Fostering dialogue and collaboration

25 July 2018


President's Letter July 2018 - Fostering dialogue and collaboration

FDI President Kathy Kell

Dr Kathryn Kell

FDI President

While spending time with our members and partners in Colombia and the United States, I was reminded once again of the importance of working together to tackle oral health challenges.

Highlights from Colombia

I had the privilege of attending Odontotech 2018 and the FDI Latin American Regional Organization (LARO) meeting in Bogota, Colombia. Odontotech 2018 included local and international speakers and exhibits. I particularly enjoyed the Gran Foro de Salud Oral y la Situación Odontológica – a forum where I listened to many speeches including one from the Colombian Vice Minister of Public Health and Services Dr Luis Fernando Correa Serna. At the forum, I also gave a presentation on FDI’s programmes and strategies in Spanish. As an English speaker, it was definitely a challenge for me to present in Spanish, but it was also very interesting to hear that the attendees could understand my accent.

The next day was the LARO Assembly, where FDI member countries met to discuss issues and events in each of their countries. LARO is a very active and cohesive region. LARO members have worked hard in the last few years to increase communication between their countries and with FDI. This was evident with the excellent organization of meetings by FDI Council Member Dr Maria Fernanda Atuesta Mondragón and LARO President Dr Lupe Margarita Salazar Zurita. Along with the work, we enjoyed being together, the wonderful entertainment, and a chance to enjoy Colombia with its historical sites, museums and beautiful mountain scenery.

Working in partnership

After Colombia, I travelled closer to home to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, United States to meet with 3M. I arrived in the morning and met 3M Oral Care President Sebastian Arana, Vice President Eric Wenzel, Sustainability Director Francine Savage, Chief Medical Officer Victor Miranda, Global Scientific Affairs and Education Director Mitsi O’Neill, Global Business Director for Prevention Jerry Spartz, Global Marketing Communications Director Christine Schweitzer, Global Business Director for Orthodontics Jay Issa and Corporate Scientist Joel Oxman who developed and patented dentinal bonding at 3M. 3M Oral Care President Sebastian Arana and I exchanged presentations about updates from both our organizations. Then Sustainability Director Francine Savage and I gave a presentation to several hundred other employees at 3M. I received so many thoughtful and intelligent questions from the audience, it was a pleasure to see so much engagement.

In the afternoon, we spent time with the Global Business Director for Prevention Jerry Spartz, and Global Scientific Affairs and Education Director Mitsi O’Neill discussing 3M’s involvement in FDI’s Vision 2020 activities and Smile Around the World (SAW) initiative. They were particularly excited about the SAW project in Weinan, China which was launched last month. It was a smashing success – the China team and Chinese Stomatological Association did a fantastic job with rolling out the project.

Calling for action on oral health

The United Nations (UN) held a hearing on 5 July in New York to engage civil society in the preparatory process toward the third UN High-Level Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases (HLM on NCDs) to be held on 27 September.

FDI joined over 300 participants at the one-day hearing which comprised of four panel sessions. The hearing served as an opportunity for civil society to voice their recommendations on the UN’s Zero Draft document for the HLM on NCDs. The Zero Draft is the first draft of the outcome document which sets out the next phase of the political response to NCDs and Member States are currently negotiating its content.

During the panel sessions, civil society made many recommendations and delivered statements to heads of states on scaling up the prevention and control of NCDs, financial mechanisms, political leadership and accountability, and multi-sectoral partnerships. FDI submitted three statements calling for oral health to be addressed within the outcome document. The FDI statements are available on the World Health Organization website.

Last month, FDI sent a template letter outlining key recommendations for the HLM outcome document to our members. As Member States will conclude negotiating the zero draft by the end of August or early September, I strongly encourage all National Dental Associations (NDAs) to adapt and send the letter to their government to push for oral health to be integrated into the final outcome document.

Addressing oral health in sports medicine

I am pleased to announce that FDI has just launched a new project to promote and develop sports dentistry. Sports dentistry is emerging as an important branch of sports medicine that addresses prevention and treatment of dental injuries and oral diseases associated with sports and exercise. The role of the sports dentist is rapidly increasing as sport embraces the need for good overall health, regular maintenance and correct preventative measures. The newly established FDI Sports in Dentistry Committee will meet in August to develop an advocacy toolkit to empower NDAs to advocate and promote the importance of good oral health for people practicing sports and provide information on supplement drinks.

Dr Kathryn Kell

FDI President


Upcoming travel

FDI World Dental Congress 2018
Buenos Aires, Argentina • 5–9 September 2018


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