MouthHealthy.org reaches 1 million visits in 2013

 

Launched in June 2012 by the ADA, MouthHealthy.org, which provides the latest information to help patients make informed decisions about their oral health, reached a milestone: 1 million visitors.

The award-winning educational website had its 1 millionth visitor at the end of 2013—1,003,764 through December 2013.

In addition, average visit duration to the website was approximately six minutes—adding up to more than 99,000 hours of oral health education delivered through MouthHealthy.org since its inception.

MouthHealthy.org is an exceptionally valuable resource for individuals and families,” said Dr. Sally Hewett, Council on Communications chair. “It’s wonderful that it has informed, engaged and helped empower so many people to take charge of their oral health.”

MouthHealthy.org—available in Spanish translation as well—includes timely and credible information on prevention, care and treatment with in-depth content, videos and a highly engaging presentation. It won the bronze award in the website category in the Association TRENDS 2012 All-Media Contest.

ADA members can market their own practice on MouthHealthy.org by completing their profile on ADA Find-A-Dentist. 

Members can also connect their patients directly to ADA-approved patient education by downloading a web button and linking it to their practice website. Download the web button and other promotional materials at promotional materials.

Dental, nursing students collaborate to care for backside track workers


Working together: University of Louisville general practice resident Dr. Lauren Parsons, and nurse practitioner student Kelly Stice take a medical history of patient Eduviges Atempa at the Kentucky Racing Health Services Center.

Louisville, Ky.—In an effort to engage students in inter-professional education and collaboration, University of Louisville nurse practitioner and dental students are working together to provide health care services to workers in the thoroughbred racing industry.

“Health care in this country is changing, and this project fosters interprofessional team building that can help reinforce coordination of care across patient conditions, services and sites of care,” said Dr. John Sauk, dean of the University of Louisville School of Dentistry.

In the collaborative program, which began in spring 2013, nurse practitioner and dental students see 2,000 active patients at the Kentucky Racing Health Services Center. Of the patient population, about 64 percent have been referred this year for oral care, including preventive and emergent care.

The program is part of an effort to engage nursing and dental students in joint seminars, standardized patient learning and clinical experiences to better identify and manage systemic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease that are sometimes linked to oral health.

“As research continues to link oral health and general health, we understand the need for this type of education,” Dr. Sauk said.

At the KRHSC, the students see behind-the-scenes workers who follow the horse-racing season across the country. Among them are assistant trainers, hot walkers, grooms, exercise riders, blacksmiths and stable workers—and their families. Many of the backside track workers and their families speak different languages and are underserved when it comes to health care.

KRHSC is a joint initiative between the university and the Kentucky Racing Health and Welfare Fund Inc., a nonprofit foundation. It first saw its first patient in 2005. KRHSC is just one clinic where students collaboratively see patients, but the only clinic that exists solely to serve backside workers and their families. The students in the two professions also work together at the dental school’s clinics, through on-campus health fairs, and through short-term International Service Learning opportunities in other countries, such as Belize.

Each semester at the KRHSC, the school rotates four nurse practitioner students and six students in the general practice residency program. Meanwhile, about 50 nurse practitioner students have the opportunity to rotate through the dental screening clinics and collaborate with the junior and senior dental students on patient medical history reports.

Additionally, dental students and dental faculty members teach nurse practitioner students how to complete an oral exam and oral cancer screening.

“These interactions help us feel more comfortable interacting with other professions; it is helpful to learn how a nurse practitioner makes a diagnosis and treatment plan for a patient with diabetes, for example,” said Dr. Lauren Parsons, general practice resident.

The program is supported through a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration grant.

ADA endorses health insurance Web portal

 

Members looking for Affordable Care Act-compliant health insurance options can look to the ADA as a resource beginning Feb. 15.

The ADA Board of Trustees approved the endorsement of a national private health insurance exchange Web portal, the American Health Insurance Exchange powered by JLBG Health.

AHIX will provide interested ADA members with access to both state public exchange health insurance plans—the same plans that are available on healthcare.gov—and private, ACA-compliant health insurance plans.

“With the implementation of the ACA, many of our members may be faced with increasing health insurance cost for their staff, and they will want to investigate coverage options,” said Dr. Charles H. Norman, ADA president. “The ADA is offering a new resource that allows our members to find for the coverage that best fits their needs using an endorsed Web portal. In this changing insurance market, it is reassuring to access a product that has been evaluated by the ADA.”

