Oral Health
Section Newsletter
Winter 2005

Oral Health Section Web Site

Check out our new Web site at http://www.apha-oh.org.

Message from the Chair

Dear Oral Health Section members,

At this time of the change of the year, the overpowering devastation by the tsunami catastrophe is bringing people together in a massive public health effort. The world is watching, helping, looking for leadership. A Dec. 29 letter from Georges Benjamin, MD, gives clear information on local and national organizations accepting donations. We join in sending condolensences to everyone affected.

People look to the APHA for leadership. People are looking at our Oral Health Section. What will we do in 2005? There was a buzz of activity during this year's APHA Annual Meeting. We had a
beautiful John W. Knutson Distinguished Service Award ceremony and dinner honoring Charles W. Gish, DDS, MSD. His history of leadership (he knew Knutson), told in his direct and kind manner, was inspiring. There were great programs and personal networking with new people involved. Tim Cooke is the newsletter person and getting us up on the Web (http://www.apha-oh.org)! Kathy Lituri is awesome as secretary!

Oscar Arevalo, as the new program planning chair, attended the APHA program planning meeting. The 2005 APHA Annual Meeting, "Evidence Based Policy and Practice" will have a plenary session on fluoride, celebrationg 60 years of fluoridation. Myron Allukian and Howard Pollick are creating a guaranteed dynamic session. Very exciting how much support there is for the idea from the APHA team.

We are asking you to be involved by submitting your incredible research or programs as workshops, panels, posters, and abstracts so we can all benefit and learn. We are encouraging interdisciplinary, "inter-sectional" program submissions.

I want to thank Jane Steffenson and so many others for their past and continuing efforts on behalf of this section. We look forward to having the newsletter and a web site. Please share the information with others, and let us know what you want to know. We can make both dynamic and useful if YOU participate.

You all -- who bring smiles -- I end with a quote, never so true or needed:

PEACE begins with a Smile--Mother Teresa

Message from the Newsletter Editor

We are glad to bring you the Winter 2005 edition of the Section Newsletter, and would like to encourage everyone to submit articles for the next edition (deadline for submission is April 30, 2005). We are particularly interested in hearing about local oral health activities and successes that should be publicized to a wider audience.

E-mail submissions to Tim Cooke at <newsletter@apha-oh.org>.

The Section Leadership would also like to announce an exciting development: our new Web site. Check the site out at <www.apha-oh.org> for information about the Section, a calendar of events and links to oral health resources. Please e-mail ideas for improvements, suggestions for links and calendar entries and any content you would like included to: <webmaster@apha-oh.org>.

Thanks to Kathy Lituri, Dyan Campbell and Howard Pollick for all their help with the Newsletter and Web site.

Deadline for Submission of Abstracts

All abstracts for next year's APHA Annual Meeting in New Orleans, "Evidence Based Policy and Practice" must be submitted by the deadline of Feb. 8. More details here.

Access the abstract submission form here.

Call for Nominations: John W. Knutson Distinguished Service Award in Dental Public Health

Members of the APHA Oral Health Section are encouraged to submit nominations for the John W. Knutson Distinguished Service Award. The Award is conferred annually at the APHA Annual Meeting based on the following criteria: a distinguished career in dental public health; leadership in the profession; and significant accomplishments. Nominees may have had public health careers at the local, state, national or international level in dental public health practice, academia, the military, business or industry, and must be a present or past member of APHA. To nominate a candidate for the 2005 Award, submit a curriculum vitae or biographical information and letter(s) of recommendation regarding the candidate to the Oral Health Section Awards Committee by March 31, 2005. Candidates who were recommended but did not receive the award in previous years may be resubmitted. Nominations should be sent to:

Scott M. Presson, DDS, MPH
Chair, Oral Health Section Awards Committee
CDC/Division of Oral Health
4770 Buford Hwy, MS F-10
Atlanta, GA 30341

Questions may be directed to Dr. Presson at:

Section Leadership Changes

Section Officers:
On Nov. 9, 2004, the following terms began:

Section Councilors: Three-year term
On Nov. 9, 2004, the following Section Councilor terms ended:

On Nov. 9, 2004, the following Section Councilor terms began:

On Dec. 27, 2004, the following Section Councilor member resigned:

Governing Councilors: Two-year term
On Nov. 9, 2004, the following Governing Councilor term ended:

On Nov. 9, 2004, the following Governing Councilor term began:

A full list of the Section Leadership can be found on our Web site: <www.apha-oh.org/committee.htm.

