Dental oncologist leads National Guard coronavirus testing in Massachusetts

Ryan S. Lee, DDS, a major in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, was called to active duty to lead the administering of more than 30,000 COVID-19 tests to the state's most vulnerable residents.

He manages 18 teams and has helped train 300 soldiers to perform COVID-19 testing in nursing homes, hospitals, homeless shelters and mental health facilities across the state. About 60 percent of Massachusetts COVID-related deaths have occurred in these long-term care facilities, according to John Giordano, DMD, Massachusetts National Guard state dental officer and Dr. Lee's commander.

Dr. Lee, who answered the call to active duty April 3, told the American Dental Association he was completely committed to the state's mission, even as the pandemic has caused him to shut down four practices, furlough his staff members and live apart from his wife and children.

"It was my intent to utilize the talent of my dental officers in this mission. The vast knowledge they [have] in the civilian world augments their military training. This allows them to be flexible, adaptable and a great asset to our National Guard organization," Dr. Giordano told the ADA. "Being well-versed in infection control, patient management and precision-driven procedures, it seemed a good fit for actively engaging them."

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