The ADA is designing an ADA.org Web landing page that will first list the direct links to websites and 800 numbers for members to access ACA-compliant medical plan options endorsed by their state dental associations. That is followed by a link to the ADA-endorsed AHIX Web portal for members that do not have health insurance plans offered through their dental association, said Dr. Robert Coleman, chair of the Council on Members Insurance and Retirement Programs.

Member-only services include:

• a dedicated answer line via email or toll-free number;

• licensed insurance brokers will consult with members to find health plan to meet their needs;

• fast and secure access to rate quotes and plan options;

• ability to shop for plans on and of the public health insurance exchanges;

• apply for the health plan of their choice with our without subsidies.

“This is an endorsement of a Web portal only, not of a health insurance company or plan,” Dr. Coleman said, adding that CMIRP recommended the endorsement in response to members looking to the ADA for solutions due to the impact of the ACA on medical insurance plans. The ADA Board took action Jan. 8 to approve the endorsement of AHIX.

“This resource will maximize member value by making it easier for members throughout the country to find health insurance that best meets their needs in a very complicated, new medical insurance landscape,” Dr. Coleman said.

“The ADA is working to have the Web page available beginning Feb. 15 prior to the 2013 ACA open enrollment period closing on March 31 to serve as a valuable resource for members who are looking for ACA compliant health insurance options for 2014,” Dr. Coleman said.

Switching from TV reporter to dentist

 
Future dentist: Elizabeth Fanciullo left her television career for her real passion, dentistry. It is a passion reflected throughout her family.

Newark, N.J.—As a television reporter and producer, Elizabeth Fanciullo has covered the Kentucky Derby, two visits by President George W. Bush in southern Indiana, and flown in a B-17 bomber during an airshow.

“I enjoyed working in news,” Ms. Fanciullo said of what she thought was her dream job. “But I just didn’t feel the passion that I would want to do this for the rest of my life. There was something missing.”

About three years after she started her journalism career, Ms. Fanciullo made a change, enrolling into Rutgers School of Dental Medicine. In dentistry, she said, she has found that passion.

Ms. Fanciullo is one of a handful of soon-to-be graduates from Rutgers who have chosen dentistry as a second career. Other students include a former MTV producer, ski instructor, teachers and a fishing boat captain from Alaska.

In dentistry, Ms. Fanciullo said she’s come to enjoy the one-on-one interaction with patients—a much more personal connection for her than speaking to audiences from a camera.

“It’s an immediate tangible gratification that I couldn’t get before from journalism,” she said.

Making the switch from television to dentistry wasn’t a complete surprise for Ms. Fanciullo. In college, she initially was interested in the medical field, possibly sports medicine, until she decided on journalism.

In addition, many of her relatives are dentists, including her grandfather, great-grandfather and great uncle.

“I spoke to them and even shadowed my dentist to make sure this was something I wanted to do,” she said. “I really love the precision and art involved in the field.”

To make the change, Ms. Fanciullo juggled being a news reporter while taking one or two classes at a time to fulfill prerequisites to dental school, first at Indiana University then at the University of Illinois in Chicago and lastly, Baruch College in New York. She needed eight science courses.

She moved to the East Coast after her husband, also a news reporter who made a career change of his own, was accepted to the New York University School of Law.

“It’s been a long road,” said Ms. Fanciullo. “But I couldn’t be happier with my decision, and I’m excited what the future holds. Who knows, I may find a way to combine both journalism and dentistry.”

ADEAGies Foundation to honor awards recipients


Golden winners: Eight honorees will receive these William J. Gies Awards March 17 at the American Dental Education Association Annual Session and Exhibition in San Antonio, Texas. 

Washington—The American Dental Education Association Gies Foundation announced the eight recipients of its annual William J. Gies Awards for Vision, Innovation and Achievement.

The recipients will be honored March 17 at the 2014 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition in San Antonio, Texas.

“This awards program represents the best in oral health and dental education, and it is an honor to recognize the dental educators and academic institutions that are making significant advances within the field,” said Dr. Richard W. Valachovic, president of the ADEAGies Foundation and ADEA.

The award is named after William J. Gies, Ph.D., a Columbia University biochemistry professor and founder of its College of Dental Medicine.

In 1926, Dr. Gies published “The Gies Report, Dental Education in the United States and Canada,” a landmark report that established the importance of dentistry as a healing science and an essential component of higher education in the health professions.

The award honors individuals and organizations exemplifying dedication to the highest standards of vision, innovation and achievement in dental education, research and leadership.

