Guest editor Scott Swank, D.D.S., was surprised by some of the submissions the American Dental Association received for the JADA+ COVID-19 Monograph.
"I was expecting submissions of essays, short stories, a few poems — basically that type of material," said Dr. Swank, curator of the Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry and clinical assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry in Baltimore. "I was pleasantly surprised by the breadth of submissions, which ranged from research-type submissions to original works of art. I especially appreciated the art. It shows just how creative dentists are."
The monograph, which will initially include 40 submissions from members of the dental community to chronicle their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, launched March 8 at ADA.org/covidmonograph.
Published submissions include personal essays, paintings, photographs, videos, podcast episodes, creative writing pieces and clinical observations. They are searchable by type and also by region, coming from the South, West, Northeast and Midwest, as well as outside the U.S. Most of the materials were submitted by practitioners.
"I think, overall, the monograph is verifying that the dental community's experience parallels the larger experience," Dr. Swank said. "Many of the submissions demonstrate that while initially feeling defeated, the dental community has risen above the defeatism to provide care in safe dental settings. Just as HIV/AIDS caused changes to dental treatment, dental professionals are adjusting to the changes required in providing dental treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic."
All members of the dental community, including staff, students and patients, were invited to participate in the monograph, and they can still submit items for consideration at ADA.org/covidmonograph. The ADA will continue to update the collection throughout the year with new submissions.
Dr. Swank hopes the monograph will serve important purposes both now and in the future.
"Now, I hope the monograph enables the dental community to view its shared experience. I think there's a cathartic effect in reading how others have persevered during the pandemic," he said. "In the future, I hope the monograph gets preserved as an archive to provide researchers and those who are interested in history a view of how the dental community dealt with this pandemic. Many history entities throughout the U.S. began collecting original stories of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide future generations an authentic personal insight into this pandemic. I hope the JADA+ monograph accomplishes this for the dental community."