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Oral Healthcare Providers Included in Latest Phase of COVID-19 Vaccinations

The COVID-19 vaccine is currently being administered to the LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry (LSUSD) community. The first doses of the vaccine were given to faculty, staff, students and residents in early January. "It is the hope that all personnel and students will be fully vaccinated by the end of February, but that goal is dependent on vaccine availability," says Dr. Robert Laughlin, LSUSD Dean.

While it is a large undertaking to vaccinate the entire LSU Health community, so far the roll out has been smooth. Dr. Laughlin says that's in large part due to the efforts of Dr. Rebekah Gee, CEO of Health Care Services for LSU Health, and Dr. Kenneth Boe, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Information Technology. "Kenneth Boe was on the forefront to make sure we had the appropriate lists and Dr. Gee made arrangements to administer the vaccine," says Dr. Laughlin. "They have done a really nice service for us."

LSUSD dental students and residents were some of the earliest to receive the first dose of the vaccine. Fourth-year dental student Gerard Scannell said, "I was vaccinated to protect you, patients and everyone from me. We give numerous recommendations to our patients that are based on research and I believe the vaccine will offer a safer dental environment." 

The Louisiana Dental Association is also working to get access to the vaccine for dentists across the state. They are partnering with various health networks and hospitals to make the vaccination process more streamlined. An Oral Health Professionals Vaccine Task Force has been established and is helping in each of the nine dental districts to assist colleagues with the process and answer any questions. Dentists in each region will receive unique communication from the LDA regarding the vaccine. 

The benefits of receiving the vaccine include: 

1. protection from infection with COVID-19; 

2. a safer way to help build protection against the virus; and 

3. the vaccine is an important tool to help stop the pandemic. 

Even after receiving the vaccine, masks will still be required to enter all LSU Health facilities. Wearing a mask, social distancing, handwashing and crowd avoidance are still strongly recommended.  


Celebrating Achievement

 Kitrina Cordell, DDS, MS, associate professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology and head of the Department of Diagnostic Sciences, received the LSUSD Luminary of Leadership Award for outstanding leadership during the COVID crisis. The Department of Diagnostic Sciences promotes the highest standards in education and practice and was able to continue with those objectives. Due to the commitment of the Department of Diagnostic Services faculty members and Dr. Cordell's leadership, the LSU Oral Pathology Biopsy Service remained at a fully functioning level. She was nominated for the award by Dr. Christopher Spencer, a member of her department. Dr. Cordell joined LSUSD in 2010, became interim chair in 2014 and was then named chair in 2016. Since joining the school, she has been an integral part of the school's teaching and leadership.


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Last Update 10/2020