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Health center dentists share concerns, advice

Jersey City, N.J.—The 2009 Dental Management Coalition Conference, held here in June, exemplified the organization's four-decade long mission.

DMC not only offers continuing education, resources and support for federally qualified health center dental directors and staff, it also symbolizes 40 years of providing FQHC dental professionals in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (U.S. Public Health Service Region II) with a way to share their questions, concerns and advice with each other.

"This meeting affords us opportunities to learn and discuss our own issues," said Dr. Clifford Hames, dental director, Hudson River HealthCare. Dr. Hames is currently DMC treasurer as well as a past president.

"Health centers provide much needed primary health care, including dentistry, to our nation's poor and uninsured families, many who otherwise could not afford to seek care. DMC is a nonprofit group composed largely of health center dental program leaders, dental providers and support staff primarily from New York and New Jersey who dedicate their professional careers to improving the oral health of individuals residing in medically underserved areas."

This year's conference featured 10 sessions and a potential for its 50-plus attendees to earn up to 16 hours of CE credit. Courses included the keynote address, Quality Care in a Changing Health Care Environment by Susan Walsh, M.D., deputy commissioner for New Jersey public health services; Rapid HIV Testing in the Dental Setting; Medical Emergencies in the Dental Office; Maximizing Dental Clinic Efficiency; Improving Oral Health Care for the Elderly; Filling the Gap between Mental and Dental Health Care; Pediatric Dentistry in a Community Health Center Setting; Pain Management and Medication Management in a CHC Setting; and a discussion of human resource management for CHC dental programs.

Presenters included dental school faculty, public health specialists and dentists who work in health center settings.

"Today, health center dentists collaborate with local private practitioners in many underserved communities to best serve our patients when more general practice access and specialty expertise are needed," said Dr. Hames. "This collaboration ultimately increases access to health center dental appointment systems so more patients can receive primary dental care services. Our annual meetings keep our membership current with the latest research, development and clinical techniques by attending presentations by dental specialists who practice privately and teach academically."

The ADA was a conference sponsor, and provided each attendee with a copy of the poster, Pain Control in Dental Care (made possible through an educational grant from Septodont and published by the ADA), and the OralLongevity DVD and brochure (made possible through an initiative between GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, the ADA Foundation and the ADA).

For more information, visit the DMC web site at www.dmcnet.org.