First, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommended that all dentists close their offices except for emergency procedures until April 30, 2020 at the earliest. Then the Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) followed suit.
That led area dentists to start looking for ways to help out, said James Lee DMD 14.
“It was a grassroots effort,” he said. “[we were] thinking—how can we help?”
Along with other members of the MDS, Lee helped organize a donation drive from March 20-22, 2020, collecting personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves and surgical masks from MDS dentists.
As the district coordinator for the East Middlesex district, Lee reached out to and communicated with dentists in his district, collecting their donations and dropping them off at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).
In total, the MDS collected more than 3,000 surgical masks and 16,000 gloves from their members during the drive.
“I’m humbled by the leadership and generosity of our dentists donating PPE to frontline healthcare workers fighting COVID-19,” said Lee, “and I am proud that our dentists proactively stepped up to meet these critical needs instead of waiting for donation requests to take action.”
Lee said that dentists have played a critical role in providing aid during the coronavirus crisis—both by donating PPE and handling emergency cases.
“Dentists across the country help keep emergencies and dental pain out of emergency rooms to alleviate our hospitals,” he said. “It is extremely rewarding to see our dental colleagues continue to give and serve without hesitation because, in times of crisis, that is what leaders do. Dentists are leaders and dentists are part of the solution.”
From donating PPE to helping patients get what they need, members of the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) community have found a variety of creative ways to offer help and guidance during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Here are some other ways that alumni have been helping out:
- Jonathan B. Levine DMD 81 and Andre Hashem DMD 92 PROS 90 were recently featured on the ABC News program Nightline after they answered the call to donate unused personal protective equipment to the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City (Levine) and Boston Medical Center (Hashem).
- Jasmine Khedkar DMD 17, Maryam Shomali ENDO 93, and Rachelle Abou-Ezzi DMD 95 have all also been collecting and donating PPE in Massachusetts.
- Sean Rayment DMD 97 DSc 00 has been helping out with the MDS, donating gloves and surgical masks— and as the chair of the Health and Wellness Committee, trying to get resources out to all of the members of MDS to help them deal with pandemics.
- Greg Pezza DMD 03 AEGD 04 ORTHO 08 has been delivering Invisalign to his patients’ mailboxes to ensure they can continue treatment throughout their stay-at-home order.
- Naveen Verma DMD 04 has been setting up emergency clinics to help dental patients and is working to connect dentists across Ontario who can donate PPE.
- Kadambari Rawal AEGD 10 DPH 18 has been on-call for emergencies at Hebrew Senior Life, trying to resolve the dental emergencies in-house to reduce the exposure for medically compromised older adults by minimizing their need to leave long term care. Through the BDDS (Boston District Dental Society) board, she and others organized a drive for PPE donations at one of the BDDS board member’s dental office.
- Angad Singh Virk DMD 19 has been treating emergency patients in Prescott, Ontario.
“I am very proud to see so many members of our GSDM community aiding in community efforts,” said Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter. “I would like to personally thank each and every one of you for helping out in these uncertain times.”
We know there are more stories out there about GSDM alumni giving back! Share your story with Stacey McNamee at firstname.lastname@example.org.