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Experts focus on prevention at historic summit

December 09, 2013

By Stacie Crozier, ADA News staff

Future eyed: Durell Fox (left), Minority AIDS Initiative-New England HIV Education Consortium project director at University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Lois Thetford, lecturer, University of Washington School of Medicine MEDEX Northwest Physician Assistant Program, participate in the November summit aimed at developing a framework for action on oral disease prevention.

ADA leaders: ADA President Charles H. Norman participates in group discussions as a member of the ADA Board and Councils stakeholder group.

Working to transform concepts into actions, about 120 experts gathered in Chicago Nov. 18-20 to develop an overarching approach to disease prevention to alleviate the nation's oral health crisis.

The purpose of the historic 2013 Prevention Summit: Advancing America's Oral Health called on representatives from 11 key stakeholder groups to “develop a framework for action that leverages today's opportunities, represents strategic choices, takes full advantage of multi-stakeholder engagement and includes plans for sustainability and accountability.”

“The ADA-convened summit brought 11 diverse stakeholder groups to brainstorm how dental disease prevention can play a bigger role in solving America's dental health crisis,” said ADA President Charles H. Norman, representative for the ADA Board and Councils group. “I was proud to be a part of this historic gathering, which met to exchange ideas, discuss strategies and outline solutions on how to improve dental education and disease prevention on behalf of the American public.”

Though some participants' arrivals were delayed in the aftermath of storms and tornados in the Midwest, their enthusiasm was not deterred. Stakeholder participants rolled up their sleeves to reimagine a shared vision of oral health prevention, analyze opportunities and challenges; and discuss issues from the financing and economics of oral health to four common dental conditions—dental decay, periodontal disease, facial trauma/injuries and oral cancer.

Stakeholder groups included academia/research, ADA leadership, foundations, general dentists/dental team/specialties, health promotion/disease prevention, industry, nondental health care providers, patient advocates, policymakers, third party payers and tripartite (state) dental associations.

Several organizations sponsored the summit, including gold sponsor Colgate.

Industry dialogue: Ivan Lugo, Procter & Gamble Co., right, and Eric Shirley, Midmark, discuss prevention issues during a small group session.

Health promotion experts: Dr. Myron Allukian, center, makes a point during a small group discussion. Listening are Dr. Steve Levy, left, and Dr. Caswell Evans.

“Prevention is one of the most effective ways of reducing oral disease and continues to be a major focus of oral health improvement and disease control,” said Dr. Fotinos S. Panagakos, global director of scientific affairs, Colgate-Palmolive Co. “Colgate, a global leader in oral care, was honored to provide support for the Prevention Summit, and looks forward to partnering with the ADA and the other organizations which participated in the event as the strategies developed are implemented.”

Other sponsors for the summit include silver sponsors DentaQuest Foundation and the California Dental Association; and bronze sponsors ADA Foundation, Delta Dental and the Dental Trade Alliance. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Patterson Dental and Legacy provided additional support.

Several stakeholder group representatives weighed in on the historic summit and how their groups can engage in making sustainable plans to make disease prevention a reality.

“The ADA Prevention Summit was an important effort that brought together a group of individuals, who collectively comprised some of the current best thinkers about prevention of oral disease in the world,” said Dr. Robert J. Weyant, professor and chair, University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine Department of Public Health and representative from the academia/research stakeholder group. “This unique opportunity served to begin a conversation and planning process that will ultimately lead, I am sure, to a significant jump forward in how we approach oral disease prevention in the U.S. This summit's goal of initiating a comprehensive redesign of how the profession approaches prevention represents one of the most important activities in which the dental profession or any health profession can engage.”

“All of the stakeholders want to have a collective impact on the health of all of our citizens,” said Dr. Gary Davis, a general dentist in Shippensburg, Pa., and representative of the general dentist/dental team/specialties stakeholder group. “As dental team members we know that we cannot drill, fill and extract our way out of the current dental health crisis. We are all here in an atmosphere of trust and openness to learn from each other, to dream about what can be and through consensus to generate a few high level goals and strategies that would have a significant preventive impact.”

Brainstorming: Ralph Fuccillo, president, DentaQuest Foundation, shares thoughts with the foundations stakeholder group.

“The summit was a great beginning to what the dental industry hopes will be far-reaching collaboration to develop specific goals on preventing mouth disease,” said Gary W. Price, president and CEO, Dental Trade Alliance and representative for the industry stakeholder group. “We are committed to the premise that access to oral health care should be expanded and that improving oral health literacy is crucial. We believe that expanding programs to educate the public on the lifelong benefits of preventing mouth disease and receiving regular care from an oral health professional is essential to any prevention effort.”

“Participating in this summit gives our group an opportunity to share our experience in prevention,” said David Krol, M.D., senior program director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and representative for the nondental health care providers stakeholder group. “It also allows us to consider efforts that benefit both oral and overall health and to encourage our colleagues to consider oral health in other prevention efforts.”

“Recognizing that the burden of disease, the associated costs and the particular challenges of health literacy overwhelmingly impact economically, ethnically and racially diverse communities, the patient advocate group not only embraces the necessity of addressing oral health issues as part of overall health, but also believes we are in a unique position to contribute demonstration sites for studying the efficacy of prevention models by casting broad and narrow nets across these communities,” said Beth Truett, president and CEO, Oral Health America and stakeholder group representative. “We see these models operating as community clinics, FQHCs, school-based settings and private practices that have a mission to reach a high percentage of underserved people.”

“The Medicaid-CHIP State Dental Association is thrilled to be part of a national movement aimed at improving the oral health of all Americans,” said Mary E. Foley, R.D.H., executive director, Medicaid-CHIP State Dental Association and representative for the policymakers stakeholder group. “We believe primordial and primary prevention strategies must be implemented and embraced by all oral health stakeholders in order to effectively achieve our shared goals.”

“Dental benefits carriers are well aware of the importance of prevention,” said Dr. Ron Inge, vice president and dental director, Washington Dental Service and representative for the third party payer group. “Our role is to contribute to the creation of a new integrated health system that is evidence-based and focused on prevention and individual risk. We feel it is imperative that we seek innovative ways to move to a chronic disease model that empowers patients to understand their individual risk, engage in self-management and work with an integrated health care team that uses primary prevention to optimize oral and overall health across the lifespan.”

“The Prevention Summit was an important gathering of leaders from throughout dentistry and the oral health community,” said Peter DuBois, executive director, California Dental Association and representative of the tripartite stakeholder group. “It created a significant foundation for innovative approaches to prevention efforts and re-energized the oral disease prevention movement.”

Stakeholder representatives plan to release an executive summary from the summit this month that will include the overarching goal identified at the summit, potential strategies and initiatives to achieve the goal as well as next steps to be taken.

“Stay tuned in the coming months,” said Dr. Norman. “Summit participants will release a detailed report on how the framework established during the meeting can enhance prevention through actionable outcomes down the road.”