When DANB and the DALE Foundation first announced a collaboration with the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) on a comprehensive infection control education and certification initiative — including the three-step OSAP-DALE Foundation Dental Infection Prevention and Control Certificate Program™ — it was met with excitement by many who were eager to start taking the program’s first two available steps.
With the program’s third and final step, the eHandbook Assessment, now available as well, those who have been working to complete the program are proudly beginning to earn their certificates.
Proud to earn certificates
Valarie Caulfield, FAADOM, a practice administrator in Spokane Valley, Washington, completed the program shortly after the third step was made available.
“It’s an honor to be among the first to do so,” shares Caulfield, who has approximately 30 years of experience in the dental industry, with 28 years as a practice administrator.
Jeannie Yoon, D.D.S., who works in Fort Defiance, Arizona, also feels proud to have reached this milestone. “I’m excited to be one of the first to complete the certificate program,” she agrees.
Dr. Yoon’s interest in the program was piqued when she came across a mention of it on the OSAP website. “I was looking for professional-development opportunities. Part of my job as a supervisor of a 24-chair dental clinic at an Indian Health Service hospital is to be an expert on the topic of infection control. I knew immediately that this certificate would be a good fit for me and my goals to run an efficient and well-organized infection control program.”
Caulfield completed the OSAP-DALE Foundation Certificate Program as part of fulfilling a Mastership requirement through the American Association of Dental Office Management. Now that she holds the OSAP-DALE Foundation certificate, Caulfield is sure that it was the right step for her, and she recommends it to all her colleagues as well.
“It’s imperative that office managers and the entire clinical team go through this program,” Caulfield believes. “I tell my colleagues this program would benefit them greatly, because infection control knowledge and protocols are ever-changing. We always have to be up-to-date on the latest information, for our own protection and obviously for the protection of our patients, our No. 1 responsibility.”
Critical for the new normal
Especially now, Caulfield adds. She believes she earned the certificate at an ideal time. “This is a new normal,” Caulfield continues. “It’s ironic that I took this three-step program, and then all of a sudden, COVID-19 hit. Now more than ever, it is important to have a working knowledge of the basics of infection control.”
Dr. Yoon agrees COVID-19 has newly emphasized that infection control expertise is critical. And she believes the OSAP-DALE Foundation Certificate Program is particularly valuable because it has immediate applications for any dental clinic.
“The certificate program really reinforced my knowledge and has given me an appreciation of the importance of everyone’s roles in ensuring that our patients can trust us to provide the most up-to-date, evidence-based infection control for every visit,” says Dr. Yoon, who also has recommended the certificate program to her staff.
“I really appreciate that OSAP and the DALE Foundation have come together to provide such specific education through this certificate program,” Dr. Yoon concludes.
The OSAP-DALE Foundation Certificate Program is based on federal standards and evidence-based guidelines, was developed by leading infection control experts, and was reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Oral Health. The OSAP-DALE Foundation Certificate Program is focused on the application of Standard Precautions, as addressed in guidance documents for dental providers published by CDC in 2003 and 2016 and in the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. For interim guidance related to precautions to take based on the COVID-19 pandemic, go to dentalinfectioncontrol.org/resources/ coronavirus-resources-for-dental-professionals/.