IFDH President's Report:

December 2023

A Talented & Dedicated Board Working Together to Strengthen Our Role in the Oral Health Community

Wanda Fedora RDH2023 has arrived with many opportunities and as a federation, it is a time to allow those opportunities to guide us. The Board of Directors has celebrated 6 months of working together and we are seeing each other’s strengths come through as a team. That team is dedicated to bringing the best out in each of our members to strengthen our role in the oral health community.

Our Board Meets at IDS Site

The IFDH Board came together in Cologne, Germany in early March for our yearly in-person meeting. With 3 members of the Board from Europe, it was an efficient and energy-saving way to meet and also allow us to attend the International Dental Show (IDS). We were able to meet with our sponsors, and investigate other opportunities for collaboration in bringing our goals forward. President Elect Jill and myself were impressed by the sheer magnitude of the trade show with over 1,700 exhibitors.

One of the exciting categories was the field of Artificial Intelligence. It is creating waves on the horizon with the possibilities of identifying and diagnosing oral health issues. The industry predicts advancements that will make our outcomes more predictable and successful with the assistance of computerized technology. It will be interesting to see how this develops and is applied to oral health.

Strategic Planning 2023:

Review, Assess. Grow!

When the Board of Directors met in March, we set aside a full day to review our strategic plan from 3 years ago. The plan had been our guide for the development of programs, sponsors and partners. The oral health community changes as it responds to developments and advancements and with that we must also shift our focus in response. Our support of the WHO Resolution on Oral Health and the Sustainability Initiatives were two of the examples where our focus could benefit from some strategic planning, to concentrate our plan.

Our review of the 2019 Strategic Plan led by our Executive Director Peter Anas, has resulted in a finely tuned document to guide us in our quest for improved oral health globally, while we strive to protect our planet through an increased sense of responsibility in the delivery of oral health care.

HoD Communications a Priority

We will continue to prioritize communication with our House of Delegates, and subsequently our 90,000+ members. Our recent email release to the House of Delegates was filled with items to share with your associations and after the Board meeting, we will be adding to that agenda. Our Vice President, Fouzieh, is in contact with our committees and using her management skills to support them in their work.

Fiscal responsibility is another key component of our plan and Treasurer Donna, along with our Executive Director and accountant were successful in producing a balanced budget for our upcoming year.

IFDH Programs Growing

One of our most successful programs is Social Responsibility and under the mentorship of Secretary Sharon, the committee with Chair Wendy Stewart has just released their newest video and program announcement for the 2023 -2024 campaign. Check out the website for the updates and start planning your program now. Who knows, we may see your social responsibility project on stage in Seoul.

One of our most successful programs is Social Responsibility and under the mentorship of Secretary Sharon, the committee with Chair Wendy Stewart has just released their newest video and program announcement for the 2023 -2024 campaign. Check out the website for the updates and start planning your program now. Who knows, we may see your social responsibility project on stage in Seoul.

President Elect Jill has had the fortunate opportunity to meet some key leaders in Oral Health through her previous roles and those relationships will be key to our increased involvement in the oral health field. A new initiative in our strategic plan will benefit from her knowledge, and the other Board members as well, but I will introduce you to that in another e-news message.

Look for some new IFDH programs coming soon that will show our growth in continuing to represent the Dental Hygienist, with a global perspective.

Our Global Oral Health Summit:

November 4th, 2023

Some exciting news for 2023, is the launch of the third IFDH Global Oral Health Summit on November 4th, 2023. The format will be virtual with speakers on two main topics: The WHO Resolution on Oral Health and the Sustainability Initiatives. Holding the summit virtually reduces the need for travel, thus reducing our carbon footprint. Although meeting in person does have many benefits, I think we have arrived at the point of a balance between virtual and in-person conferences.

Our 1st summit was held between two International Symposia and this one will be as well. The International Symposium on Dental Hygiene allows the perfect forum for a live Summit and Seoul will be the location of another exciting topic in our series.

We encourage as many participants as possible to attend in November to follow the developments of the goals and success markers of the WHO Resolution.  We have many members bringing oral health care to others and leaving a legacy of instruction that will strengthen oral health and we will share some of their experiences with you to inspire and motivate more members to spread that knowledge to generations to come.

The success of improved global oral health depends largely on government support of our initiatives. Our panel will offer guidance in advocacy for our member associations when they approach their respective country and community officials to encourage and educate them to make oral health care a priority for their citizens.

Change does not happen overnight, but we need to bring our message to the forefront and make oral care available to everyone. Our Past President, Corrie Jongbloed Zoet, has been instrumental in policy change at government level in Europe and she will share her guidance on advocacy.

My Continued (Virtual) Journey:

Germany and The Netherlands

I was actually able to board a plane and travel in the last few months, but I continued my travel through your websites to see what you were doing while I picked up my boarding passes.

Since I was in Germany I thought I might as well visit the website of the German Dental Hygienists. I was quite impressed by their journal, for a small association – it is commendable. Your efforts to keep your members up-to-date and informed, as well as the public are outstanding. Beate Gatermann has been leading the challenge to bring a regulated dental hygiene profession to Germany and I commend her on her tireless efforts. Your IFDH representative Carmen Lanoway keeps us informed of the progress. Congratulations on a very informative website.

I missed my former Board member Past President Corrie so I slid my mouse over to The Netherlands to see what they are up to these days. I love the pink! You are all very busy, with National Dental Hygienists week in March and making sure the public is informed about their oral health. I was interested in the two categories of the dental hygienist being a registered dental hygienist and a dental hygienist. I will have to hear more from Corrie next time we are together. Keep up the great work and keep smiling.

As I continue my virtual member tour, I wanted to visit my friend Martina Skolnova in the Slovak Republic. I was invited to provide a recorded address for their delegates, so I decided to peek in on their website and see what else they are up to. Well, they have been very busy with webinars. Topics such as treating canker sores – Ouch! – therapeutic rinses and power brushes – all just in May! I also recommend you visit their Generation Without Decay project. It was the recipient of 2 awards at ISDH in Dublin in 2022.

Well, my virtual flight is landed for now and I will collect my luggage and chat with you on my next trip. Until then, please visit each other and see what your colleagues are doing to bring oral health care to their country.

Remember to Be the Dental Hygienist That You Know You Are.

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