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Session open clinic forums a success

On tap again for 2011 in Las Vegas

Orlando, Fla.—It wasn’t about product placement or giveaways—this year’s exhibit floor had something even more valuable: real dialogue about issues critical to the profession.

For the first time, annual session featured Open Clinical and Science Forums designed to engage participants in important clinical topics while earning continuing education credit. The free forums—held on the exhibit hall floor Oct. 9-11—covered oral cancer, fluoride and cone beam tomography and were often standing room only, drawing an average of some 850 attendees per session and more than 2,500 overall.

The forums will be back for the 2011 session in Las Vegas.

Participants listen to speakers at the forum on cone beam tomography Oct. 11
Discussion: Participants listen to speakers at the forum on cone beam tomography Oct. 11. Photos by EZ Event Photography

The forums were developed in partnership with the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs and The Journal of the American Dental Association and were moderated by Dr. Michael Glick, dean, School of Dental Medicine, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York and JADA editor; and Dr. Daniel Meyer, senior vice president, ADA Division of Science/Professional Relations.

“The goal of the forums was to provide those who attended with an opportunity to freely discuss all aspects of complex and critically relevant issues,” Dr. Meyer said. “Not all issues have simple answers or even common perspectives. We’re looking forward to continuing and expanding this so that the profession can come together to discuss these issues.”

In addition to earning continuing education credits, participants—which included experts, practicing dentists, educators and government and industry representatives—were treated to frank opinions on difficult topics. For instance, the oral cancer forum prompted serious discussions on screening devices and whether or not they contribute to diagnosis of disease.

That issue brought several people to the microphones during a question-and-answer session.

Panel member Dr. Mark Lingen, an oral pathologist at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, cautioned that the devices should never replace an exam.

“The most important word here is adjunct,” he said. “These devices are adjuncts to a visual and tactile exam.”

For the fluoride forum, Dr. Bill Kohn, a panel member from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted that in 1999, CDC declared public water fluoridation one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

The fluoride forum also raised questions about fluoridated water and topical fluorides.

Dr. T. Bob Davis, a general dentist from Greenville, Texas, praised the experience, calling the two forums he attended, “enlightening and heartening.”

“This is the exact type of dialogue we need for multiple issues of the day we face in dentistry,” Dr. Davis said. “All too often we are approaching issues from a legislative [angle] or pursuing one side without dialogue and all parties involved. I commend you for foresight in this new effort.”

Attendees at the Oct. 9 forum on oral cancer participate in a question-and-answer session
Popular draw: Attendees at the Oct. 9 forum on oral cancer participate in a question-and-answer session. This was the first year the Association has held open clinical forums on the exhibit hall floor and based on the success, the forums will be back for the 2011 annual session in Las Vegas.