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Editor's note: Stop, look, and listen

July 1, 2020
Jackie Sanders, MBA, RDH, Chief editor, RDH magazine

Note: The title is a reference to a children’s lesson of how to cross the street, though there is great music out there with the same title.

On March 14 I would stop leaving my home. We were advised that the lack of interaction would decrease the spread of the contagious COVID-19 virus and save lives. What many of us found is that life would slow down. Only then did we realize we had been going at a speed that was out of control. We were provided the opportunity to connect with our loved ones, make long-term memories, reflect on our personal path in life, and determine if we were ready for change with a newfound focus.

I was fortunate to be able to work from home, but I began to look at my professional position in a new way. At RDH we continued the normal flow of content in the magazine. We made sure our readers were kept informed and our sponsors were supported. We managed our newsletters: the weekly RDH eVillage, the monthly RDH Graduate, and the new Morning Briefing. We made sure to provide our readers with the continual changes of information about COVID-19 from the CDC, OSHA, ADHA, ADA, and all other sources that were providing direction and guidance. I began to realize how many dental professionals were looking to us for their updates.

While screening numerous article submissions and reading a multitude of news feeds, my team was challenged with the task of postponing RDH Under One Roof to October. We had to reschedule and coordinate communications with the registrants, exhibitors, and scheduled speakers, all while taking your needs and requests into consideration. We once again realized the impact that RDH Under One Roof has on so many lives.

Things then began to settle ever so slightly. But as practices began to reopen, we would be faced with another devastating occurrence. We would all witness the murder of George Floyd. What followed was a mass outpouring of emotion and protesting, allowing all colors to join together and have their voices heard as one. We needed to stand up and deliver a message that kept being missed.

The events provided me the opportunity to listen to the real message and determine where I fit into the solution. I would spend numerous hours reading, talking to friends, and trying to determine what I could do. I was one person, but I finally realized that this is where change starts—with people doing their individual parts. My change would be my commitment to learn more, listen closer, and create safe spaces for all, including hygienists who were Black, Native American/Indigenous American, and other persons of color.

A simple lesson of stop, look, and listen provided safety when I was young. I didn’t realize this lesson would come back to me so powerfully as I tried to determine why I was so sad, why I was so confused, and what I could do to help. 

These have been challenging times. When you stop and reflect on where you have been, there is always someone you can thank for making the journey a little more fun, for making things a little less stressful, or for supporting your turning point for change. I thank my family, who listened to my heart, and my friends, who shared tear-filled conversations. I want to express the most sincere thank you to the RDH team of individuals. They have shown their ability to accept challenges, work harder, define great solutions, and put in extra time to provide you the most current information as quickly as possible. And a special thank you to my mom, who taught me to stop, look, and listen!

Cherishing the new path,
Jackie Sanders, MBA, RDH
Chief Editor

About the Author

Jackie Sanders, MBA, RDH | Chief editor, RDH magazine

Jackie Sanders, MBA, RDH, has over four decades of continual career development and experience in dentistry. As the chief editor of RDH magazine, she strives to remain a proactive personality in the continual advancement of the profession. She has been defined as a motivated trendsetter and dependable colleague and is inspired by her true passion of helping others to achieve their personal goals. 

Updated February 28, 2022