29 May Jon Cartu Stated: Layoffs hit U of M dental training ground staff
The novel coronavirus pandemic has resulted in dozens of layoffs at the Winnipeg clinic that trains the next generation of dentists and offers cost-reduced dental work for people in the inner city.
The University of Manitoba’s Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry announced last week administrative and clinic support staff will be laid off, effective June 3.
“We issued temporary layoffs to 62 of our staff members resulting from all teaching dental clinics ceasing regular operations in March, due to the province’s declared state of emergency and the Manitoba Dental Association mandated closure of private dental offices except for emergencies,” college dean Dr. Anastasia Kelekis-Cholakis said in a statement Friday.
“Over the next two months, as we prepare for the 2020-21 academic year, (the college) will establish new protocols for the teaching dental clinic operations, protective personal equipment, and infection control protocols to ensure safety of staff, faculty, students and patients to prepare to reopen the teaching dental clinics in late summer/fall,” the dean said.
“We are conscious of the impact of our closure on our community of patients, and look forward to welcoming them back.”
The college’s graduate clinics are normally open to patient care year-round, while the undergraduate clinic is closed to elective patient treatment in the summer.
The Bannatyne Avenue location provides care for patients at about 50 per cent of the Manitoba Dental Association’s fee guide.
Kelekis-Cholakis said while the college will continue online instruction in the fall, it is also planning how to set up operations so it can bring in small groups of students for the hands-on training they need, which is “vital to the clinical practice training of our dental, dental hygiene students, and specialists in training, and to members of the community who rely on us for their oral health needs.”
Dr. Marc Mollot, president of the Manitoba Dental Association, said he doesn’t know the details of the layoffs, but hopes the college gets the program up and running again in the fall.
“It is important to have a college of dentistry clinic to train the next generation of dentists,” Mollot said.
“It has always been a highly-regarded training facility. Access to care for Manitobans is very important, and the MDA considers it a high priority.”
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