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A look at ADA accomplishments

Association agencies worked for members, patients: Second in a series

A look at ADA accomplishments
Dr. Rethman

As annual session approaches, the ADA takes account of its year. In this, the conclusion of a two-part series, ADA leaders offer insight on the accomplishments of several ADA agencies from June 2009 to June 2010.

Working for ADA members and the patients they serve, ADA agencies directing work in science, dental practice, education and other areas reported significant accomplishments this year.

"Since all members can’t possibly participate, it's not possible for them to truly comprehend the intensity and quality of work done in their behalf by the ADA's agencies," said Dr. Ron Tankersley, ADA president. "Even ADA officers and trustees are unaware of many of the important member services provided by our agencies. Members' perception of ADA value would be tremendously enhanced if they understood the quality of the work products produced by our world-class staff and dedicated volunteers. As we go forward, we need to tell our story better so that our value will be better appreciated."

"The work of the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs and the ADA Division of Science supports both ADA members and those for whom dentistry exists to serve," said Dr. Michael Rethman, CSA chair. "This year we collaborated with other health agencies and experts worldwide to develop better guidance on premedications for prosthetic joint patients, study perio-systemic links, develop an improved caries classification system, improve communications regarding jaw osteonecrosis and enhance the ADA Seal of Acceptance Program," Dr. Crabtree said.

Science also continued its work on the ADA Professional Product Review and conducted systematic reviews on a variety of clinical topics. It also addressed local, regional, national and international questions on public water fluoridation, dental amalgam and the environment and dental caries with scientific evidence, Dr. Rethman added.

Exemplifying the ADA's mission to be the nation’s leading advocate for oral health, the Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations conferred and collaborated with other organizations that have a positive impact on the delivery of oral health care, said Dr. Mark Crabtree, CAPIR chair.

"CAPIR hosted a symposium on early childhood caries in American Indian and Alaska Native children, laying the foundation to finding solutions to attack the severe caries rates in this vulnerable population," Dr. Crabtree said.

Dr. Crabtree
  Dr. Crabtree
Dr. Oettmeier
  Dr. Oettmeier
Dr. DeSnyder
  Dr. DeSnyder

The council also formed and convened the National Elder Care Advisory Committee to develop strategic goals to guide ADA activities in addressing the oral health needs of the elderly. CAPIR collaborated with the ADA Foundation and the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation to host the third Give Kids A Smile symposium, helping 130 or so participants improve their GKAS programs—an ADA initiative through which nearly 50,000 volunteer dental professionals in 2010 treated more than 325,000 children, Dr. Crabtree added.

Affirming the ADA position that dentists need appropriate codes for every procedure they perform, the ADA Council on Dental Benefit Programs initiated the first ever use of the ADA Code Revision Committee Appeal Committee, said Dr. Bert Oettmeier, council chair.

"We chose to appeal three declined additions to the Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature and took them all the way through the appeals process with the Code Revision Committee," said Dr. Oettmeier. "All were decided in favor of the ADA, showing that the process does work and that the codes accurately reflect what dentists do."

The ADA Council on Dental Practice spent much time at the direction of the ADA House of Delegates reviewing and clarifying workforce policies, said Dr. Jake DeSnyder, CDP chair.

"We have several resolutions to bring to the House next month," said Dr. DeSnyder. "We worked to bring the language up to date and to reflect what's going on in dental practices around the country. It will be a great starting base for discussion."

In response to economic conditions affecting member dentists, CDP also worked to develop and launch an ADA microsite on ADA.org, Dental Practice Hub, Thriving in Today's Economy, that offers resources on economic conditions, communicating with patients, practice management and practice building.

"We offer information on the Dental Practice Hub that we hope will help dentists navigate through the current economy," said Dr. DeSnyder. "And we've had great response from members since it launched last year."

Another significant CDP accomplishment, Dr. DeSnyder added, includes improving relations with the dental laboratory industry and emphasizing more education for dentists and dental students in communicating with lab personnel. "Better training and communication will enable dentists and labs to work with each other more efficiently and effectively."

The ADA Board of Trustees' Electronic Health Record Workgroup, supported by the Department of Dental Informatics, has made significant progress in the development of a dental component of the EHR, said Dr. Robert Faiella, ADA 1st District trustee and workgroup chair.

