Dean's Update: College's response to pandemic


Message from Dean Guthmiller

Dear UNMC College of Dentistry Alumni,

During this unprecedented time in our nation and in our communities, I want you to know that I am thinking of you and your families, and share with you updates about the college’s response to COVID-19.

At the College of Dentistry, we have an important responsibility to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 while exhibiting an unwavering commitment to our students and continuing to fulfill our three-fold mission of preparing future dental professionals to serve Nebraska and beyond, improving the oral health of our communities and advancing scientific discovery.

In addition to the below updates, I will be hosting an online Lunch and Learn where I will discuss the college's current challenges and opportunities and answer your questions. Date and time TBD. You will receive an email invite.

Student and faculty excel with remote learning

Remote learning continues for many courses in order to follow social distancing guidelines and continue to keep our faculty, staff and students safe.
Our faculty have exhibited an unwavering commitment to our students while showing their creativity and passion for oral health education. Many ingenious ideas have surfaced that will forever change the way we teach.
Our students are excelling as they continue on their educational paths. They are helping to pave the way for new methods of learning. 
College of Dentistry alumni have also been part of remote learning efforts through their involvement in an innovative ‘Pandemic Response’ course. Read story.

Patient care resumes in a conservative, phased approach

For the past several weeks, our faculty and resident clinic teams have been providing important emergency patient care services.

As of June 1, we are slowly reestablishing comprehensive patient care in a conservative and phased approach.

We established a clinic reentry task force that developed our current guiding principles, along with the guidelines of the NDA, ADA, CDC, OSHA and our infectious disease and facilities teams from UNMC and Nebraska Medicine. These guidelines will ensure the safety of our faculty, staff, students, patients and our community while allowing us to provide essential oral health care and important clinical educational experiences. 

Highlights of our approach to resuming patient care: 

  • A slow, phased reentry beginning with urgent care and transitional care for patients that are in discomfort or in the middle of treatment. 
  • Faculty practice and resident clinics have begun seeing a limited number of patients.
  • Facilities and infectious disease expert verification for safe delivery of care. 
  • Screening patients on the telephone, at check-in, and in the chair for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Testing patients for COVID-19 infection for any procedures where aerosols will or have a high likelihood of being generated.
  • Four-handed dentistry for all procedures where an aerosol may be generated.
  • Shifts in clinic schedules and clinic layouts to allow for smaller numbers of providers and patients in an area.

We will continue to review our approach to patient care as scientific evidence and guidelines continue to be published and as we learn best practices. 

Research and continuing education

Innovative research is key to our mission to continually improve the oral health of the people of Nebraska and beyond. Research activities have continued, respecting social distancing and other safety guidelines.
Fall 2020 continuing education courses will be offered online. Register now.

We are blessed to have an incredible alumni community that supports our education, patient care and research activities. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the College of Dentistry. Our amazing alumni community is an integral part of what makes our college outstanding.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me.

Wishing you and your families health and serenity.


Janet M. Guthmiller, DDS, PhD
Dean, College of Dentistry