New and Approved

New and Approved

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

New Executive Director/COO is Named
By now I am sure most of you have heard the good news about our new Executive Director/ Chief Operating Officer of the American Dental Association. The Board of Trustees is very pleased that Dr. Kathleen O’Loughlin has accepted the position. Dr. O’Loughlin comes with great credentials and a rich, varied background.

Kathleen T. O’Loughlin, D.M.D., M.P.H., of Medford, Massachusetts, will begin her duties June 1, 2009.

Dr. O’Loughlin brings a wealth of experience in several related oral health fields: 20 years in private general dental practice and public health dentistry, ten years as a dental educator, and a decade of demonstrated expertise in senior management, strategic planning, and operations for large business.

Before joining the ADA, Dr. O’Loughlin worked briefly for United Healthcare as its Chief Dental Officer. Prior to that work, she consulted with Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, where she led a curriculum development initiative in preparation for the expansion of the dental school facility. Dr. O’Loughlin’s higher education experience includes serving as a course director for Tufts School of Dental Medicine and as an advisor to the president of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Boston, Massachusetts, where she was responsible for developing a Master’s in Public Health program, overseeing the Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene 2009 CODA Accreditation as well as planning the expansion of the dental hygiene program to the Worcester Campus.

From 2002-2007, Dr. O’Loughlin served as president and CEO of Dental Services of Massachusetts, Inc. (d/b/a Delta Dental of Massachusetts) where, through her leadership, the company doubled its reserves, grew membership by 400%, and executed a dramatic five-year growth plan. Also during her leadership, Delta Dental of Massachusetts made charitable contributions of $53 million, which included endowed professorships at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston University School of Dental Medicine, and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science. She served as the president of the Oral Health Foundation of Massachusetts, and holds the rank of Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of General Dentistry at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.

Her education credentials are quite impressive. Dr. O’Loughlin earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine, summa cum laude, from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine; a Master’s degree in Public Health, Health Care Management from Harvard University School of Public Health; and a Bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in biology from Boston University.

For more than 25 years, Dr. O’Loughlin has been an active member in the American Dental Association and the Massachusetts Dental Society, where she held several volunteer leadership positions including in the Yankee Dental Congress, held annually in Boston.

The search for a new Executive Director began 11 months ago. From the outset, the Board of Trustees committed to conducting a nationwide search to find the most qualified candidates available. The response was overwhelming. Resume´s from member dentists and heads of industry, working both in non-profit and for-profit entities, from all across the country were submitted for consideration by the ADA. The Search Committee, comprised of nine trustees, five members of the House of Delegates, an ADA past president, a constituent society executive director, and a member of academia (a dental school dean) reviewed applications from qualified candidates meeting the minimum job requirements. The ADA president and president-elect served as ex-officio members of the committee. This Search Committee of dedicated volunteers identified a long list of select candidates to interview, and over the next several months conducted a series of extensive interviews working around both the Annual Session and the year-end holidays. In December 2008, after multiple meetings and careful consideration, the Search Committee presented a slate of the top candidates to the Board of Trustees at their December Board meeting. In the first week of 2009, the Board began an in-depth series of interviews with that select group of candidates. After careful and considered deliberation, Dr. O’Loughlin was selected. Please join me in welcoming her as our new ED/COO.

Well Cultivated and Going Green
Other topics of interest from the April Board of Trustees meeting are as follow:
Electronic Health Record (EHR). The Obama administration has made this a priority. The biggest obstacle will be the misunderstanding of what constitutes an Electronic Health Record. The most common misunderstanding is that it is an electronic patient chart. The ADA Board and councils are working on definitions and quality measures as they relate to the dental side of the EHR.
Mega Discussion on Mid-level Providers. I don’t have anything to add to this that you don’t already know. This is a topic that is dominating the discussion in many states and will continue to require our attention. Dr. Jamie Sledd gave a very informative report of all the activity and travels of those working on the Dental Therapist program. Later in the meeting Dr. Lee Jess and University of Minnesota School of Dentistry Dean Patrick Lloyd made presentations to the Board. Dean Lloyd gave us an in-depth look at the University of Minnesota program, and Dr. Jess filled us in on the legislative activity. Although the Board was unable to provide any additional funding for the Minnesota media campaign through the State Public Affairs Program, we continue to support the actions of the MDA in this crucial effort to provide the best and safest delivery of care in Minnesota.
Report from American Student Dental Association. ASDA President Tim Moriarty updated the Board on their activity. ASDA has prepared an outstanding White Paper on Ethics. These future dental professionals are committed to improving the ethical dilemma facing dental education.
Minnesota again entered the Board discussion when I introduced a proposal to establish a new Golden Apple category to recognize, in a tangible manner, a dental entity which has made a significant environmentally positive improvement in some aspect of its operation. This idea was given to me by Dr. Mike Till based on an article that appeared in Northwest Dentistry: “The Green Dental Office” (Northwest Dentistry, March-April 2008). The BOT supported the idea, and we will be giving a new award called the Green Apple Award, also the suggestion of Dr. Till. Thanks for the great idea, Mike!
Health Care Reform remains the 800-pound gorilla in the room. We are continually asked if we are at the table. Yes, we continue to position dentistry to be engaged in the debate if and when we understand what that reform will look like and how it could affect dentistry. May 11-13 was the annual Washington Leadership Conference. We asked all attendees to stress the importance of the “Essential Oral Health Care Act of 2009” to their congressional delegations. A small government investment in three areas specified in this bill can make a significant improvement in the oral health of all Americans. They are:
(1) Mend the tattered Medicaid safety net by improving the dental Medicaid program.
(2) Adequately fund proven oral disease prevention and wellness programs.
(3) Rebuild the dental public health infrastructure, which includes recruiting and retaining dentists who are competent in public practice.
What an interesting time for our profession and to serve on the ADA Board. I continually appreciate the opportunity to serve all of you.
Please contact me at or (402) 770-7070.
Have a great Spring.

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