volume 87 number 2

March - April 2008
Pucker Up - The Effects of Sour Candy on Your Patients' Oral Health

Anatomical Variations of the Lingual Mandibular Canals and Foramina

Taken to Heart: The 2008 MDA President's Interview

Can I Afford to Retire?

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MDA News


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Report from the ADA

Leaders, Teams, and Quality Input

Kathryn Kell, D.D.S.*

Leadership, team building, and collaborations enhanced the ADA efforts this last year concerning issues on access, oral health, and other committees involving dental issues.  At the beginning of the year, the Board spent three days in a leadership retreat, learning about what it means to be an authentic leader. The Board focused on the value of leadership qualities and how to work together as a high performance team. It was a powerful experience for all that will strengthen and improve the Board’s work on behalf of the members.

Indian/Alaska Native Oral Health Access Summit
The first Indian/Alaska Native Oral Health Access Summit was held last November in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico.  Stakeholders gathered to focus on issues impacting access to oral health for these populations.  The theme was “What are we going to do, both individually and collectively, to improve access to dental treatment and prevention strategies that address the oral health of American Indian and Alaskan Native people?”

Participants discussed problems unique to American Indian and Alaskan Native children.  Findings included information such as 95% of four-year-olds have caries, and anywhere from 25 to 50% of young children require treatment in operating rooms that on average are located four hours from their homes. Solutions focus on three areas, including increasing funding and funding sources, staffing, and infrastructure.

There are many short- and long-term goals that will only be effective by overcoming fear and working together. More work is needed with water fluoridation, SCHIP funding, CDHC and OHA workforce models, and building an understanding that there are unique problems in these and other local areas.  The ADA will help by establishing a list-serve group e-mail for participants, communicate the summit progress, “tell the story” of oral health disparities, convene additional strategy groups, and provide progress reports.

Defining Unprofessional Conduct and Sexual Boundaries
Members will also be reading more about unprofessional conduct and sexual boundary guidelines proposed by the American Association of Dental Examiners.  The guidelines are recommendations offered by AADE to assist state dental boards on “sexual boundary” violations involving practitioners and patients. They provide that for purposes of protecting the public, it is incumbent upon dental care practitioners to respect sexual boundaries and ensure that non-professional considerations do not intrude into the practitioner/patient relationship.

Future of Health Care/Universal Coverage Task Force
The Future of Health Care/Universal Coverage Task Force had solid progress at its meeting this winter. They have further defined the draft principles that will form the foundation for the task force’s ultimate recommendations to the House and agreed on a draft list of white paper topics. The draft principles, white paper topics, scenarios, and other foundational material will be shared in the Delegates Digest, and we hope to get good input on the draft principles from state leaders, councils, specialty organizations, public health community, and others. All of this continues to be a work in progress.

The task force also heard an interesting presentation from a medical resident member of the AMA board, summarizing the AMA’s impressively large “Voice for the Uninsured” public campaign. Like us, they are still in the process of analyzing how they will address the anticipated and yet unclear presidential candidate “plans” for health care reform.

More Smiles Given
Thanks to all who so generously participated in our sixth annual Give Kids A Smile® day February 1.  There were 1,796 programs across the country, with nearly 12,000 dentists and 33,000 other dental professional volunteers serving more than 450,000 children. There were many programs in the Tenth District, including my own in the Quad Cities working with the Quad City Health Initiative and the United Way. I would encourage program initiators to visit ADA.org and register programs and/or update statistics. Those who do will be eligible to win $500 that they can put toward their 2009 GKAS program next February 6.

We received great press coverage this year. Our Public Affairs Department is compiling hundreds of Give Kids A Smile® press clippings, both print and broadcast, from across the country that describe many wonderful events, some attended by state legislators or other high profile individuals.

Think Ahead
Also, to remind you, it is never too early to start thinking about developing and submitting your resolutions to the ADA House of Delegates this fall.  The meeting will take place in San Antonio, Texas. All of you, whether you are delegates or not, should consider attending the ADA Annual Session, which is October 16 through the 19. It should be a spectacular array of speakers, exhibits, and other functions of interest to dentists, staff, and families.

Anyone can attend. If you have never been to an ADA House of Delegates, I guarantee that it is a great opportunity to see how your delegates and dental association work for you. I hope to see most of you this spring at your district and state meetings.

As usual, please feel free to contact me if you have questions.

Dr. Kell can be reached at the following numbers.
• (563) 355-6626 (office)
• (563) 355-7637 (fax)
• kellk@ada.org

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

Copyright 2008. Minnesota Dental Association

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