Insight and Outlook

Insight and Outlook

Edward J. Vigna, D.D.S.:

As some you may know, the February meeting of the ADA Board of Trustees is a retreat featuring a guest speaker. Its focus is to assist us in our role as trustees. I will tell you this year we spent as much time on the business of the Board as we did on the educational experience.

Our guest speaker this year was Dr. Elaine Gagne, from Insight Systems. Her message was timely, and our work together was very “insightful”. In short, it helped the Board further clarify the complex issues before us, and most importantly design strategies that will lead us to productive outcomes for our association. You will be happy to know that communications transparency and member leadership were at the top of the list.

Defining and Refining
Dental education was addressed on multiple fronts. After asking for input from various councils, including CAPIR, Communications, CEDL, Dental Practice, CEBJA, CGA, Membership, Scientific Affairs, and CND, the opinion of these councils was unanimous that the term “dental hygiene diagnosis”, found in the accreditation standards for dental hygiene education programs, should be changed to the term “dental hygiene assessment”. The term “dental hygiene diagnosis” remains in the “Definition of Terms” section, and this should also be removed. The Board voted to transmit these comments to CODA. It was also brought to the attention of the Board that ADEA will discuss hygiene diagnosis at their House of Delegates meeting next month.

International Accreditation
There was a quite lengthy discussion regarding international accreditation. This program currently is addressed by a joint commission of the ADA and CODA. During the CODA meeting in January, several requirements were discussed that are difficult for some of the schools outside the U.S. to meet. These include both cultural and academic considerations. CODA would like to explore a policy that would allow for “substantial equivalency” in these areas. In other words, the requirements would be adjusted to take into consideration the noted differences. CODA cannot move forward unilaterally, however. The Board felt strongly that the terms “cultural” and “academic” should be defined, and then a decision would be made to determine if the changes would be acceptable. These will be presented to the House of Delegates for discussion, with changes not being made unless the House gives approval for these “substantive equivalencies”.

Community Dental Health Coordinator Modules
The Board approved a draft licensing agreement for states’ use of the Community Dental Health Coordinator (CDHC) modules. There will be no charge for the modules, but they are the intellectual property of the ADA, and a licensing agreement must be signed. States are permitted to use the modules in their entirety or in part, but must gain permission from the ADA if the name “Community Dental Health Coordinator” is used. The agreements will be made with the state dental associations and should be available soon.

On a secondary note, the CDHC pilot program initially planned for Michigan has been moved to Philadelphia. This has occurred because Dr. Amid Ismail has taken a position as dean of Temple University School of Dentistry and will oversee the program there. The Board also recognized the fact that the CDHC program needs a “home” at the council level, and upon examining the by-laws and description of council responsibilities, felt that CAPIR should head the CDHC project.

From the Contingency Fund
The Board allocated funds from the contingency fund to sponsor the National Summit on Spit Tobacco, another meeting of the Dental Team Task Force, the Evidence-Based Dentistry Conference, and the Executive Director search. Along the same lines, the Board refused an unofficial request from the Council on Annual Sessions for additional funds to supplement the meeting in Honolulu.

Public Affairs Initiative
The Public Affairs Initiative is in the process of conducting three focus groups in response to Resolution 60H that requested we identify opportunities to educate policymakers, the media, and the public regarding the complexity of dental care and the dentist’s unique ability to deliver that care safely and effectively, including the training and education necessary to become a dentist. The first focus group was held in Atlanta. An initial information packet is to be developed for distribution, and ongoing outreach is to subsequently occur. I am sure you will be hearing more, particularly regarding educating key audiences.

Access to Care Summit
CAPIR held an Access to Care Summit in late March. The ADA’s role is to be the convener of groups who would be stakeholders. There was debate regarding the outcome of this summit. Some felt that there should be limited media involvement and discouraged blogging during the session. Others felt that the ADA does not control this summit, and therefore the information should be widely available to anyone who wishes it. CAPIR will take these comments into consideration when finalizing details for the meeting. This will be an outstanding summit, with 144 participants from a variety of stakeholder groups. I had the opportunity to attend, and I look forward to sharing the outcomes of this timely and important discussion.

Well Met
This was a very good retreat with a combination of learning and the continued attention to association business. I assure you the BOT continues to see our direct involvement in the decisions and direction of this association as our first priority.

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. Thank you again for the opportunity to serve you on the Board.

As always, I encourage you comments, so please contact me if I can be of any assistance. I am available at the following numbers:
• Phone: (402) 770-7070
• E-mail: vignae@ ada.


*Dr. Ed Vigna is the Trustee to the Tenth District of the American Dental Association, representing Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.