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Dental Hygienist Makes the Most of Her Time Away From Clinical Practice

Elaine J. DeBitetto, RDH, a dental hygienist in Concord, Massachusetts, is striving to make the best of her time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elaine J. DeBitetto, RDH, a dental hygienist in Concord, Massachusetts, is striving to make the best of her time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I just want to be productive in a time where we feel so helpless and have limited to no control over what has happened,” she notes.

As such, DeBitetto got busy. Her significant other, David Kindler, a technical staff member at Lincoln Laboratory, and some colleagues decided to create face shields for those on the frontline of treating patients with COVID-19. DeBitetto jumped in to help and the project has been hugely successful. Their team, with the addition of more volunteers and donations for supplies, has made thousands of face shields for local healthcare personnel.

Elaine J. DeBitetto, RDH
Elaine J. DeBitetto, RDH, wearing one of the face shields she helped make to protect healthcare providers.
Elaine J. DeBitetto, RDH, photo
A photograph taken by Elaine J. DeBitetto,
RDH, in her photojournalism project, COVID-19
Doors of Hope.

In addition to helping support the face shield project, DeBitetto decided to explore her creativity with a photojournalism project called COVID-19 Doors of Hope. She photographs friends and neighbors with a long 70 mm to 200 mm lens in order to stay a safe distance apart.

“COVID-19 Doors of Hope gets me up and dressed for the day with purpose. Connecting with friends I’ve been too busy to see and reaching out to people I’ve never met to hear their stories and how they are coping during the pandemic has been an inspiring experience,” DeBitetto explains.

You can see more of her photographs at: https://elainedebitetto.zenfolio.com/p473696962.

Nurses wearing face shields
Nurses wearing the face shields that Elaine J. DeBitetto, RDH, helped fabricate with a group of technical innovators.

A dental hygienist for more than 27 years, DeBitetto graduated from Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene in Boston. She has worked in the private practice of Daniel A. Goldfarb, DMD, in Brookline, Massachusetts, since 1993, where she is committed to providing individualized preventive patient care. A triathlon enthusiast, DeBitetto is a Team Psycho triathlete and competes nationally and internationally in the sport. While the COVID-19 pandemic forced dental practices to close for several months with some beginning to reopen—financially hurting many dental hygienists—there are always bright spots.

Have you done something to offer light during these dark times? If so, Dimensions of Dental Hygiene wants to know! Email Kristen Pratt Machado, executive editor, at: kmachado@belmontpublications.com.

From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. May 2020;18(5):10.

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