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ADA leads on access to dental health issues

Dr. Norman opens Washington Leadership Conference

May 20, 2014

By Craig Palmer

ADA leader: Association President Charles Norman opens the Washington Leadership Conference Monday with an overview of the Action for Dental Health report.

Washington—Key opinion leaders view the ADA as a leader on access to dental health issues because of the efforts of member dentists through Action for Dental Health, Dr. Charles Norman told the nation's dental leaders in opening the May 19-21 Washington Leadership Conference.

"As our newly released Report to Congress shows, dentists have been making a difference," Dr. Norman, ADA president, said as the Association released Year One: 2014 A Report to Congress on the Action for Dental Health movement launched May 15, 2013, at the National Press Club.

No sooner was the report released and the WLC underway than media took note. Politico Pulse, a tipsheet "examining the latest in health care policy every weekday morning," reported, "Dentists to Congress: Open Wide—This morning the American Dental Association is trying to persuade Congress to pass a $20 million bill increasing access to dental care with a report highlighting the work dentists have done around the country over the last year. If lawmakers pass Action for Dental Health, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Robin Kelly of Illinois, it'll provide millions to state and local organizations providing dental care to the underserved, ADA says."

A baseline quantitative survey of key opinion makers conducted in the first quarter of 2014 measured their awareness and perception of the ADA as a leader on access to dental health issues, Dr. Norman said. Among the key findings:

*ADA is favored by a 4 to 1 margin as the leading organization to help solve the lack of access to dental care.

Past and Present members of the New Dentist Committee
WLC meet-up: Past and present members of the ADA New Dentist Committee are among those attending the conference. From left are Drs. Timothy Oh (NDC-Maine), Dan Bruce (NDC-Idaho), Rob Leland (past NDC chair-Massachusetts), Irene Marron-Tarrazzi (NDC-Florida) and Cesar Sabates (Florida), member, ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations.
Photos by Bill Geiger

*Nearly 3 out of 4 respondents (71 percent) prefer a "community based approach" led by local dentists to improve access to dental care over the alternative of allowing non-dentists to perform dental care.

*Less than a year after launch and with no advertising budget to support it, a remarkable 14 percent of respondents have heard of Action for Dental Health and of those, 75 percent are aware that the ADA is the driving force behind it.

"These findings clearly indicate that key opinion leaders view the ADA as a leader on access to dental health issues because of the efforts of member dentists through the Action for Dental Health," Dr. Norman told the dental leaders. "Our message is getting out there. ADA is the go to source."

The survey results will be shared with dental society leaders and used internally to continue to shape Action for Dental Health activities but will not be shared publicly, Dr. Norman said.