Our newly elected 2021-2022 CCDS President, Dr. Keith Collins, reminds us of all of the challenges that we have had to overcome throughout this pandemic, the obstacles to come, and amends us for our collective response to this crisis.
"Dear CCDS Members,
We are bouncing back from the restriction of dental visits and reluctance of patients to seek care as we build confidence in COVID-19 vaccines. The CCDS has a role in helping to meet a surge in demand for care while we continue to withstand some supply shortages and a severe workforce crisis.
An influx of patients, showing up after significant lapses in essential dental care, means we have some catching up to do, with some who waited to address infections, broken teeth, rampant decay, and advanced perio conditions. It makes me question if masks have something to do with some decay patterns. What’s worse, some of the patients that stayed home suffered greater decay rates due to changes in dietary habits.
In addition, 93% of all dental staff in the country were laid off in March, 2020. One in four that worked changed jobs. Many have yet to return to work in dental offices, leaving us with many unfilled positions for front office, clinic, and hygiene staff with some former employees staying home to help their children or grandchildren. There are hurdles as we train new hires whether they have previous experience or are newly graduated. Nevertheless, CCDS is committed to supporting and growing our local hygiene and dental assisting schools.
Clark County Dental Society has shown relevance in our community in significant ways during 2020, largely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- We switched to Zoom virtual component meetings without missing a beat, increasing attendance and expect to continue to offer a Zoom service for all of our meetings in the foreseeable future. We shared our Zoom webinar license with other components as well as our expertise and we have included students from the Clark College Dental Hygiene program for some of our meetings. We can thank Dr. Kristin Nordahl for producing all of our CE events, and we are pleased to say she will continue in this role as she becomes Immediate Past President of CCDS.
- Dr. David Carsten, CCDS Past President (twice), chair of the Infection Control Committee for DQAC and now vice chair of the dental commission covered all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic in great detail for CCDS. Dr. Carsten was recognized as an expert and made presentations to many groups and some national audiences. We continue to rely on his wisdom and guidance, and are fortunate that our concerted efforts have resulted in very little contagion of COVID-19 in dental clinics.
- We survived restriction of patient visits and shortages of Personal Protective Equipment. We shared masks donated by FEMA to WSDA, and went on to create the opportunity for dentists to obtain PPE from our local health authority, the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency.
- We helped dentists to gain early access in Phase 1A to COVID vaccines in January, 2021, and helped our State Department of Health to fix bugs in their PhaseFinder web site. We connected early with DOH and the Clark County Public Health Department, both of whom called the day the vaccine arrived in Clark County, allowing our local health department to begin calling dental offices to set up vaccinations the next week.
All of these successes are examples of what can be accomplished with a unified front. We congratulate and thank Dr. Ron Hsu, a member of a new Dentist Advisory Committee for WDS, as well as a participant in leadership of the American Association of Pediatric Dentists as he continues as CCDS Treasurer, and Dr. Justin Hollar and Dr. Dan Warner as they continue on the CCDS Executive Council. Both providing exceptional mentorship and advice moving forward. We also extend our appreciation to Dr. Peter Lubisich IV who manages our CE credits with WSDA.
Thank you for electing me to a second term as President of CCDS. We have a great community of dentists and a great team at CCDS. We have endured a tough ride with the pandemic, and we continue to face some great challenges. With support from one another and with our continued action within our community we will continue to overcome these challenges. My primary focus for the coming year is to optimize efforts for dental workforce relationships in Clark County. Please feel free to contact me regarding any concerns, hardships, or opportunities.”
Keith Collins, DMD
Office Phone: 360-574-7477