CDS leaders provide guidance for reopening Chicago

Tasked with the important work of crafting guidance for businesses reopening in Chicago, three long-time leaders for the Chicago Dental Society stepped in to lend their collective expertise to the project. Drs. Susan Becker Doroshow, Terri Tiersky and Cheryl Watson-Lowry all took part in a comprehensive review of guiding principles that would help businesses reopening their doors to the public following the 21/2 months shutdown in the city and state to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Dr. Doroshow, who is also Eighth District trustee for the American Dental Association board, as well as Drs. Tiersky and Watson-Lowry were tapped for the Reopening Chicago Healthcare Workgroup considering workplace principles that would apply to dental care providers. They graciously agreed to the fast-turnaround timetable for the project after city organizers reached out to the Illinois State Dental Society for Chicago dentists to be included.

The three dentists were able to provide guidance drawn from the CDC and ADA that served as the foundation for the city’s consulting group to map out a message on what the public could expect at dentists’ offices. Dr. Doroshow said the group looked to provide specifics and review the city’s ultimate guidelines to ensure they were broad, flexible, practical and focused on patient safety. Other health care stakeholders provided similar feedback on proposals integral to their specific disciplines.

“It was good to be present,” said Dr. Doroshow, a former CDS president as well. “We did have an impact, and it was important that dentistry was represented.”

“It was an honor to be able to participate,” said Dr. Watson-Lowry, immediate past president of CDS. “It brings to light the fact that we (dentists) are on the front lines” treating patients’ oral health and – during the pandemic – keeping dental emergencies out of hospital emergency rooms, she said., “CDS members should be proud,” said Dr. Tiersky, CDS president, “that our organization can be relied upon to help and support Chicago and all of our communities to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic in a way that’s responsible and patient-centered. We were pleased to be a part of Chicago’s planning team.” Through future phases of the city’s re-opening, “dentistry has to be cautious,” Dr. Watson-Lowry added. Until there is a vaccine – and quite possibly for good – dentists likely will have to take “a lot of precautions” in the same way the HIV virus had lasting changes on the profession, she said. To allow businesses and organizations to prepare for the reopening, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, in partnership with Chicago Department of Public Health, industry leaders, labor leaders, and public officials from around Chicago, on May 26 released industry-specific guidelines for businesses, employees, and customers to follow as they began to safely reopen on June 3. The guidelines are posted on the City of Chicago’s website.

The dentists likely will be called upon again to review any pertinent changes in upcoming phases of the mayor’s reopening planning.