Update from Dean Garcia -- June 17, 2020

Jun. 17, 2020

Recently I spoke with one of my mentors, Dr. Jeanne C. Sinkford (Be certain to do a fast search to learn more about her). I cherish the friendship we have developed over the years and the wisdom of her counsel.  We spoke of national challenges, including that of social justice as well as the impact of COVID-19.  Out of respect for much of our discussion, I will share one comment she had in response to issues I raised…simply stated, she said “See what you can do.”  

So what can you do? Our predoctoral dental student leaders shared their statement with all of us with two particular statements in bold print as follows:

I shall respect the full human dignity of each individual regardless of their race, economic status, or religion.

I pledge myself to the service of humanity, my patients, my community, and my profession.

I extend my thanks to our students for sharing their statement, their genuine commitment, and, more importantly, for listing ways to address the question What can you do?

Never in my lifetime, and perhaps the same is true for you, have the past 3½ months seemed interminable. The disruption this pandemic has caused in our professional and personal lives is palpable on many levels, and the constant news stories can be overwhelming. I commend all of you in adapting into a new life equilibrium, and to those who rise to the occasion and help address challenges in a respectful and productive manner.

As we move closer to our target date - June 29th – Stage 3 plans for reopening, each person needs to recommit to our mission, the safety and well-being of each other, and help our students succeed. We will reaffirm our commitment to our community and the patients we are privileged to serve. Through your commitment, we will continue our mission and pursue our goals of providing patient-centered clinical care and continued renewal for a progressive, evidence-based, innovative curriculum.

Significant efforts by faculty and staff have brought us to this point in time, and renewed vigilance will be needed to maintain our progress. We continue screening every person entering our facilities. We display visual cues to reassure our patients that they are safe and well-protected against this virus while in our care.

The visual cues include expanded PPE ensembles worn in patient treatment areas, the colorful wristbands designating compliance through screenings, the wearing of facemasks in our hallways and common areas, as well as routine disinfection of surfaces, doors, and other high-contact areas. All of these actions will reinforce the explanations we provide to our patients and their family members. Your dedication and effort have helped bring us to this point, and will continue to move us forward to the benefit of our students and our patients.