IFDH President's Report:

September 2022

IFDH: Helping You Be the Dental Hygienist You Know You Are

Hello from Cape Breton Island on the east coast of Canada. I have returned from a successful ISDH, House of Delegates Business Meeting and Board meeting in Ireland and I am looking forward to a life-altering term as President of IFDH.

Productive & Memorable Meetings in Ireland

After three years of virtual meetings and conferences we finally came together in Dublin, for the 13th International Symposium in Dental Hygiene. It was exhilarating to see our fellow dental hygienists embracing each other, reconnecting with their colleagues from around the globe. A huge thank you to the Irish Local Organizing Committee under Barbara Derham and the Scientific Committee led by Catherine Waldron. They were able to work under challenging circumstances, through over 2 years of a pandemic, to bring together a robust scientific session and lively entertainment schedule.

During the House of Delegates meetings, held in the quaint town of Malahide, the new Board of Directors was elected. Your new Board for 2022- 2024 is myself, Wanda Fedora, (Canada) as President, Jill Rethman, (USA) as President Elect, Fouzieh Eliassy, (Sweden) as Vice President, Sharon Freidman, (Israe) as Secretary and Donna Paton, (Ireland) returning as Treasurer. The new Board held their first meeting during the Symposium to prepare for a busy term.

Our global members were inspired by scientific sessions and the second installment of our Global Oral Health Summit series. The ISDH theme, “The Future is in Our Hands”, was aptly named. We heard the numerous speakers – Richard Watt, Benoit Varenne, George Tsaksos, Paul Brocklehurst and our own President Corrie Jongbloed Zoet – elaborate on the need to enhance the mid-level service providers to conquer the burden of oral disease. They reiterated the solution of prevention and the role of the dental hygienist as we Take the Future in Our Hands and look to Korea 2024 where we will celebrate The Dental Hygienist, The Center of Oral Health.

Our Successful Programs to Continue

The next two years will see the continuation of our previously successful programs. The Research Grants, our Association Impact Awards, The Social Responsibility recognition program, and we will welcome a newly structured Sunstar World Dental Hygienist Awards to be celebrated in Korea in 2024. Your House of Delegates has stepped up to sit on numerous committees to see our programs continue to grow and demonstrate the contribution of dental hygienists worldwide.

How Can I Visit All IFDH Country Members?

It would be wonderful, as President, to visit each and every one of our 35 country members. Because that really isn’t possible, so I thought I would visit each country – virtually – through their websites. I decided to start in the South Pacific, the farthest point away from home.  

My first stop was Australia and I was greeted by the smiling faces of our House of Delegates members Cheryl Dey and Ron Knevel. I especially enjoyed the format of their newsletter, The DHAA Bulletin. I found that the page flipping felt like I was reading an actual magazine. I also enjoyed the fact sheets on dementia and diabetes relating to oral health. Great job.

After leaving Australia I made a quick trip to New Zealand and the website of The New Zealand Oral Health Association. Our New Zealand delegates; Rachel Smith and Mary Mowbray were unable to attend the conference in Dublin so I hope we have the chance to meet at the next ISDH in Korea 2024. In a unique relationship the official journal of The Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapist Association (ADOHTA) and the New Zealand Oral Health Association (NZOHA) is the product of a merger of the ADOHTA and NZDTA journals in 2012, both of which had been individually published for over 20 years. A great way to combine the talents of two neighbouring associations!

Continuing east across the Pacific Ocean I arrived at The Oral Hygienists Association of South Africa. Elaine Johnson, the IFDH delegate actively participated in the Social Responsibility Committee in the past term and I look forward to her continued involvement. I especially enjoyed reading the latest edition of your journal and the article on fissure sealants versus fluoride varnish – the key to minimally invasive care and prevention.

Well, I have visited three of our member countries and have yet to lose a suitcase – that’s one step ahead of my trip to Ireland in August. I encourage each of you to take a little time during an evening and visit the websites of your fellow IFDH members and get to know and learn from one another.

Global Oral Health Summit to Continue in 2023

With a Leadership Workshop

The next few months will be busy planning the Summit of 2023 with the committee and staff. We will also be conducting a Leadership Workshop – for the benefit of our Delegates, and board members and future leaders for our member organizations. Watch the website for the dates, location and more information. The World Dental Hygienists’ Award criteria will be released this fall and we are looking forward to hearing about the outstanding dental hygienists in our world.

Until next time…Be The Dental Hygienist You Know You Are.


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