May 2020 Volume LV Number 3

 
 
 
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Feature Story: A Year in Review

May 2020 Volume LV Number 3

 Dr. Kevin Donly Reflects on Presidential Year
 
Q.As AAPD President, your agenda has focused on work- ing closely with the AAPD’s Safety Committee to develop processes to ensure pediatric dentistry is a leader in workplace and patient safety. In addition, you’ve promot- ed continued monitoring of the sedation environment and protecting the safe and effective use of sedation in pediatric dental offices, as well as supporting AAPD’s legislative agenda including title VII funding and support of the Student Loan Refinancing and Restoration Act. Can you please share how each of these goals has been accomplished?
A. This has been a very active year for AAPD. One of the highest priorities this year was to work with the Safety Committee, which is housed under the AAPD Pediatric Oral Health Research and Policy Center, to advance safety to our members, their dental team members and the children they treat. In November, we had our first safety symposium titled, "Hidden Threats and Safe Prac- tices: Steps to Creating a Safe Dental Home." This well-attended course was effective in providing information on sedation safety, adapting your dental office to a safety-oriented practice, infec- tion control safety, information safety and equipment safety. I am proud to say that AAPD Chief Policy Officer Dr. Paul Casam- assimo was invited to present "Creating a Culture of Safety in Dentistry: One Specialty’s Journey" at the annual meeting of the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP). Safety will remain a high priority for AAPD and what we have accom- plished this year has laid the foundation for safety issues to be addressed in the future.
 
As far as sedation, over this past year we have offered the course "Safe and Effective Sedation for the Pediatric Dental Patient" and "Management of Pediatric Sedation Emergencies: A Simulation Course." These courses, which elaborate on the joint American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Pediatric Den- tistry "Guidelines for Monitoring and Management of Pediatric Patients Before, During and After Sedation for Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures," and provided up-to-date information on clinical guidelines and safety protocols to ensure we are prac- ticing in the safest possible way for our patients.
 
The AAPD has developed a dental specific independent accredi- tation process for dental office facilities over this past year. This voluntary accreditation is in collaboration with the American Association of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF). In addition, a safety checklist has been developed to help pediatric dentists prepare for in office sedation.
 
We  have also been working with the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery to have a database of sedation outcomes. This database is known as DAIRS (Dental Anesthesia Incident Reporting System).
 
For many years, Title VII Funding, through the United States Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), has been the highest legislative priority of AAPD. This funding was continued this fiscal year at 12 million dollars! The funding is critical to Pediatric Dentistry. Title VII has not only increased the number of graduating pediatric dentists, but has allowed for the curriculum of training programs to expand and address the ever- changing environment of children oral health programs. This would include obesity, vaping/smoking and alcohol consumption, an evolving problem with children. Remember, we are child advo- cates, which becomes so evident during our annual Pediatric Oral Health Advocacy Conference! During this year’s conference, once again, we advocated for the continuance of Title VII funding. Likewise, a focus of our legislative visits on Capital Hill was the Resident Education Deferred Interest Act. I am optimistic about the future of this legislative act.
 
Q. Are there achievements/milestones of AAPD under your leadership of which you’re most proud?
A. I am proud of what we already discussed, but I am also proud of our collaboration with the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. This past year the ABPD co-sponsored the Safety Symposium. This collaborative effort focused on a topic that was of mutual importance to both organizations and is hopefully the start to many more opportunities we collaborate on in the future. This year, the ABPD instituted having an AAPD Officer on the ABPD Nominations Committee, just as an ABPD Officer is on the AAPD Nominations Committee. I was also invited to participate in the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry Strategic Planning Meeting. I foresee more collabora- tions between AAPD and the College as the future unfolds.
 
Q. How would you recommend addressing the faculty shortage issue?
A. Faculty shortage continues to be a problem. I believe the Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program, supported through HRSA, is helpful in allowing graduating pediatric dentists go into education, when loan debt previously made it impossible for new graduates to seek academic careers. The AAPD Master Clinician Scholar- ship Program is also very helpful for both graduating pediatric dentists and experienced pediatric dentists that choose academic careers. The program provides invaluable educational tools and instruction in education. The opportunity for the Master Clini- cian Scholarship recipients to attend the Academy for Advancing Leadership’s Institution for Teaching and Learning is a powerful program for new academicians.
 
