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Aug 31, 2020

By Ricky E. Harrell, DMD, MA, Tammy Cagle, EdD, MBA, Randy Kluender, DDS, MS, Carla Nunez, DMD, Gabriela Herrera, DMD, MS, Joe Asercion, DDS, MS, Noam Green, DMD, MS, Sergio Real, DMD, MS, Howell Lewis, DMD and John W. Stockstill, DDS, MS – On Aug 23, 2020 –

The following clinical model was developed in response to the local and global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on orthodontic residency education. Specifically, this model was created in anticipation of a significant interruption in the clinical and educational mission of the Georgia School of Orthodontics (GSO). A proactively generated plan was implemented that has allowed the didactic, clinical, and research components of the program to be operated with minimal interruption. The following description is offered as a functional substitute for orthodontic residency programs to be used during the current (and any future) disruption.

Didactic Modifications

The anticipated spring and summer 2020 didactic curricula for PGY1, PGY2, and PGY3 residency classes at GSO consisted of 256 total contact hours. This curriculum was designed in such a way that the didactic courses would be offered in a classroom setting with regularly scheduled lectures given by GSO faculty and resident presentations as assigned. This schedule was followed without interruption until March 23, 2022, when most orthodontic residency programs in the United States were closed due to the pandemic. Once this disruption occurred, an immediate contingency plan was implemented by the faculty and administration in order to facilitate any emergency patient assistance needed, and to seamlessly continue the didactic responsibility of the program for all three classes without interruption. This transition from a traditional classroom didactic schedule to that of a “virtual classroom” schedule was designed to “front load” all of the didactic coursework originally scheduled for the spring and summer semesters. Residents and participating faculty were able to access the scheduled coursework and participate in the virtual classroom by utilizing RingCentral, a meeting platform routinely used for teleconferencing and virtual presentations. The lectures and presentations were arranged and administered by Tammy Cagle, EdD, MBA, GSO’s research coordinator and orthodontic residency program coordinator with assistance from Aaron Van Wormer, GSO’s director of internet technology.

All weekly schedules were created and dispensed at least 7 weekdays in advance, and an “invitation to participate” was sent out by Cagle to all pertinent lecturing faculty and residents. This invitation was used to provide all recipients with a starting time for specific lectures and acted as a reminder for that week’s didactic schedule. This RingCentral system enabled all users to visually see the PowerPoint lecture being given and allowed the residents and faculty to verbally respond to the lectures as needed or desired. As configured, the system did not require the residents or faculty to be in one physical location, such as the classroom, but did allow for everyone participating to be completely involved in the lecture within their own living area (within or outside of the US, depending on the location of the participant).

Each didactic course scheduled for the spring and summer semesters consisted of a predetermined number of contact hours with each contact hour representing a percentage of time needed to satisfy the curriculum requirements (Table 1). That is, for a 1-hour credit course, 15 contact hours would be needed to satisfy the semester requirements of 1 credit (15 contact periods = 1 credit hour).

Click Here for original article including sample didactic course schedules

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