Uniting beyond borders

28 February 2018

FDI President Kathy Kell

Dr Kathryn Kell

FDI President

February was very productive for FDI. I attended two of the world’s largest and renowned dental meetings organized in FDI member countries and proudly celebrated 25 years of partnership with Wrigley.

A Brazilian success

This year's 36th São Paulo International Dental Congress (Congresso Internacional de Odontologia de São Paulo – CIOSP) was another remarkable success. The four-day event is the world's largest dental meeting: a staggering 70,000 people attend daily. Planning and delivering the CIOSP event is understandably an enormous logistical and operational challenge. The organizing committee should be extremely proud of themselves for accomplishing this impressive congress. From the diverse range of exhibits, to the excellent scientific programme, and the many opportunities to collaborate with colleagues and other member countries, the meeting could not have been more interesting or enriching. President Wilson Chediek from the Paulista Association of Dental Surgeons (Associação Paulista de Cirurgiões Dentistas - APCD) greeted me graciously and welcomed me at the Opening Ceremony where I extended my greetings on behalf of FDI and attended other events over the following days.

I also attended meetings with the host member country organization, the Brazilian Association of Dental Surgeons (Associação Brasileira de Cirurgiões-Dentistas - ABCD) and their President Dr Silvio Cecchetto. We toured the beautiful, multi-floored, very efficient APCD Headquarters also housing ABCD offices and including APCD's new dental school and clinic, museum of dentistry, many offices, a gym, pool, restaurant and soccer field. Other memorable events were meeting with the Swiss Ambassador Andrea Semadeni who came to celebrate the involvement of the Swiss Business Hub with CIOSP, a dinner and meeting with Mr Paulo Fraccaro, Director of the Brazilian Medical and Dental Devices Manufacturers Association (Associação Brasileira da Indústria de Artigos e Equipamentos Médicos, Odontológicos Hospitalares e de Laboratórios - ABIMO), at his home and then at the ABIMO booth in the exhibit hall to discuss future joint collaborations. During the week, ABCD had their General Assembly, many other events on the exhibit floor, excellent speakers, a discussion on oral health literacy, and plentiful opportunities to see all my friends and colleagues from Brazil and the Latin American region.

As President of FDI, I was pleased to witness the unification of all our member countries in the Latin American Regional Organization (LARO) through signing a Memorandum of Understanding pledging to support each other's involvement in projects and activities, including this year's FDI World Dental Congress (WDC) taking place in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Latin America faces many of the same issues that our members in other regions of the world also confront: regulatory issues with education and licensure, appropriate funding of oral healthcare for all populations, and immigration and workforce issues. Collaborating on projects beyond borders is central to FDI's ethos and we continuously look forward to deepening our involvement in these areas.

Chicago in midwinter

The next meeting I attended was the Chicago Dental Society (CDS) Midwinter Meeting. Having attended annual meetings of the CDS since I was a dental student in the 1970s, it was wonderful to see so many friends from CDS and recall so many memories from past years of working together to make a difference and improve the dental profession and oral health.

Chicago is also the headquarters of the American Dental Association (ADA). Officers of both ADA and FDI met to discuss oral health programmes, methods to improve collaborations, and information on projects with the World Health Organization (WHO) and integrating oral health into general health discussions. Thank you to ADA President Joseph Crowley and President-Elect Jeffrey Cole for your hospitality and especially your membership support over the last century. ADA is one of the founding members of FDI and remains a great supporter of global oral health. Both ADA and CDS are over 150 years old and are always at the forefront of innovation and continuing education. This year's meeting concluded with a special celebratory dinner at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and an opportunity for me to reunite with CDS and ADA colleagues. Thank you to CDS President Dr Louis Imburgia for including FDI in the CDS Midwinter; we look forward to welcoming CDS and ADA members at the upcoming FDI WDC 2018 in Buenos Aires.

25 years of partnership

The FDI Executive Committee was invited to the Wrigley Global Innovation Center in Chicago to celebrate 25 years of partnership between Wrigley and FDI. We attended the official celebration with Allyson Park, Vice President for Global Corporate Affairs, Jens Christmann, Senior Director for Government & Public Affairs, Anne Vela-Wagner, Executive Director for Wrigley Company Foundation, Beth Statkus, Director for Business Translation, Mike Dodds, Senior Principal Scientist for Oral Health, Miguel da Silva, Senior Manager for Government & Public Affairs, and Michelle Green, Senior Manager for Global Category and Brand Communications. A highlight of the celebration was a tour of the building and learning how to make sugar-free gum – wonderful way to celebrate 25 years together!

FDI Executive Committee visits Wrigley Global Innovation Center in Chicago to celebrate 25 years of partnership between Wrigley and FDI.

Thank you Wrigley, for being our oldest partner. Looking back over the past 25 years, Wrigley's unwavering support and commitment to numerous projects and activities has been essential to FDI's progress in leading the world to optimal oral health. We look forward to continuing our great relationship with Wrigley and to another quarter century of partnership.

Prioritizing oral health and NCDs

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is currently organizing the third High-level Meeting on the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (HLM on NCDs) in New York, United States later this year. Although the precise date has not yet been agreed upon, FDI and its partners are advocating for the meeting to take place in September just before the UNGA General Debate convenes in order to maximize the attendance of Heads of States and Government ensuring the highest level of decision makers.

In 2014, at the second HLM on NCDs no Heads of States or Government attended and only six Ministers of Health attended. The 2018 HLM on NCDs represents a critical opportunity to "move the dial" and improve the global response to oral health and other NCDs. I urge all FDI members to reach out to their respective Ministries of Health and governments and request that the HLM on NCDs takes place during September in New York. The UNGA is expected to arrive at a decision on the matter by the end of March.

Bridging the data gap

Standardized data on oral health is often scarce, but it is essential for guiding governments in developing and implementing effective policies for oral health. Acknowledging this information gap, FDI launched the Oral Health Observatory (OHO): a mobile application that conducts oral health surveys with the aim to collect reliable standardized data on oral health and oral healthcare from dentists and patients worldwide.

A proof of concept study project was conducted in 2014 in the Netherlands to test the methodology and validate the approach. The results of the study are promising and I encourage you all to read the published study. This novel study shows that the app is user-friendly and an effective tool for collecting reliable data on oral health in a short period of time.

I wish you all an excellent World Oral Health Day this 20 March.

I will be in Dhaka, Bangladesh with our partner Unilever, who is hosting a special WOHD event, so stay tuned to read about this special WOHD event.

Dr Kathryn Kell

FDI President


New resources

I have some exciting new resources to share with you this month. I hope that you will find them helpful in supporting your activities.

Full-length webcast and detailed proceedings of the FDI-NCD Alliance joint session at FDI WDC 2017

White Paper on Prevention and Management of Periodontal Diseases for Oral Health and General Health

Periodontal Health and Disease - A practical guide to reduce the global burden of periodontal disease


Upcoming travel

World Oral Health Day celebrations in Dhaka, Bangladesh
20 March 2018

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