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ADA conference seeks consensus on oral health needs for elderly, disabled

Participants can examine oral health needs of vulnerable older and special needs patients

Washington—How can health care providers, advocates, educators, professional organizations and policymakers respond to meet the needs of vulnerable older adults and people with functional limitations who require complex oral health care?

Bringing together dental professionals; geriatricians; nurses; advocates for health care, the elderly or the disabled; long-term care providers and policymakers, the ADA will convene the National Coalition Consensus Conference: Oral Health of Vulnerable Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities Nov. 18 at the JW Marriott in Washington. The interactive conference, open for general attendance, is made possible through a grant from the ADA Foundation.

"I'm pleased to be a participant in this conference, which I feel could be a spark plug in bringing the plight of the vulnerable elderly and special needs patients to the forefront," said ADA President-elect Raymond F. Gist. "I feel that access to quality dental care is more difficult for this segment of our population than any other, and I am looking forward to developing strategies that will involve all of our member dentists working together to address their concerns."

Dental experts will discuss topics including:

  • expanding population of vulnerable older adults and persons with disabilities;
  • medical considerations;
  • collaboration between oral health, general health and social service professionals;
  • oral health delivery systems;
  • professional education;
  • policy implications;
  • building oral health coalitions.

Experts in geriatrics, medicine and long-term care as well as state health departments, advocates and policymakers will respond to each presentation, followed by comments from the audience on each topic.

Speakers for the event will include:

  • Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N., administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Dr. Douglas B. Berkey, professor, Department of Applied Dentistry, University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine, and dental director, Total Longterm Care of Colorado;
  • Sarah Crane, M.D., geriatrician, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.;
  • Dr. Teresa Dolan, dean and professor, University of Florida College of Dentistry;
  • Dr. Chester W. Douglass, professor emeritus of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology, Harvard University;
  • Dr. Burton L. Edelstein, pediatric dentist, professor of Clinical Dentistry, professor of Clinical Health Policy and Management, Columbia University;
  • Dr. Michael Helgeson, founder of Apple Tree Dental, a nonprofit organization that operates special care dental clinics and delivers on-site care;
  • Paul Mulhausen, M.D., M.H.S., geriatrician and professor, University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine;
  • Jonathan Musher, M.D., C.M.D., chair, Family Medicine, Suburban Hospital/Johns Hopkins Medicine, and private practice physician in Chevy Chase, Md.;
  • Dr. Linda C. Niessen, vice president, chief clinical officer, DENTSPLY International and clinical professor, Baylor College of Dentistry, Texas A&M University;
  • Robyn I. Stone, Dr.P.H., executive director, Institute for the Future of Aging Services, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging;
  • David N. Sundwall, M.D., professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine;
  • Beth Truett, president, CEO, Oral Health America.

Dr. Paul Glassman, professor and director of Community Oral Health, University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, San Francisco, will serve as moderator for the conference.

The conference will be limited to 150 participants. The registration deadline is Oct. 22. The fee for the conference is $150.

To view a complete agenda, or for registration materials and hotel information, visit,

Participants can download the registration form and fax the completed form and credit card information to 1-312-440-2707 or mail the form and a check to ADA Headquarters, 211 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60611 (Attn: Cashier—19th floor).

The JW Marriott will offer registrants a special hotel rate of $259 plus tax per night. Registrants can make hotel reservations via a link on the conference website or by calling the JW at 1-202-393-2000.