The 2014 honorees are:

• Dr. John Eisner, University of Buffalo School of Medicine, Outstanding Innovation-Dental Educator;

• Dr. Raul I. Garcia, Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Outstanding Vision-Dental Educator;

• Dr. Lisa A. Tedesco, Emory University James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies, Outstanding Achievement-Dental Educator;

• American Academy of Periodontology Foundation, Outstanding Achievement-Public/Private Partner;

• Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health, Outstanding Innovation-Academic Dental Institution;

• Columbia University College of Dental Medicine’s Community DentCare Program, Outstanding Achievement-Academic Dental Institution;

• The Hinman Dental Society of Atlanta, Outstanding Vision-Public/Private Partner;

• Henry Schein, Inc., Outstanding Achievement-Public/Private Partner.

“Each year, I am increasingly impressed with the innovation and progress exhibited through the achievements of the William J. Gies Awards winners,” said Dr. Valachovic.

The awards are presented by the ADEAGies Foundation, the philanthropic arm of ADEA. The Foundation works to enhance the public’s oral health through programs that support dental education, research, leadership and recognition.

For more on information on the 2014 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition, visit adea.org.

Chicago-area dentist honored for service to the homeless


Dr. Angelo 

Every Tuesday and Friday, Dr. Patrick Angelo drives from his home in the northwest side of Chicago to a near downtown McDonald’s to buy some 80 hamburgers and 47 coffees.

The periodontist loads up the purchases in his black Cadillac then heads east in search of the homeless living on a 3-mile stretch of Chicago’s Lower Wacker Drive to hand out the food, drinks, along with hand warmers and blankets.

The goodwill trip takes about two hours to complete but it’s pretty much routine. Dr. Angelo has made that twice-a-week trip for the past 13 years.

“After work, I have a decision to make,” he said. “Am I going home to watch TV? Go out to dinner? Or can I take out $200 from my own pocket and feed people? The decision is pretty easy.”

Dr. Angelo’s trips to Lower Wacker have largely remained a secret, with only a few people knowing what he was up to. Many of his relatives, he said, didn’t know about his work until the Chicago Tribune published a feature in November 2013 that referred to him as the “Angel of Lower Wacker Drive.”

“To me it was like going to the gym after work,” he said. “It wasn’t anything that I would brag about.”

Following the article, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago City Council adopted a resolution Dec. 11, 2013, in recognition of Dr. Angelo’s “many years of quiet service to the homeless men and women living on Lower Wacker Drive.”

The resolution commended him for “his tender heart, wisdom and compassion, and for devoting his time and energy to helping the homeless, not just during the Christmas season, but throughout the year.”

A graduate of Loyola University School of Dentistry, Dr. Angelo said his work with the homeless stems from being a dentist. He has had his own practice in River Forest, Ill., since 1982.

“It all goes back to dentistry. This profession offers us unique opportunities to enjoy our life much more than other professionals. It gives us the latitude to do more,” he said. “I don’t know another profession that offers their skills and services for free to those who are in need. I feel blessed to be a dentist. And because I feel blessed, I feel the need to do more to help others.”

On a cold February night 13 years ago, Dr. Angelo said, he was enjoying a warm bath when it hit him.

“There are cold, hungry people downtown and I’m here in my warm home,” he said. “I just put some clothes on, went to Walgreens and bought hand warmers.”

He then went to the Rock N Roll McDonalds in the River North neighborhood and bought burgers and decaf coffee. From there, he headed south on Clark Street, made a left on Lake Street and then entered an opening that led him to Lower Wacker Drive (immortalized for non-Chicagoans in the movie “The Blues Brothers”).

“It was as if God was in my car because I’m terrible with directions,” he said. “I’ve never been on Lower Wacker but that’s where I ended up.”

That evening at Lower Wacker Drive, he met about 70 of the city’s homeless population. Thirteen years later, he hasn’t stopped returning. He estimates he spends about $30,000 of his own money to purchase food, drinks, blankets, hand warmers and other necessities. During the hot summer months, he brings fruit punch instead of coffee.

At first, he encouraged the people he met to seek shelter or treatment, but most simply didn’t want to hear it. Today, he focuses on providing the basic needs of food and warmth.

The work remained largely anonymous until a chance meeting between his family and one of his patients at a comedy club in New York City where the topic of Dr. Angelo’s goodwill work came up. The patient knew a Chicago Tribune reporter who then reached out to Dr. Angelo for the story. Soon, other news organizations and television stations followed suit. Talk show host Steve Harvey featured Dr. Angelo in his show during a “Harvey’s Hero” segment.

