Here we are, half through summer. I hope you are enjoying vacation opportunities that you have not had for the past couple of years.
I also hope you’ll take a few minutes to read about the ground-breaking work members of the CSDH are involved in. I truly believe we are having a positive impact on raising awareness of the challenges faced by people with disabilities regarding access to oral healthcare. We’re creating an imperative for change and people are listening. There is still a lot to do, and I encourage all of you to consider taking a more participatory/active role in this vital work. After all, many hands make light work.
Governance – Building the infrastructure for a sustainable future
We are pleased to have completed the crucial governance work of attracting a highly qualified and diverse Board of Directors. Our newest members are:
Still urgently need people to fill the positions of Treasurer and Vice President.
Developing a policy manual to guide how the Society operates, lead by Dr. Paul Romanson and Ms. Barbara Rand. Document will be instrumental in a smooth transition as Board Members complete their terms in office and new ones are elected.
In addition to finalizing our Society documents, we developed an excellent strategic plan with the help of an expert consultant, Ms. Rand. Guided by that plan, we have achieved the following:
Advocacy – Working to remove systemic barriers for people with disabilities
On-going discussions with Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos voicing our recommendations for the upcoming dental funding program. We continue to communicate through roundtable discussions and follow-up letters, drawing on years of clinical experience of our oral health practitioners as well as the legal expertise (and personal experience as the mother of an adult autistic child) of Advocacy Chair, Ms. Joan Rush.
Wrote a letter to the Canadian Dental Regulatory Authorities Federation (CDRAF) and copied all provincial health ministers to encourage approval of Dental Anesthesia as a specialty.
Ms. Rush presented to the BC Ministry of Finance budget committee recommending improvements to the provincial public dental plan for persons with disabilities.
Education - Leading dialogue about strategies to incorporate special care dentistry into undergraduate curriculum
Dr. Sharat Pani and I participated in the biennial meeting of the Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry ( Home - ACFD ). Dr. Pani presented “A functional model to help Canadian dental graduates care for individuals with disabilities.” The presentation stimulated extensive questions and discussion. Both University of Manitoba and McGill University forwarded the presentation to their curriculum review committee/faculty leads for further discussion. We will be following up with other universities to determine/establish their understanding of the presentation and possible impact on their curriculums.
Advocacy Chair, Ms. Joan Rush, wrote to the CDRAF to comment on the proposed Knowledge, Skills, Abilities document for beginning dentists to encourage inclusion of special needs dental education in undergraduate curriculum.
Research – New and diverse research studies focused on education and treating patients with disabilities
In August, several CSDH members will attend the iADH Annual Conference. The CSDH has more abstracts accepted for presentation than any other component society.
Other completed and on-going research, scientific articles and presentation material by members of the CSDH include work by:
Strategic Relationships - Establishing CSDH’s expert reputation/credibility
Attended a meeting of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (aadmd.org) as the invited CSDH representative. Met with leaders in oral healthcare for people with intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD) from the US, Canada and around the world. CSDH was recognized as the Canadian voice of oral healthcare for people with disabilities and the Canadian component of the International Association Disability and Oral Health (iADH).
Began reaching out to all Canadian federal and provincial dental associations to encourage membership. Several of the organizations have publicly advised their membership about the work of CSDH.
Ms. Jodie Margolis, Education Committee, presented material about oral health care for people with autism at the June 2022 Autism Speaks Walkathon in Montreal.
Dr. Ruby Bhutani, Education and Advocacy committees, accepted a hospital residency in Calgary.
Special Olympics Committee members recently collaborated with Special Olympics Alberta to support the launch of the virtual self-assessment Special Smiles program, with nine athletes participating in the event.
The Network for Canadian Oral Health Research (NCOHR) created a new research Working Group for Disability and Oral Health based on our advocacy. Dr. Sharat Pani is its newly appointed Director and Ms. Rush is involved in the governance of the organization.
If any of you are involved in research in oral healthcare for people with disabilities or have special news, feel free to send it to email@example.com so we can share it with the rest of our members.
As you can see, there has been a lot of important work occurring in the last few months alone. The introduction of the national dental funding plan was a catalyst that created an opportunity to tell our story, share our experiences and work that much harder to create positive change. Please raise your hand to join us as we continue with this work. Even a few hours a month will be extremely helpful. Tell us what you’re interested in or what skills you have, and we’ll connect you to some worthwhile and rewarding experiences.
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