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The panel was held on July 20 at the Renaissance Downtown Hotel in Washington, D.C., during the NDA meeting.
Joined by co-panelists Catherine Alicia Georges, EdD, RN, FAAN, president, AARP National Volunteers, and Rear Admiral Timothy L. Ricks, DMD, MPH, chief dental officer of the U.S. Public Health Service and assistant surgeon general of the United States, Bergman and the panel of leaders discussed the roles of the public, private and philanthropic sectors to identify and address the factors that lead to disparities in health care. The panel was moderated by Hazel J. Harper Johns, DDS, MPH, with welcome remarks from John T. Daniels, II, DDS, FICOI, NDA president.
As the leading voice on issues most important to those in the 50 plus community, Georges outlined AARP’s health agenda highlighting the organization’s efforts to address health inequalities in communities of color and the need for collaboration among the sectors to help overcome the social determinants that impede seniors from accessing care. Georges also stressed for greater understanding of oral health as part of overall health as she detailed AARP’s oral health advocacy initiatives and championed for the inclusion of a dental benefit in Medicare.
Ricks updated attendees on the progress of a new Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health that has been commissioned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Surgeon General, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Public Health Service’s Oral Health Coordinating Committee. He identified challenges and opportunities that have emerged since publication of the first report in 2000, and he described key issues currently affecting oral health, such as disease prevention and treatment strategies for an aging population, trends in the dental workforce, and factors contributing to the rising cost of health care.
In his remarks, titled “The Power of Us,” Bergman shared key insights on a variety of topics, ranging from trends affecting the practice of dentistry and the rise of consumerism to the growing demand for diversity and cultural competency among health professionals.
“At Henry Schein, we strongly believe in the power of public-private partnership because the global health issues we face are too daunting for any single sector to effectively address,” Bergman said. “With our public-private partnerships, we work with governmental as well as non-governmental organizations, customers, and suppliers to make a difference in society. This enables trust, and with trust, you can move things forward — like advancing oral health, for example, by bringing together academia, professionals, and public health officials from around the globe.”
Additionally, Bergman commented on the company’s strong commitment to advancing oral health, oral health literacy, and the development of leaders at all levels of the global oral health community. He also explained how Henry Schein works to positively impact health around the world by aligning the company’s strengths as a business with the needs of society. This work is exemplified by the company’s global corporate social responsibility program, Henry Schein Cares, which focuses on three main areas: advancing wellness, building capacity in the delivery of health care services, and assisting in emergency preparedness and relief.
“We remain dedicated to the work of using our resources, in partnership with our entire network of customers, suppliers, investors, and Team Schein Members, to advance the cause of building better societies,” Bergman added. “Nothing is impossible, especially for those of us who recognize the potential of partnership and are committed to achieving a common goal. All of us at Henry Schein look forward to an even closer partnership between the NDA and its members as we move forward together on a strategy to make oral health care more accessible.”
For over 100 years, the NDA has been a national forum for minority dentists and a leader in advancing their rights. The NDA promotes oral health equity among people of color by harnessing the collective power of its members, advocating for the needs of and mentoring dental students of color, and raising the profile of the profession in their communities. The NDA is comprised of thirty-nine state and local chapters throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean. Representing nearly 8,000 African American dental professionals and 37 million African Americans, its membership also includes members from Africa, Canada, Saudi Arabia, South America and Latin America.
(Source: Business Wire)