C. Alfano, D.M.D., Ph.D.
New York University College of Dentistry
Your Dentist." As the cover photo suggests, this phrase is at the
heart of a strategy to shape positive change in dental health care.
New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD) introduced the
phrase last spring as part of a three-day,
free oral cancer screening program, which launched IMPACT, the College's
Initiative to Mobilize Patient Advocacy, Concern, and Treatment.
The story of the inception, progress, and results of that program
("An Amazing Week in the Life of NYU College of Dentistry") is featured
in this issue.
The "Ask Your
Dentist" strategy seeks to enhance dentistry's relationship with
the public, thereby increasing the flow of patients into dental
offices, and to influence the way dentistry is practiced by educating
consumers to expect and demand specific health care procedures.
For example, the free screenings were aimed at educating consumers
about the deadliness of oral cancer and at motivating them to ask
their dentists how to avoid becoming an oral cancer statistic. The
phrase "Ask Your Dentist" appeared in all advertisements and proved
to be so powerful a call to action that NYUCD has adopted "Ask Your
Dentist" as the IMPACT theme. Such is the power of this theme that
many dentists in the New York-New Jersey region are now planning
to offer oral cancer screenings in their offices.
Next on the
IMPACT agenda is a campaign to obliterate tooth decay in children
by marketing to parents the concept that preventive dental techniques
are so good that they may never have to pay for another filling.
The campaign is based on an NYUCD program that promises parents
that if kids get cavities after enrolling in a regimen of preventive
treatment and good home care, NYUCD will restore the teeth free
of charge. All advertisements for the campaign will urge parents
to "Ask Your Dentist" how to prevent kids from getting cavities,
once and for all. An article in this issue by Dr. Linda R. Rosenberg
("Ask Your Dentist") describes the NYUCD program.
IMPACT will conduct an antismoking campaign targeting preteens,
a campaign to alert the public to the important links between oral
health and systemic disease, and a campaign to reduce premature
births associated with periodontal disease. All of these initiatives
will be built around the "Ask Your Dentist" theme.
designed to encourage dialogue between consumers and their dentists
will be unveiled this spring when NYUCD presents a free program
for the community -- a sort of mini-dental school -- from the consumer's
perspective. The program will feature an enlightening look at modern
dentistry through topics including the links between periodontal
disease and heart disease, how a "smile lift" can rejuvenate facial
appearance, and why certain foods taste the way they do.
Your Dentist" - A Resource for the Profession
An added goal
of the "Ask Your Dentist" strategy is to enhance the relationship
between NYUCD and its alumni. Accordingly, we take the theme "Ask
Your Dentist" a step further in this issue by introducing two new
resources. One is an interactive approach to "Ask Your Dentist,"
which enables you to get answers to your questions regarding professional
ethics from Milton Palat, D.D.S., J.D. You will recall Dr. Palat
as a contributor to the inaugural issue of Global Health NEXUS,
in which he discussed the ethical impact on society of dentists
who fail to perform an oral cancer exam. Selected questions and
answers will appear in future issues of the magazine. The other
is a column entitled "Practicing for Life,"sm in which we ask different
alumni in each issue to share their views on fostering development
of those aspects of dentistry that impact general health. We are
delighted that Dr. Alan Queen, editor of the Bulletin of the
Queens County Dental Society and an NYUCD alumnus, has authored
our first "Practicing for Life"sm
column in this issue. These are just a few of the innovations that
you will find featured in this issue of Global Health NEXUS.
The mail we
received in response to our first issue was wonderful. Please continue
to send in your comments. We hope that you find this issue of Global
Health NEXUS one more way to connect with NYUCD.
Do you need
an answer to a question involving professional ehtics? You can "Ask
Your Dentist" by contacting NYUCD's ethicist, Dr.