Coming together to create change

31 October 2018


FDI President Kathy Kell

Dr Kathryn Kell

FDI President

Last month’s United Nations High-level Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases proved to be a disappointment for oral health. But our work cannot stop. Now more than ever, FDI and our members need to renew efforts to lead the world to optimal oral health.

Calling for action on oral health

On 27 September, I attended the third United Nations High-level Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases (UN HLM on NCDs) in New York with FDI Executive Director Enzo Bondioni. During the one-day meeting,UN Member States adopted a weak Political Declaration that failed to mention oral diseases and other NCDs except for the main four (cancer, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases and diabetes). After the official adoption of the Declaration, Member States gave statements on their country’s commitments and action on NCDs. Many issues were raised, such as the cycle of poverty, mental health, tobacco, alcohol and, encouragingly, sugar in diets. Although Member States acknowledged that NCDs account for 70% of global deaths and will rise in all countries if action is not taken, the Declaration they adopted falls far short of what is necessary to address the burden of NCDs, including oral diseases. It will take strong political will and a team of champions to secure the necessary political commitment and domestic investment.

Several side events took place in the lead up and in parallel to the UN HLM. I went to the NCD Alliance’s No Turning Back: Charting opportunities to invigorate and intensify the NCD response and the Chilean government’s Alliance for positive, healthy ageing and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the only side event on oral health, Accelerating progress on the prevention and control of NCDs and Oral Health, which was held the day after the UN HLM. However, FDI was very well represented with its Vision 2020 Co-Chair Prof. Michael Glick serving as a panellist at the event. The event was organized by the NYU College of Dentistry and its World Health Organization Collaborating Center together with the NYU College of Public Health.

We were all disappointed that oral health did not play a bigger role at the UN HLM on NCDs, but we will continue to raise the profile of oral health and work through our National Dental Associations (NDAs) to advocate for oral health. A detailed report on the UN HLM including an analysis of the Declaration and FDI’s official statement in response to the Declaration is available on the FDI website.

Improving education and training

After a quick stop in New York, I flew to Las Vegas for the ICOI (International Congress of Oral Implantologists) World Congress XXXVI. ICOI’s annual congress features exhibitors, interesting scientific sessions, award ceremonies and many social events. FDI works very closely with ICOI through the Peri-Implant Diseases Project (PIDP), which seeks to address common questions posed by dentists who are not specialized in implants or peri-implantitis. While at the congress, I met with many PIDP working group members including Drs Ady Palti and Kenneth Judy, ICOI co-chairs, to discuss the outcomes from the project so far and next steps.

My next trip took me to Mumbai for the 10th World Dental Show organized by the Indian Dental Association (IDA). It was a pleasure to visit the exhibits, light the ceremonial candle, cut the ribbon to open the meeting and meet with colleagues from IDA, including Dr Deepak Makhijani, IDA president, and Dr Ashok Dhoble, IDA honorary secretary general and FDI council member. I also toured the IDA Headquarters, which houses a newly refurbished floor dedicated to education that serves to enable dentists to enhance their skills and treat patients at little to no cost. Everything was very state-of-the-art with all new CAD/CAM machines, 3D imaging, microscopes, a sterilization center and much more. During the meeting, I was awarded the IDA Foundation’s Sushruta Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual in Providing Oral Healthcare Services in International Dentistry. Thank you to Drs Makhaijani and Dhoble and IDA for this great honour and an excellent meeting. Afterwards, I headed to Vijayawada to give a commencement address to the graduates of the Sibar Institute of Dental Sciences (SIDS). It is always exciting to see new graduates and inspire them to be good practitioners, help families of patients, and also be volunteers and ambassadors for good oral health. A special thanks to Dr L. Krishna Prasad, dean of SIDS, for this wonderful opportunity.

Gearing up for the FDI World Dental Congress 2019

From India I made my way back to the United States for the annual American Dental Association (ADA) meeting in Honolulu. As the next FDI World Dental Congress (WDC) will be hosted by the ADA in San Francisco in 2019, the Honolulu meeting was a good opportunity to touch base with those involved in planning next year’s congress. FDI first held its annual WDC in San Francisco 54 years ago, in 1964 – so we are thrilled to be returning. You can keep up-to-date with important WDC information on the Congress website. It was terrific to see so many FDI members at the ADA meeting too. A highlight of the meeting was FDI Immediate Past-President Dr Patrick Hescot receiving an Honorary Membership to ADA.

Register for the first-ever FDI-NCD Alliance webinar

We are excited to be co-hosting a webinar with the NCD Alliance on Tuesday, 27 November from 10:00-11:30 (CET). The webinar, Oral Health & NCDs: How to collaborate and find common ground for better health outcomes, will discuss how the oral health and broader NCD community can work together to better integrate oral health into the NCD response. I strongly encourage NDAs to register for this webinar to learn more about how to concretely leverage the NCD agenda to improve oral health. You can learn more about the webinar, its speakers and how to register here. The webinar will also be recorded and made available online.

Get featured in FDI’s Advocacy Update

Our members are our greatest advocates. As I travel the globe visiting many NDAs, I am constantly impressed by the amazing work that our members are doing for oral health. Send us your case studies of campaigns, programmes and other activities that are raising the profile of oral health for a chance to be featured in FDI’s quarterly Advocacy Update. Simply email us at for more details.

Win the FDI Smile Award

Applications for the FDI Smile Award are now open to all NDAs until 30 November. Thanks to the FDI-Colgate Caries Prevention Partnership, the award, valued at US$5,000, recognizes NDAs that are currently implementing innovative and sustainable community outreach projects to improve oral health outcomes in their countries. For full details on how to apply, please visit the Award section of the FDI website.

Say Ahh: Act on Mouth Health

World Oral Health Day (WOHD) is fast approaching on 20 March. The 2019 campaign, Say Ahh: Act on Mouth Health, aims to motivate individuals to take care of their oral health to protect their mouth and body. You can learn more about the campaign at, where you can already download posters. Further resources and materials will also be added to the campaign website on a regular basis. I can’t wait to see what more we can achieve together through WOHD!

Dr Kathryn Kell

FDI President


Upcoming travel

BZÄK German Dental Days
Frankfurt, Germany • 8 November 2018

Portuguese Dental Association Congress
Porto, Portugal • 9–10 November

ADM-AMIC Congress
Mexico City, Mexico • 14–16 November 2018

ADF Annual Dental Meeting
Paris, France • 27 November – 1 December 2018

FDI Executive Committee Meeting
Geneva, Switzerland • 1–2 December 2018


Share it