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2/4/2021 | President's Message: Looking Back Allows Us To See How Far We've Come

Sometimes it is interesting to look at where you have been, in order to see how far you have come. Dentistry is an ever-changing and challenging profession and in today’s environment, the profession is being challenged on a daily basis to think differently. The word unprecedented has certainly been overused in the past 11 months, but it may be the only word that describes everyone’s plight during the pandemic. The entire dental community, no doubt, has had to lead, like so many others, in a time of constant and sometimes brutal change.

A Look Back
In 2020, the Texas AGD remained vigilant to convince the Governor that dentists are essential and then worked with the TSBDE to advocate to get practices re-opened, swiftly and safely. We successfully pursued the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to gain access to free PPE resources through the Regional Advisory Council (RAC) centers. Those resources are still available.

A Look Forward
Fast forward to the current challenge. At the end of 2020, dentists and their teams, were left out of the 1a and 1b vaccination groups at the CDC and in the Texas Vaccination Plan. The AGD, Texas AGD, and other dental organizations acted swiftly and made progress, but the volunteer doctors at the Texas AGD are still trying to make progress at the state level.

Your peers at the Texas AGD are going to continue to be vigilant in getting our dental community the vaccine, sooner, rather than later, which is why we engaged AGD leadership to strengthen our message here in Texas. The AGD is laser-focused on bringing a national perspective to the Governor’s office, the DSHS, and the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP).

Next Steps and Action Plan
At about 3,000 members, the Texas AGD is small in numbers in comparison to other professional organizations, but that doesn’t bother us. We have always led our advocacy efforts at the grassroots level. The Texas AGD will continue to advocate for you at the state level and we are encouraging you to advocate for your profession at the local level.

Local Outreach Efforts: Several facilities throughout Texas are aware of the new CDC guidelines, and have been administering the vaccine to dental teams. Start your outreach efforts today. Download the Accessibility Spreadsheet of Vaccine Providers.

Share the Information: If you find a facility in your area that is administering vaccines to the dental community, share the information with your peers.

Check Your Emails: Be sure you are subscribed to receive Texas AGD emails. Texas AGD will continue to communicate updates in a timely manner.

As with all things during this pandemic, please be patient. Easy to say, harder for everyone to do. Texas AGD will not give up on you and we are asking that you don’t give up on us. Looking at where we have been, shows us how far we have come. We will only make progress by working together to create an impact.

Sincerely,


Ben Bratcher, DDS, MAGD
Texas AGD President


Additional Resources
Dentists Administering Vaccines

*TSBDE Scope of Practice does not include dentists providing vaccinations. Topic will be discussed TSBDE Board Meeting on March 12.