View comments from current president Heather Fogus.
WVDHA Presidential Address
April 29, 2020
When I accepted the honor of serving my term as President of the West Virginia Dental Hygienists’ Association, I had no idea that a virus known as COVID-19 was going to cause a global pandemic, resulting in one of the most trying times to be a member of our profession. There are so many different scenarios and “what if” situations that I am sure we all have unanswered questions and concerns to. As dental hygienists, we work far from the physical distancing standards that we have now become accustomed to, usually within six to twelve inches of our patients. To many, the thought of going back to work right now is cause for fear and anxiety as all these answers are still unknown.
It is important to note the collaborative efforts between the WV Dental Board, the West Virginia Dental Association, and the WVDHA. I was offered a position on the West Virginia Dental COVID-19 Task Force, and without hesitation, I accepted. Why? Because I knew that WVDHA could have a voice for our members and non-members, in a time that it mattered the most. We are oral health professionals, and we understand how integral oral health is to a patient’s overall health, and how key dental hygiene services are in that regard. We want to return to work, we just want to make sure that it is safe for both patient and provider, in doing so. In collaboration with the WV Dental Board, the Task Force created a document giving guidance with mandated PPE requirements and makes reference for dental offices to use the ADA Tool Kit to help resolve the issues surrounding providing dental care in this new era of COVID-19.
Since the Task Force document was released, we have received many questions and concerns and are currently compiling a list of the top questions to be submitted to the Dental Board for clarification. Please submit all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
During these unprecedented times, it is important to lean on evidence-based knowledge and guidance from our WV Dental Board, the Task Force and the CDC. The WV Dental Board is relying on dentists to use their best professional judgment in implementing the mandates in the Task Force document. It is to be noted, that if you do not feel your working environment to be safe and operating to the standards mentioned in the Task Force document, please make a complaint to the Dental Board by downloading a complaint form from the board website and following submission instructions. The Dental Board’s commitment to our safety is unparalleled, especially with the issues surrounding COVID-19. It is crucial to have open lines of communication with employers right now, so that everyone has a chance to express their apprehensions within their own working environment.
As President of WVDHA, I want you to know that I am doing everything that I can to make sure that your questions and concerns are being heard. Please know that I will continue to be the voice of dental hygienists on the Task Force, as this situation is ever evolving. I ask that we, as dental hygienists, be as patient and understanding as possible as everyone, including our employers, is learning what the “new normal” of dentistry looks like. Thank you for your trust and confidence as the leader of this amazing association!
Heather Fogus, RDH President WVDHA