In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the dental education community should be mindful of the spread of misinformation and bias that fosters the mistreatment or harassment of any persons, particularly individuals of Asian and Asian American descent. At other times in our history (e.g., outbreaks of Ebola, SARS, HIV), ADEA has advised similar calm and precautions to avoid arbitrary and unreasonable reactions to communicable diseases and stereotyping, discriminating against, and blaming any racial/ethnic or other group for their spread. Similarly, due to an increase in reports of harassment and bullying related to the spread of COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Education issued a “Letter to Education Leaders on Preventing and Addressing Potential Discrimination Associated with COVID-19.”
As members of the oral health professions and postsecondary education community, our professional standards dictate that we provide an equitable, inclusive, welcoming and safe environment for all students, residents, fellows, faculty, staff and patients. Therefore, during this critical time, each of us should pause to reflect upon how our individual and collective actions, thoughts and words influence our communities equally impacted by this global health crisis.