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ADA 2015 kicks off with Opening General Session

November 16, 2015

By Jennifer Garvin


2015 Distinguished Speaker Series: From left, Tim Seitter, vice president of oral care business for Church & Dwight; journalist Eleanor Clift; journalist Charles Krauthammer; and ADA President Maxine Feinberg participate in a Q&A session. Photos by EZ Event Photography
For the first time in two decades, the nation's capital hosted the Association's annual meeting.

"I can't imagine a better place for us to gather," said ADA President Maxine Feinberg as she welcomed attendees Nov. 5 to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center during the Opening General Session and Distinguished Speaker Series, the official kick off of ADA 2015 – America's Dental Meeting.

"We make a powerful statement here in Washington, D.C., and across the country when we come together," said Dr. Feinberg. "We show that we are united."

Presenting the 2015 Distinguished Speaker Series was Church & Dwight, makers of ARM & HAMMER, Spinbrush and ORAJEL oral care products. Representing the company was Tim Seitter, vice president, Oral Care Business, who introduced the event's speakers, political columnists Eleanor Clift of the Daily Beast and Charles Krauthammer, M.D.  
 

Next in line: ADA President-elect Carol Gomez Summerhays speaks to the crowd at the Opening General Session.
The morning program included remarks by Dr. Carol Gomez Summerhays, ADA president-elect, and presentations of the 2015 Humanitarian Award to Dr. Francis Serio and the Gold Medal for Dental Excellence in Dental Research to Dr. Steven Offenbacher.

The unity theme continued with Dr. Summerhays, a native Californian, who compared the strength of organized dentistry with her state's beloved redwoods. Like those trees, she said, the profession thrives from "its strong network of mutual support."

"Together we're going to keep American dentistry the gold standard for the world."

Dr. Serio, the Humanitarian Award recipient, was honored for more than three decades of service, including founding the Dominican Dental Mission Project, which has provided more than $15 million worth of needed dental care and dental and medical supplies to more than 60,000 people in the Dominican Republic.


Recognition: ADA President Maxine Feinberg presents Dr. Francis Serio with the 2015 ADA Humanitarian Award Nov. 5 for accomplishments including the founding of the Dominican Dental Mission Project.
"I am humbled by this recognition but stand here to encourage those of you out there who want to do this type of thing, here or abroad, to be Nike about it: Just do it.

"The hardest step is the first one."

The Gold Medal Award, cosponsored with Church & Dwight, was established in 1985 and is presented every three years. When presenting Dr. Offenbacher with the award, Dr. Feinberg noted that Dr. Offenbacher, a fellow periodontist, has a license plate that says "Top Gum."

"I'm jealous I didn't think of that first," she said.

Dr. Offenbacher was awarded the Gold Medal for his groundbreaking and pioneering work showing the relationships between periodontal disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes and periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease.


Groundbreaking: Dr. Steven Offenbacher accepts the Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Dental Research Nov. 5. Dr. Francis Serio also accepted the 2015 ADA Humanitarian Award at the Opening General Session.
"It has always been a dream of mine to champion the message that dentistry is connected to the rest of the body and to the field of medicine," said Dr. Offenbacher, who described winning the award as the "high point of my career."

The two speakers, Ms. Clift and Dr. Krauthammer participated in a Q&A session moderated by Dr. Feinberg and Mr. Seitter of Church & Dwight.

"For the fourth consecutive year, we have the privilege of sharing the stage with this distinguished panel and to speak about our ongoing commitment to providing the best in oral care," said Mr. Seitter.

Ms. Clift is the Washington correspondent for The Daily Beast and frequent contributor to the public affairs television show "The McLaughlin Group." Dr. Krauthammer is a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist and contributor for Fox News. The two panelists tackled issues that included the Islamic State, gun control, Social Security, the U.S. and world economies, and of course, the topic most dear to an audience filled with dentists: health care.

While on opposite sides of the political spectrum, the journalists were generous to each other. The most contentious exchange occurred at the end: Dr. Krauthammer earned thunderous applause for confidently declaring he believed Obamacare would be repealed before the next president takes office in 2016.

"Obamacare is not here to stay," said Dr. Krauthammer.

Just as confidently, Ms. Clift shot back, "Dream on. Invite me back [to the ADA meeting] when Obamacare is repealed."

Dentists convene: The crowd at the Distinguished Speakers Series laughs and applauds during ADA 2015. More than 21,000 people attended ADA 2015 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington.