Disruptions during a pandemic: Gaps identified and lessons learned
Elangovan, Satheesh et al.
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Global disruptions caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) affects all walks of life, and dentistry and dental education are no exceptions. Dental education uniquely blends didactic courses and hands‐on clinical training seamlessly to prepare oral healthcare providers of the future. Apart from economical and access to care implications, closure of all the dental institutions in the United States affects their educational mission greatly, equally disturbing pre‐doctoral and graduate training. Efforts are ongoing to continue the educational mission in dental institutions by delivering scheduled course content remotely using multiple online tools. In spite of those efforts, since clinical experiences cannot be completely replaced by any available alternative method of instruction that is delivered remotely, students are missing out on valuable patient‐based clinical experiences. In this perspective article, we briefly discuss the several implications of COVID‐19, in the context of dental education. We then highlight some of the lessons we can learn from this pandemic which we hope will have several positive implications, including curricular changes, increased public health awareness and preparedness for future public health emergencies.