Although Dr. Angelo had been hesitant to share his story at first, he said, the response has been tremendous and inspiring. Various organizations have since donated blankets and knitted hand warmers, scarves and hats.

“I’ve received beautiful emails of support,” Dr. Angelo added. “A girl emailed me saying that because of the story, she was going to do more to help as well. Best message I ever received.”

VCU establishes chair to support residency program

Dr. Abubaker

Richmond, Va.—Dr. A. Omar Abubaker, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry’s chair of its Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, can add a new title under his name.

Dr. Abubaker is the school’s first S. Elmer Bear Chair, created by several alumni’s renewed commitment to preserve the memory of Dr. S. Elmer Bear, founder of the department’s residency program.

The chair is named after Dr. Bear, who died in 1981. Dr. Bear served as the first chairman and founder of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery residency program. The funds will be used to enhance the educational experience of future residents while keeping Dr. Bear’s legacy alive.

As the inaugural chair, Dr. Abubaker will have added support to help the school’s residency program’s continued development through recruitment and retention of faculty and residents.

The chair was established with about $1.1 million raised largely from alumni contribution, including recent graduates who were not trained by and never met Dr. Bear.

“This new role allows me to recruit the best and the most qualified faculty to teach the full scope of the specialty, attract the best candidates for oral and maxillofacial surgery training positions and continue to the advance excellent and contemporary patient care thorough clinical practice and research,” said Dr. Abubaker, currently the chair of the school’s Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

King Richard III remains provide insights on oral health, dentistry in the Middle Ages

Dr. Rai

The stereotype often seen in movies of peasants with blackened and gapped teeth during the Middle Ages may just be a myth.

Thanks to the remains of King Richard III of England, which were discovered in 2012, researchers continue to gain a better understanding of the oral hygiene habits of that era.

A study in the April 2013 British Dental Journal found that Richard III, the last English king to die in battle, had generally poor oral health, suffering from dental caries and tartar buildup. The study supports research that found, unlike modern day, people in higher social classes suffered a higher incidence of dental carries during the Middle Ages.

“For the lower social classes, access to limited range of dietary sugars and the consistent inability to cook carbohydrates resulted in a reduced caries experience,” wrote Dr. Amit Rai, the study’s author. “By the same reasoning, it is likely that the more affluent of individuals suffered with a greater caries experience, as was the case with the Grey Friars remains.”

The skeletal remains of Richard III, who wore the crown from 1483-85, were found in September 2012 under a parking lot—the former site of the Church of the Grey Friars where he was buried in an unmarked grave.

Historic teeth: Richard III was the last English king to die in battle and had generally poor oral health, suffering from dental caries and tartar buildup.

Researchers found that his left first molar, upper right second premolar and lower right first molar teeth were missing, most likely due to caries. Richard III also had mineralized deposits on the labial and buccal surfaces of the maxillary teeth, suggesting tartar buildup over a period of time.

However, the upper right central incisor showed less evidence of deposits than the adjacent anterior teeth, the study found, suggesting that Richard III had “some degree of insight with dental hygiene, however basic.”

Researchers also found that evidence of gap closure on two of the missing teeth point to the “early extraction of these teeth by skilled hands.”

According to the study, although mainly unregulated, barber surgeons legally practiced dentistry at the time.

It is also “not impossible” that Richard III had practiced the 10 rules outlined by Giovanni de Arcoli, professor of medicine and surgery in Italy from 1412-27, to help preserve the teeth.

The list includes caution on eating sweets, breaking “hard things” with the teeth, rinsing and cleaning the teeth after every meal using “thin pieces of wood.” Giovanni de Arcoli was the first to record using gold leaf as a restorative material despite his unfamiliarity with tooth morphology, researchers say.

“The provision of dentistry in the 15th century was surprisingly sophisticated with evidence of restorative advances,” the study concluded.

Nova dental student-run GKAS event continues to grow

Twin set: Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine students and twin sisters Mor Dagan (left) and Shachar Dagan examine a child during the school’s Give Kids A Smile March 8 event.
Clowning around: Lotsy Dotsy the clown from Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital makes a child laugh during Nova Southeastern University’s student-run Give Kids A Smile event held March 8. In all, 325 children received free dental care valued at $115,000.

Fort Lauderdale-Davie, Fla.—Nova Southeastern University’s student-run Give Kids A Smile March 8 event provided dental care to about 325 children—the most in its 11-year history.

“We really open the doors for many children to start dental care and treatment throughout their lives,” said co-organizer Keren Castelluci, NSU dental student.

