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Your Dental Office News, June 12, 2021: Goodbyes, Father’s Day, Keeping You Safe

This year seems to be flying compared to last year and we’re already almost halfway through! The warmer weather is perfect for summer grill outs and celebrations with all of our loved ones, despite the 90 decibel cicada concert!

The group photo above was taken last Saturday June 5, at the retirement party hosted by our team members to celebrate Dr. Somerville, at Dutch’s Daughter restaurant in Frederick. We were all smiling because we were so thrilled to be able to stand close to each other without masks for the first time in 15 months!

Missing in the photo are Dr. Patel and Dr. Bhushan. For those new to our practice, Dr. Somerville is the tall guy in the back. To his right are Lise, Maria, Dr. Eyoma and Dr. Hailemelecot. (We’re pointing out our new doctors explicitly because you’ve likely never seen them without the PPE they wear in our office.) Also missing in the photo are Emily, Donna, Kailea, and Debra.

In this issue:

  • Goodbyes
  • Thank you Dad!
  • Honoring Our Team Members
  • Days to Remember in June
  • Safety in our Dental Office
  • Human Rights Achievement Award
  • Last Word 

This month, sadly, we’re saying goodbye to three team members who you will no longer see in our office come July.

Though Dr. David Somerville stopped scheduling patients at the end of 2020, he’s been occasionally subbing as our hygiene check doctor. Because Dr. Somerville joined our practice on July 1, 1987, his tenure with us will have been a few days short of 34 years! He and his wife Cindy, portrayed above, are looking forward to enjoying more time together.

We will also miss Dr. Sunanda Bhushan, who after 13 years said goodbye at the end of May. She had been working with us only two Saturdays each month since we reopened our doors to non-emergency patients a year ago. We wish her the very best at her other dental practice.

Finally, we wish the best of luck to our Front Desk and Dental Assistant Maria, who is relocating to another state and leaving us after only a year and a half. We wish it had been longer!

We will miss Dr. Somerville, Dr. Bhushan and Maria, are grateful for their years with us, and wish them all the best!

THANK YOU DAD!

For many of us our Dads are our first friends, loves, and heroes! This June 20th, we celebrate everything that dad has done to help and support us through our lives. Put up your feet, we’ll get you a drink, and let us man the grill today. Thank you for picking us up when we fall and showing us how to do it all!

Rodney, Dr. Levy, Brandon and Dr. Patel are four dads in our practice. We honor them in this newsletter, as well as all the grandads, stepdads, foster dads, uncles, and all others who play that role in a child’s life.

HERO DAD

You are my hero, Dad
You’re my secure foundation.
When I think of you, I’m filled with love
And fond appreciation.

You make me feel protected;
I’m sheltered by your care.
You’re always my true friend; and Dad,
When I need you, you’re always there.

You have a place of honor
Deep within my heart.
You’ve been my superhero, Dad,
Right from the very start.

By Joanna Fuchs 

HONORING OUR TEAM MEMBERS

Every month during our monthly All Teams Meeting we honor team members. We recognize a Most Valuable Player, and we acknowledge team members celebrating work anniversaries with us. To learn more about our team members, visit the Our Team page on our website.

MVP – Dr. Patel

Every month we recognize a different team member who has gone above and beyond for other team members or our patients. This month, we recognize Dr. Patel as a leader who is always willing to help the front desk with treatment planning and chart corrections. He is dependable, flexible, and “simply the best!”

Service Recognition

We are proud of the fact that we have an outstanding team of professionals who have been with Dr. Harvey Levy & Associates for several years. In May, we recognized:

Deborah, our former Practice Manager and currently our Coach, joined our team 34 years ago. Everyone in our practice has come to rely on her calm and professional demeanor and on her ability to find the best solution for any problem.

Kristen, Hygienist, joined our team 18 years ago. She is known for her gentle and loving patience while treating our special needs patients.

Summer is just around the corner and we can taste it! June is when our vegetable gardens really start producing and we’re grilling out almost every night. In June we celebrate freedom from oppression, love for everyone, and our hero fathers! Here are some important days to remember:

Month of June – Pride Month – celebrated annually in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots and bring awareness to efforts to achieve equal justice and equal opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) Americans.

June 5 – World Environment Day – One Day to Save the World. The United Nations established this day of observance in 1972 to raise awareness of environmental issues around the world. A different environmental concern is the focus of each year. This year it is Ecosystem Restoration.

June 14 – Flag Day – The design of the flag as we know it today was adopted by Congress on June 14, 1777. This day celebrates the history and symbolism of the American flag.

June 19 – Juneteenth/Freedom Day – Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 that Texas outlawed slavery and started enforcing the Emancipation Proclamation. This didn’t end slavery in the entire country, but it was the beginning of change. 

June 20 – Father’s Day – The first Father’s Day was recognized in West Virginia on June 5, 1908. It was a memorial to recognize the hundreds of men and fathers who died in the worst mining accident in US History.

June 21 – Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the longest day of the year and astronomically the start of summer. In the Southern Hemisphere, this is the longest night of the year and the start of winter.

