May 2019 Volume LIV Number 3

 
 
 
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A Message from your President: We are Not Alone

September 2013 Volume XLIX Number 5

It was eloquently pointed out by immediate past-president Joel Berg that not only are world political and cultural affairs global in scope, but, so too oral health care for children. And as we remember, he constituted a task force headed by Dr. Amr Moursi to develop bases for our relations with international pediatric dentists and their constituent societies. These activities are not entirely new to the Academy. We have maintained membership and participate with several international organizations; the International Association of Pediatric Dentistry (IAPD) and the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) are the two most prominent.

Recently the IADR recognized the importance of children's oral health and the science needed to develop standards by forming a section called the Pediatric Oral Health Research Scientific Group. This is the first time the IADR singled out children's oral health as a specifically designated area of interest. It is to the credit of the AAPD that many of our members have been named to the group. The chair is Dr. Indru Punwani, retired chairman of the department of pediatric dentistry at the University of Illiinois. Also appointed are AAPD members Drs. Tegwyn Brickhouse, Yasmi Crystal, Anne O'Connell, Donald Chi, Francisco Ramos-Gomez and Kimon Davis. AAPD Educational Affairs Manager Scott Dalhouse, along with Dr. RamosGomez, serve as secretaries of the Group. AAPD members have been active within the IADR and the American Association of Dental Research (AADR) for many years, but now there is international recognition of the AAPD's and its members' expertise and distinction of being the recognized authority on children's oral health in the United States. This past June I had the honor of representing the AAPD at the biennial meeting of the IAPD held in Seoul, South Korea. This responsibility also carried with it a vote in the IAPD governance meeting.

There were pediatric dentists representing over 60 voting constituencies and another 10 as observers or representatives of countries that have petitioned for membership. And while we have one vote among many, our voice will be stronger over the next four years as Dr. Yasmi Crystal was elected to a term on the IAPD board of directors. This is in addition to Dr. Milton Houpt, who is honorary editor and sits on the IAPD board. It was eye-opening to see the breadth of knowledge and expertise around the table. We are sometimes myopic when it comes to our profession. We know that the level of pediatric oral health care and research in America is outstanding and sometimes fallaciously assume that no other country can match us. This is not the case. The presentations I attended and the pediatric dentists, both clinical and academic whom I met were of the highest level. It re-worded the theme of my editorial in Pediatric Dentistry from "by your students you'll be taught" to "by your colleagues all over the world, you'll be taught". Referring back to my introductory remarks about the task force headed by Amr Moursi: Amr was also in Seoul and led a meeting with over 30 national and international pediatric societies in attendance. Many topics were discussed and it became clear that there were many interactions possible that will benefit the practice of pediatric dentistry here and world-wide. In addition, invitations were tendered for representatives of the AAPD to visit with several of the international organizations. One invitation that will see fruit next year is when then AAPD president Dr. Ed Moody Jr. attends the European Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (EAPD) meeting in Sopot, Poland, as our official representative. Both Joel Berg and I had discussions with EAPD President Dr. Monty Duggal about their Congress in 2014 and we expect many AAPD members to attend. This will enable not only AAPD leadership, but also private clinical and academic American pediatric dentists, to see how the rest of the world works with children.

 This is not new to the AAPD, as in 2010 the AAPD held a joint meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, with the Royal College of Surgeons. At this meeting, which was attended by about 100 AAPD members and 100 pediatric dentists from the United Kingdom, we saw contrasting approaches to similar problems. While we may not have agreed with our British and Scottish colleagues on every approach, we all agreed that we benefitted by seeing how others practice. Myopia, when seen in opthalmalogic practice, needs correction; myopia in pediatric dentistry also may need adjustment. Continued close interactions with our foreign colleagues will not only make us stronger, it will help us deliver even higher quality care to our children.