The GKAS event, held at NSU College of Dental Medicine, has continued to grow in recent years as organizers reach out to local Boys & Girls Clubs, local churches and other after-school organizations. This year, the event expanded its social media efforts by promoting the GKAS event through Facebook.

The expanded outreach efforts have paid off. Two years ago, the event served about 100 children, said Ms. Castelluci.

“Last year, we saw about 200 kids,” she added. “GKAS has become one of the biggest, if not already the biggest, community outreach to children in our community.”

Nearly 300 volunteers donated dental services valued at more than $115,000 to South Florida children 2-18 years old. Those services included fluoride varnishes, sealants, fillings and oral hygiene instructions.

The more than 1,000 attendees enjoyed a carnival atmosphere with Miami Dolphins player Marcus Thigpen, cheerleaders, face painters, a clown, magicians and musicians.

Involvement within the school has also grown as students become more aware of, and more excited about GKAS, said Dr. Amanda Buscemi, NSU dental resident. At their first day of dental school, students learn about our GKAS event from orientation.

“GKAS is a rewarding experience not only for the children but also the students. For some dental students, this is their first time interacting with a young patient,” she said.

“Community service is one of NSU’s core values and we are dedicated to working with our partners to help children and their parents in South Florida and beyond understand the importance of oral health.”

ADA New Dentist Committee names leadership, program award recipients

 

Dr. Burleson
 

Dr. Herzog

A pediatric dentist in Spokane, Wash. An attending orthodontist at The Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. A Fantasy Football league in San Antonio. And the Illinois State Dental Society New Dentist Committee. These are the recipients to be honored this year by the ADA New Dentist Committee.

The award recipients were chosen for their excellence in programing and leadership in support of dentists who have graduated from dental school less than 10 years ago. They will be honored at the 2014 New Dentist Committee Conference, set for July 17-19 in Kansas City (ADA.org/newdentistconf).

The committee announced the following awards earlier this month:

• Golden Apple Award for New Dentist Leadership—Dr. Dustin S. Burleson of the Missouri Dental Association. Upon completing his residency in 2006, Dr. Burleson started private practice and also became the attending orthodontist at The Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. He is now the director of the Leo H. Rheam Foundation for Cleft and Craniofacial Orthodontics. In 2008, he accepted a part-time teaching position in the Graduate Department of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics at the University of Missouri Kansas City. Dr. Burleson became involved in organized dentistry early on, participating in the MDA New Dentist Committee and the Board of Directors of the Greater Kansas City Dental Society from 2009-13. From 2011-13, he was a delegate of the MDA. In 2013, he became president-elect of the GKCDS, setting up 2014 as the year of his presidency.

• Golden Apple for New Dentist Legislative Leadership—Dr. Christopher Herzog of the Washington State Dental Association. As a new dentist, Dr. Herzog has already amassed an extensive list of accomplishments, including induction in the Pierre Fauchard Academy in 2011, serving as president of the Washington State Association of Pediatric Dentists in 2012, and continued service in the boards or executive councils of the WSDA, the Spokane District Dental Society and the Washington Dentists’ Insurance Agency. “When we need help with a fundraiser, getting the word out, or really anything that’s going to advance organized dentistry, Dr. Herzog always has his hand up. He really is a one-man juggernaut in the legislative arena,” wrote Steve Hardymon, WSDA executive director, in nomination papers.


Fantasy football: Participants of the San Antonio District Dental Society’s Committee on the New Dentist inaugural Fantasy Football league pose for a group photo on draft day. The program, which garnered interest from new dentists and residents, is the recipient of this year’s New Dentist Committee Outstanding Program Award of Excellence.

• New Dentist Committee Outstanding Program Award of Excellence—San Antonio District Dental Society’s Committee on the New Dentist. The committee earned the award for excellence with its Fantasy Football league involving new dentists and residency students who teamed up with a “corporate sponsor,” such as Henry Schein and Northstar Financial. There was no monetary award, only glory and a custom trophy that the winner gets to display in his or her office for an entire year. The program provided a unique and innovative way for members and sponsors to interact and form connections through an activity that is not directly related to dentistry. The program generated interest in 221 SADDS new dentists and they expect more participants in 2014.

• Outstanding New Dentist Committee—Illinois State Dental Society New Dentist Committee. The committee established a New Dentist Network by working with each component and branch presidents to identify a current new dentist leader. They then developed a training session, and created a New Dentist Leader Toolkit that provides new leaders the tools and resources to be successful within their local area. Since the first training program in March 2013, several local areas have hosted a new dentist event while more new dentists are attending their local meetings.