June 24 – Midsummer’s Day – Recognizes the midpoint of the growing season
For more fun facts and information about the month of June, check out: https://www.almanac.com/content/month-june-holidays-fun-facts-folklore

KEEPING YOU SAFE

You come to our office to have us maintain your oral health, which of course impacts the health of the rest of your body. We screen your mouth for oral cancer at every doctor exam, and keep your mouth free from infection. Attention to your mouth is what you’d expect from any dentist, but there are two more ways in which we keep you safe.

Infection Control

With our COVID-19 infection control protocols, we keep you safe from germs such as viruses and bacteria that can make you sick. As more people get vaccinated in our area, we are slowly and cautiously lifting some protocols we adopted that went beyond those required by OSHA, the CDC, and the ADA.

Some patients have been asking if we, as a healthcare provider, are allowed to ask our patients about their vaccination status. We ARE allowed to ask, in the same way we ask you about your general health history such as your surgeries, medications, addictions, and allergies. It is important for you to disclose your full medical history to us, so that we can properly treat you and provide emergency care if necessary. What we are NOT allowed to do is to disclose any of your medical history – including your vaccination status – to any party not designated on your HIPAA form, including governmental health care agencies.

Here are a few loosening of restrictions that we’ve already implemented:

  • You’ll be welcomed into our office by the assistant or hygienist who’ll be working with you during your appointment.
  • We’re no longer measuring your blood oxygenation level, to screen for the “silent COVID-19” that affects some asymptomatic patients. If you’d like us to use the pulse oximeter to measure your blood oxygen level, please ask for it.
  • We’re no longer requesting that you both use hand sanitizer and wash your hands. As long as the clinician who escorts you to your seat sees you use hand sanitizer properly, you won’t be asked to wash your hands.
  • You may see some clinicians without head coverings.
  • When performing a dental cleaning using the Cavitron (ultrasound scaler), we may not necessarily use the noisy high volume evacuator machine. If it makes you feel safer, please feel free to request we use it.
  • As you enter the treatment room you’ll be asked to rinse with Listerine instead of diluted hydrogen peroxide solution.

 What hasn’t changed:

  • Pre-screening and “call from the car” protocols.
  • Having to wear a mask inside our premises.
  • Waiting in the hallway and entering our office through Ste 109.
  • Clinician PPE, other than head coverings.
  • Our fogging with HOCl (hypochlorous acid) each treatment room after it was occupied by a patient, and each clinician as they leave a treatment room.
  • Our continual disinfection and cleaning of surfaces used by many people.

 Emergency Protocols

In addition to keeping you safe in our office under normal circumstances, we are also prepared in case a patient feels ill, or there’s a fire, an active shooter, or some other kind of emergency. In May, Dr. Hailemelecot (close to the TV screen, front left) conducted a lunch and learn training session to ensure that all our team members are able to act in tandem to keep everyone safe in case of an emergency. Under the TV screen you can see a mobile emergency cart that enables us to give first aid for the 15 most common medical emergencies. We also have a defibrillator in our office, and we’re all trained to perform CPR.

HUMAN RIGHTS ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Due to the commitment and hard work of everyone in our dental practice, Dr. Harvey Levy & Associates was honored with the 2021 Human Rights Achievement Award, through the Frederick County Human Relations Commission. Every year this award is presented to a business in Frederick County that has provided leadership in the areas of social justice, civil rights and/or assistance and support to those in need. Thank you to a very special patient for nominating us!

In this 3 minute video recorded on May 17, 2021, Dr. Harvey Levy accepted the award on behalf of our dental practice. You can watch it here, or read his remarks below (note, Dr. Levy grew up in New York City.)

Dr. Harvey Levy’s remarks upon acceptance of 2021 Human Rights Achievement Award

My associates, my team members, and I heartfully thank the committee of the Frederick County Human Relations Commission for honoring us today.

This award means the world to us. It validates our mission, adopted when I started our dental practice in Frederick over 40 years ago.

We treat those patients who are not easily accommodated into “normal” dental offices. We began with deaf patients, then opened our doors widely to embrace patients with all kinds of anxiety, disability or special needs, be they mentally challenged, physically compromised, or otherwise underserved and discriminated against. Many drive a very long distance to see us, because it’s so hard for them to find local dentists willing to treat them.

In every interview we conduct, we tell candidates who want to join our team the same thing. We tell them that if they’re biased against any particular group, we are not a good fit for them.

We do not differentiate based on race, religion, age, skin color, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental or physical capacity, physical appearance, wealth, or any other factor used to separate humans into “us” vs “them.” We preach the same thing to everyone, patients and team members alike: Brush and floss your teeth!

We are enriched by the diverse perspectives of our international team. The majority of our team hails from the US, of course, but others came from Brazil, India, Germany, Denmark, Eritrea, Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines, Poland… and even from New York.

We feel strongly that everyone should be working toward social justice, human rights, and assisting those in need. I feel sad that an annual Human Rights Achievement award must even be given.

If we are to serve as an example, then our entire team and I are pleased and proud to play that role. For this opportunity to share, we thank you kindly.

LAST WORDS

As always, please reach out to us if you have any questions, comments, concerns or suggestions! You can link to our FB and other social media through our website, drhlevyassoc.com.

Inspiration for this month: “If something seems impossible right now, find an easier way to do it.” (stated by Greg McKeown in a podcast while speaking about his book, Effortless)

Wishing you a happy and safe start of summer! Stay well, be well, and please get vaccinated if you haven’t yet.

Dr. Harvey Levy & Associates

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