific events that occurred last week in Atlanta. The loss of these eight lives is intolerable. At a time when we have all experienced so much loss over the past year and began to hope that change was indeed coming, this unspeakable tragedy serves as a reminder that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have faced an increased risk of violent attacks every time they have left their homes since March 2020.

As your President, I recognize that I write this from a place of privilege and that I have not walked in others' shoes. My heart breaks knowing that my colleagues, friends, and students experience hate and discrimination directed toward them simply because of the color of their skin and their treasured ancestries. At the MDS, we need diversity not only in our membership, but also in our values, our perspectives, and our experiences. We need to learn together and from one another. I encourage everyone to spend some time reflecting on how we can collectively do better to make everyone feel welcome, respected, and heard. The MDS does not tolerate discrimination, of any kind, period.

As American Dental Association President Dr. Daniel J. Klemmedson recently wrote in an email to members, “I remind everyone that we are trusted health care professionals who should first strive to be compassionate citizens and good neighbors. That we should treat all people with decency and respect. That we should denounce every act of violence and incivility that sows division in our nation.” Here in Massachusetts, we must do the same. 

To our AAPI members and colleagues—please know that our hearts are with you. You will always have the support of the MDS. If you are experiencing discrimination or have suggestions on how to move these conversations forward, please reach out to me or a member of the MDS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force.


MaryJane Hanlon, DMD