2004 John W. Knutson Distinguished Service Award: Charles W. Gish

Pictured L to R: Kay Quirk (Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals), Alice Horowitz, Charles Gish, Jane Steffensen (Section Chair), Scott Presson (Awards Chair)
The Oral Health Section of APHA is pleased to announce that the 2004 winner of the John W. Knutson Distinguished Service Award in Dental Public Health is Charles W. Gish, DDS, MSD, of Battle Ground, Ind. Gish is truly a man for all seasons, having had a long and distinguished career in dental public health. He has distinguished himself in public health practice, academia and clinical dental research.

Gish was born June 26, 1923 in Camden, Ind. He attended Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame before receiving his DDS degree with Honors (1949) and a MSD (1960) from Indiana University. From 1952-54, he was a Regional Dental Consultant for Region IX of the U.S. Public Health Service.

For 23 years, starting in 1962, Gish was the State Dental Director for Indiana, and for over 30 years, starting in 1954, he was on faculty at the Indiana University School of Dentistry, co-chairing the Department of Community Dentistry from 1969-1986, and a full professor from 1977-1987. He was an untiring advocate to fluoridate community water supplies in Indiana, and by the mid-1980s fluoridated water was used by 93 percent of all Indiana residents on public water supplies.

A long-standing member and active participant of APHA's Oral Health Section, Gish was also president of the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors from 1969-1971 and received its Outstanding Achievement Award in 1986. He was also president of the American Association of Public Health Dentists from 1969-1970 (now the American Association of Public Health Dentistry) and received their Distinguished Service Award in 1976.

Gish has also been a remarkable clinical researcher. He was intimately involved in the early Crest studies, participating as a principal clinical investigator in most of the study projects involving the efficacy and acceptance of the first fluoride dentifrice, Crest. And he was instrumental in the research and development of a preventive prophylaxis paste that was used by dental practitioners for years. He and Joseph Muller later developed this product into a self-applied fluoride regimen, generally referred to as "brush ins" in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Last, but not least, Gish was one of the team members who worked with John Greene when the Healthy People initiative was begun in the late 1970s.

The Oral Health Section acknowledges and thanks Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals for their continued support of the John W. Knutson Award.

National Public Health Week

National Public Health Week will be April 4-10, 2005! The theme of this year's Week is "Empowering Americans to Live Stronger Longer." APHA plans a compelling week of events both nationally and locally focusing on helping Americans live stronger and longer. Find out more details at <www.apha.org/nphw/05-letter.htm>, and get involved!

First Alaskan Dental Therapists Qualify

The first Alaskan dental therapists educated and trained at the University of Otago were awarded their Diplomas at the University’s graduation ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 4.

After their two-year course in Dunedin, the four dental therapists are heading back to Alaska to provide dental care in remote villages through Alaska’s rural Community Health Aid program.

“The dental therapists will be able to provide oral health care, including undertaking procedures such as fillings and extractions, along with educating their communities in good oral health care and habits in accordance with the course they have undertaken,” says Professor Tom Kardos, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the University’s Faculty of Dentistry.

“These Alaskan oral health professionals are pioneers. The work they are heading back to do is challenging and exciting, and it has been rewarding to have been involved in their education and training. Dental therapists are members of the oral health care team that have been trained to provide a vital health service for children and adolescent members of the community that don’t have ready access to dental care.”

Kardos says it is unfortunate that these therapists are going back into the middle of a political row over the place of dental therapists in the United States. The Indian Health Care Improvement Act, currently under consideration, would allow therapists to deliver oral health care in regions where there is a need for appropriately trained professionals. However, the American Dental Association (ADA) is lobbying against parts of the Act, and wants dental therapists banned from carrying out certain procedures. The ADA considers that only dentists should carry out procedures such as the placement of fillings and extractions.

“Unfortunately that doesn’t get around the problem of how to provide care to youth in remote communities unable to attract dentists.

