News Archive


Pandemic Pressures
Committee of 100 Members Help Protect Students & Patients

COVID is completely changing the world we live in. While some dental schools across the country have struggled under the pressures of the pandemic, the LSU Health School of Dentistry (LSUSD) has found advantages in adversity. “Time does not stand still for COVID,” says Dr. Robert Laughlin, interim dean. “During this crisis, LSUSD is implementing the latest technology to make sure our staff is working in the cleanest, most efficient space possible.”

New air purifiers, water filtration systems, automated temperature screening systems and N-99 masks are keeping the LSUSD community as safe as possible. Under Dr. Laughlin’s direction, the school’s leadership has also revamped the screening process for patients to ensure an adequate patient base for students and residents while helping to increase clinic revenue.

The Jade Air Purification System is one of the most advanced and effective purifying systems on the market today. “Almost three dozen of these purifiers are in our dental clinics and other high-traffic areas to ensure surgically clean air,” says Dr. Laughlin. The sophisticated system, which is carefully placed so that air does not blow from one person to another, captures dust and virus particles and expels the new cleaner air into the room. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, air cleaners and HVAC filters help reduce airborne contaminants. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of portable air cleaners, like the Jade Air Purification System, to supplement increased HVAC system ventilation and filtration. The medical-grade air purifiers are also very quiet.

Critically important, LSUSD has also installed a new water filtration system in its dental clinics. The EcoloxTech 240 filtration system disinfects the water used in dental procedures in a non-toxic way, thereby protecting students, faculty and other patients from viral infections. The system allows staff to generate electrolyzed water on-demand, proving to be both convenient and safer than other cleaning products. When speaking about the new filtration system, Dr. Laughlin says, “Regular water is not going to kill COVID. This water filtration system kills it and is used during dental cleanings and procedures.”

Fog-spraying systems, attached to the new water filtration system, are also available in the clinics. These foggers emit droplets of hypochlorous acid, which is 100 times more efficient than bleach at killing bacteria and viruses and is safe enough to sanitize surfaces, dental instruments and prostheses.

Two additional safety guards are the newly produced N-99 masks made with the school’s new state-of-the art 3D Digital Printer and the artificial intelligence temperature screening systems.

The mask initiative is a joint effort of the departments of oral and maxillofacial surgery and prosthodontics. All faculty, staff, students and residents who treat patients already have their own custom-fit masks. The masks will also be available for purchase in the near future for dental professionals in the community.

The two automated temperature-screening systems, placed at the entrance of the school’s two clinic buildings, provide a hands-free way to gauge the temperature of every individual entering the school. A temperature with a pass or fail notice appears in three seconds and those with a fever will be asked to re-schedule their visit.

These new safety features at the dental school are part of a broader effort to stymie any financial impact that the institution could have from the financial fallout from COVID. LSUSD leadership is working diligently to improve patient screening processes to ensure that our students and residents have an adequate patient base to fulfill their educational requirements during the pandemic. These

improvements have resulted in a much-needed added benefit as well—a 20% increase in clinic income to help address our budget challenges.

Due to the support of our faculty, staff and students, we have experienced minimal operational losses, furloughs, or layoffs. Students and residents are able to continue their education in a pristine, clinically clean environment. These safety upgrades have allowed LSUSD to stay within the 20 percent of schools nationwide that are fully operational without extended hours. A recent survey of U.S. dental schools revealed that more than half of the respondents are considering extended school hours to meet their educational obligation to students. According to Dr. Laughlin, LSUSD has been successful due to the proactive stance of its faculty, students and residents. “We got ahead of the COVID crisis quickly,” he said.

We extend a special thanks to our alumni and friends who give back to support our mission. A large percentage of the purchases to strengthen our clinics is due to the generous donations of our Committee of 100 members. The Committee of 100, established in 1995, is comprised of a group of individuals and organizations who contributed $10,000 each to help fund critical needs of the dental school. Their commitment has allowed the school to enhance clinics, classrooms and other initiatives over the years. We are grateful for their support.





Meet the New Head of Pediatric Dentistry

Jeff Johnson, DMD joined the LSU Health School of Dentistry in August as the new head of Pediatric Dentistry. Prior to coming to LSUSD, Dr. Johnson worked as the Director of the Graduate Program in Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center. Dr. Johnson received both is DDS and certificate of pediatric dentistry from the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center in 2001 and 2003 respectively. Dr. Johnson also holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of Kentucky, College of Public Health. For 14 years – from 2006 to 2020 – He was in private practice specializing in pediatric dentistry in Danville, Kentucky. We welcome Dr. Johnson to LSUSD.


Longtime Educator Receives Copping Award

Every year during the commencement ceremony, the Allen A. Copping Excellence in Teaching Award is presented to one faculty member in each of the six schools of LSU Health New Orleans. This year, the Dental School award recipient was James P. Tomaszewski, DDS, Who worked as LSUSD as an assistant clinical associate professor in clinical comprehensive and operative dentistry for 24 years. Dr. Tomaszewski started working at LSUSD in 1996 and retired in May. 



LSUSD Faculty Member Receives Award

Assistant Clinical Faculty member, Kay Jordan, DDS, MAGD was the recipient of the 2020 Academy of General Dentistry’s Faculty of member of the year award. The AGD 2020 Faculty Member of the Year was presented to Dr. Jordan for her exceptional overall support and guidance of students. LSU Chapter Chair Rachel Robinson says, “Dr. Jordan has gone above and beyond by instilling excitement and engagement in both new and existing members by helping to organize and coordinate events. She holds the chapter student leaders accountable. Her involvement is admirable, especially considering her own personal obligations outside of the organization. In a matter of four years, we have established almost 200 members and continue to grow every year.” Congratulations on this award! 



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Last Update 9/2020