Q. You participated in a national Satellite Media Tour as part of our media outreach for National Children’s Den- tal Health Month. Can you please share insight into this experience? Which messages in particular do you feel the media were most receptive toward?
A. Participation in the national satellite media tour was an excellent opportunity to share information related to pediatric dentistry to a very large audience. The media tour resulted in 1,231 total placements with an audience of 40+ million viewers and listen- ers. This is an incredible impact on the public. My priority was to emphasize establishing a Dental Home by the first birthday. I believe the media was very receptive to this message, understand- ing prevention is critical for children.

Q. In your opinion, how can dental professionals do a bet- ter job of reaching parents and educating them on the importance of a Dental Home and Age One dental visit?
A. I believe that dental professionals need to use every opportunity they have to spread the news on the importance of establish- ing a Dental Home for every child by the first birthday. This is based on speaking with pediatricians in the community, speaking with women, infants and children program sites, speaking with parental groups and speaking with obstetricians and gynecolo- gists can help promote early oral health care in established Dental Homes. Many pediatric dentists are asked to be interviewed, particularly around Halloween and National Children’s Dental Health Month. These are excellent opportunities to have media help disseminate information about the establishment of a Dental Home.
 
Q. How do you recommend AAPD and its members prepare for pandemics such as the Coronavirus in their practices?
A. The AAPD and its members need to remain current on the information available about pandemics such as the Coronavirus. It is critical that we continue to operate using universal infection control practices. Furthermore, as evidence-based recommen- dations are released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other official agencies, it is imperative that those recommendations are immediately implemented for the safety of the dentist, dental staff and children we serve.
 
Q. Tell us about the shifting characteristics/demographics of AAPD’s membership. How have our efforts been in attracting international members?
A. The AAPD membership this year is 10,694 members, 6,694 of which are active pediatric dentists. I am pleased to see that the predoctoral student membership has grown to 433 and postdoc- toral students to 1,053 members. The increase in pediatric den- tistry programs has increased the percentage of pediatric dentists that are under the age of 40 to 42 percent. The female AAPD membership has increased to 52 percent, and 67 percent of new members are females.
 
AAPD has increased efforts to attract international membership over the last couple of years. This past year the international membership had a 6.2 percent increase and hopefully this trend will continue.
 
Q. The AAPD’s vision is for optimal oral health for all children. What have we done in 2020 to help support this vision? What more can we do?
The AAPD vision for optimal oral health for all children was pursued diligently this year. The AAPD Foundation is recognized for their support to clinics that provide access to dental care to children, particularly underserved children, through AAPD Foun- dation grants. They are well on their way to meeting the AAPD Foundation goal of providing Dental Homes to one million children by the year 2022.
 
The media tour helped educate parents on the importance of establishing Dental Homes for their children. Our publications through the AAPD Pediatric Oral Health Research and Policy Center have a tremendous impact on the importance of oral health for children.
 
The Pediatric Oral Health Advocacy Conference in Washington D.C., advances our legislative support for children’s oral health and those dentists that provide oral health care. Efforts will continue through AAPD and the AAPD Foundation to further improve the oral health of children.

Q. How do you see the AAPD evolving in the next five to ten years?
A. AAPD will continue to evolve over the next decade. I foresee the Pediatric Oral Health Research and Policy Center becoming even more interactive with legislators, state dental boards, health care organizations and policy centers. The AAPD Reference Manual will expand its policies, guidelines and best practices of our con- tinually developing professional standards and practices. Safety will further evolve so that pediatric dentistry practice is within an environment of safety. I believe we will see an increase in social media avenues to serve our AAPD members and further reach the public on oral health subjects, ensuring AAPD is the BIG AU- THORITY of little teeth. I see the AAPD Foundation leveraging dollars to further enhance the establishment of Dental Homes for children. I can only envision positive advancement of AAPD as the future unfolds.

Q. Anything else you would like to add?
A. I would like to thank the AAPD membership for their care for children, the education they provide to their communities and their support to the dental profession, including the AAPD. It has been an honor to represent AAPD members as president and a privilege to help move our organization forward. What makes AAPD members so unique is that children’s well-being is their highest priority. I congratulate each of you for your care to our nation’s most vulnerable children. They are our future!
 
 

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