September 2020 Volume LV Number 5

 
 
 
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President's Message

September 2020 Volume LV Number 5

 In my last column, I talked about the pandemic and all the precautions we are taking to keep our teams, our families, and our patients safe. Using guidance from the CDC, OSHA, ADA and AAPD, we have implemented engineering controls, administrative controls, safe work practices and proper personal protective equipment (PPE). Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have worked extremely long hours to ensure access to dental care while under the stress and anxiety of keeping everyone safe. The AAPD has made safety its top priority, but that goes beyond the physical safety that we often think about. I was heartbroken to hear and read about some of AAPD family members who are struggling with all the pressures that this pandemic has put on us. The fact is, we are ALL struggling with this. We have been exposed to a traumatic event. As we move forward with life and our practices, these unprecedented circumstances are likely to increase the risk of psychological issues. So, we need to be just as vigilant with our psychological safety and wellbeing and make sure wear the mental personal protective equipment to prevent psychological injuries. There is no doubt that some of what we are experiencing can be compared to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which can lead to depression, other anxiety disorders, insomnia, and substance misuse.
 
The good news is that we, together, can minimize and prevent psychological injuries with the proper emotion- al PPE. This will have to be done by looking out for each other. Evidence shows that health care workers who are thanked and acknowledged for their challenging work will foster resilience. As pediatric dentists, we are by nature grateful people, but we need to be more so during these times. I know I am truly grateful for all the support from all of you! Thank you. We also know that avoidance is a key symptom of traumatic stress. Many of us have been feeling a bit more isolated lately, but if we all think about some friends and family that may have been avoiding us perhaps it is time to reach out. We also been having discussions about the "new normal." Let’s just face it, there is nothing normal about it. To state such does not validate that things are different and much harder than they used to be. Any connotation to normal makes one believe that there should not be the ad- ditional stress and anxiety that we all may be feeling. So, even though we have been in a "new reality", I refuse to believe that there is anything normal about it.
 
So, again I am asking for your help. We all need to engage in psychological safety and employ wellness PPE practices. Please thank each other for having the strength, courage, and commitment to continue to provide access to care for children. Please reach out the those that may avoiding social interactions and please recog- nize that these times are tough with increased stress and financial issues that are facing everyone, but we are strong and resilient. We will get through this by taking care of yourself and each other.
 

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