Dr. Boden
  Dr. Boden
Dr. Meyerowitz
  Dr. Meyerowitz

"The Electronic Health Record Workgroup has met regularly to monitor the activities of the six advisory groups functioning under the Bylaws authority of the appropriate ADA agencies in the development of the dental component of the EHR," Dr. Faiella said. "And the Members Advisory Group will be coordinating a significant educational project for our members regarding the impact of the electronic record on the practice of dentistry."

The focus on ethics in dental practice, education and leadership has been key in ADA accomplishments, said Dr. David Boden, chair, ADA Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs.

"Last year, CEBJA was able to build on the work of previous council members and kick their activities into high gear," said Dr. Boden. "In collaboration with the Council on Dental Education and Licensure and the Council on Dental Practice, as well as the American Student Dental Association and the American Dental Education Association, proper ethical decision-making has been elevated ever higher in the activities of our dental schools, students and members. Our goal continues to be the active permeation of the ADA Code throughout the entire profession of dentistry."

Ethics was highlighted in the ADA Strategic Plan and will be the focus of the 2010 House of Delegates annual session Mega Topic Discussion, Dr. Boden added. "It is important for all ADA members to realize that the ADA Code is highly aspirational, but adherence is rewarded with an enhanced professional reputation for the individual dentist as an American Dental Association doctor."

As practicing dentists continue to learn and adapt to innovations in the profession, more continuing education providers are participating in the ADA CERP program—and the overwhelming majority of providers are satisfied with the application process, said Dr. Cyril Meyerowitz, chair of the ADA Council on Dental Education and Licensure.

"ADA CERP assists members in identifying and participating in quality continuing education activities," said Dr. Meyerowitz. "It's a fairly rigorous process whereby continuing education providers demonstrate that they routinely meet basic standards of educational quality. The number of CERP-approved CE providers continues to grow, and based on our survey results, the CE providers are satisfied with the review process."

The ADA's 150th anniversary celebration at annual session in Honolulu last fall was an overwhelming success for the Council on ADA Sessions, said Dr. Stephen Carstensen, chair.

Dr. Hewett
  Dr. Hewett
Dr. Glick
  Dr. Glick
Dr. Carstensen
  Dr. Carstensen
"We on CAS were very happy to send our final report to the Board of Trustees showing financial results very close to our original targets," said Dr. Carstensen. "Having a meeting in a resort location in a tough economy created lots of challenges that our professional staff and volunteers stepped up and met with enthusiasm, creativity and a solid commitment to maintaining an attendee experience worthy of our 150th celebration. Conference and Meeting Services staff sharpened the pencils over and over and are carrying these lessons on to Orlando and future ADA meetings."

Reaching out beyond the U.S. borders the ADA Division of Global affairs has made significant contributions to global oral health and dentistry, said Dr. Sally Hewett, chair, ADA Committee on International Programs and Development.

"In July, we launched the Adopt-a-Practice: Rebuilding Dental Offices in Haiti campaign to assist our dental colleagues in Haiti in rebuilding clinical facilities following the earthquake," Dr. Hewett said. "Additionally, the Division of Global Affairs produced and maintains the ADA International Volunteer website—a comprehensive directory to global dental volunteering opportunities, which received the 2010 Silver SNAP award from the Association of Media and Publishing. This website includes excerpts from the International Dental Volunteer Guide, which was recently revised to include the most current standards in global volunteering."

In the Publishing Division, The Journal of the American Dental Association and the ADA News tied in 2009 as the best-read dental publication, according to the independent PERQ/HCI study—the first time the two publications tied for the top spot. JADA was also voted one of the 100 most influential biomedical journals of the past century by the Special Libraries Association, and there were 2.7 million downloads of JADA articles in 2009.

"It has been a successful year, but we don’t rest on our laurels," said Dr. Michael Glick, JADA editor. "What matters most is that dentists read and value their journal, recognizing that it helps keep them apprised of the clinical and scientific developments within their profession."

Other division accomplishments include creation of a print Dental Buying Guide packaged with the September issue of JADA and release of 43 new products this year from the Department of Product Development and Sales, including 14 e-books, 26 personalized postcards, Frequently Asked Legal Questions and Starting Your Dental Practice.