A Message from Our Dean

Welcome Video

Dean David Johnsen, D.D.S., M.S.Dean David Johnsen

Starting in mid-March, everyone’s lives turned upside down with the coronavius.  The entire team – faculty, staff, students, patients, university administrators, professional groups, and alumni – came through in many ways and over a short time period. None of us could have planned for last spring..  In two weeks, we moved our learning online.  In-person meetings went virtual with Zoom – a platform most of us had not heard of a year before.  The Governor suspended elective procedures, shutting down most dental practices, and we handled emergencies only.  We knew we could either protect the team or protect the financial reserve – we could not do both.  We chose to protect the team. 

That gamble paid off big time on May 18 when patient care resumed fully.  We then had exactly the right team at exactly the right moment to begin to claw our way back.  And the team responded, bringing our faculty and resident practices to about 90% of the previous year and keeping assistants and clinic clerks (essential for predoctoral clinics) busy. 

During that time, simulation – a big part of our curriculum – was put on hold.  As soon as we were allowed, with guidelines of ten students per room at the time, we had simulators all over the building to keep students on track for graduation.  With the loss of two months of clinic time for seniors right before graduation, the patient-intense curriculum at Iowa paid off.  Iowa is in the top five nationally for patient experiences for our predoctoral students and nearly double any Big Ten school of patient experiences in the D4 year. So we only had a couple of students who had not had basic experiences (rung the bell).   We are still scrambling to adapt curricula to get students graduated on time.  Students are responding! 

We are concerned about the stress this is causing and yet, the D1 students produced a lovely video thanking the College for helping them get through this. 

Research is quietly chugging along and may have a record year in grants. 

We are taking the Black Lives Matter movement and national social unrest very seriously.  We are supporting our current students of all backgrounds, continuing our efforts for a diverse college, working to get more people of color interested in Dentistry, continuing discussions on difficult topics, and exchanging ideas on effective role modeling.