“Dental therapists have worked in New Zealand for almost 90 years and have also been in the workforce in other countries for a considerable period of time. Both here and overseas, dental therapists have an excellent safety record. Concerns about the so-called ‘risks’ of treatment by a dental therapist rather than a dentist need to be weighed up against health risks to the community from failure of early clinical intervention. Further, the costs of failing to intercept early caries that leads on to medical complications is high and untreated dental decay can lead to a variety of medical conditions, some of which are extremely serious,” Kardos says.

“The Community Health Aid program is a fantastic initiative and these dental health aide therapists will be delivering a service within their scope of training where it’s needed. New Zealand faces similar challenges in improving oral health care services to remote rural and Maori communities,” he says.

Kardos says the dental therapists’ program of training and education has been accredited by the Dental Council of New Zealand and the accreditation process includes relativity with Australian programs. Their research-informed education and training has been under the auspices of the University’s Faculty of Dentistry since 1998. Further, the program operates under the new Health Practitioner’s Competence Assurance Act, which has patient safety as a prime concern and requires registration and continuing professional education of therapists and other health professionals such as doctors and dentists.

The graduating therapists are Bobby Curtis, Lily McGilton, Conan Murat and Stephanie Woods. They come from locations throughout Alaska and represent a range of indigenous cultures. Thirteen students from Alaska are still undergoing their studies in Dunedin.

Adapted from a University of Otago Press Release Dec. 3, 2004. A report in the Anchorage Daily News can be found here.

News: Judge Issues Injuction Against Claims That Mouthwash is as Effective as Flossing

Pfizer Inc. can no longer claim in advertisements that its Listerine mouthwash is "as effective as floss" in preventing plaque and gum disease after a Manahattan judge issued an injunction against the company's claims in January.

A judge in New York said the Listerine ads' claims were false and could mislead consumers into thinking that using mouthwash could replace flossing.

Read the whole story here.

News: Report Finds Health Claims Against Dental Amalgam Lack Scientific Evidence

A review of seven years' worth of scientific studies concludes there is insufficient evidence of a link between dental mercury and health problems, except in rare instances of allergic reactions," according to a report released by the Life Sciences Research Office, Inc. (LSRO) in Bethesda, Md.

LSRO conducted the independent scientific review of dental amalgam at the request of a work group made up of representatives from the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Public Health Service. The report, "Review and Analysis of the Literature on the Potential Adverse Health Effects of Dental Amalgam," updates and reaches the same conclusion as two earlier reviews by the U.S. Deptartment of Health and Human Services of the widely used dental material.

Read the report here.

Dental Public Health Listserv

Where can you find discussion of important issues in public health dentistry? Find answers to your questions? Be kept up to date with new developments? Find job postings? On the dental public health listserv, run by Bob Weyant and given courtesy space on the University of Pittsburgh server. It is open to anyone with an interest in oral health and public health.

To subscribe, send an e-mail from the address you wish to use for the list with the word subscribe in the body of the text (leave the Subject line blank) to:


Call for Papers: Race and Genetics

The American Journal of Public Health, in collaboration with the National Minority Health Leadership Summit, intends to publish a collection of manuscripts on Race and Genetics in public health. We are interested in soliciting focused primary data and important review or commentary manuscripts concerning the relationship between race and genetics in determining health and health care. Emphasis will be directed at manuscripts that examine this subject in the context of the national effort to understand and address racial disparity in health care. Full (180-word structured abstract, 3,500-word text, up to four tables/figures) and brief manuscripts (80-word structured abstract, 800-word text, up to two tables/figures) in the journal format of “Research and Practice” are welcome. All manuscripts will undergo standard peer review by the AJPH editors and peer referees as defined by the AJPH policy. To be considered for inclusion in this theme issue, manuscripts must be submitted by April 1, 2005, using the online submission system at <http://submit.ajph.org>. The AJPH Web site provides instructions for authors, including specific guidelines for various types of manuscripts. Please indicate at submission that your manuscript is intended for this call for papers by selecting “Race and Genetics” under the Theme Issue menu. For additional information about this theme issue, please contact the guest editors at <kimberlyhansen1@med.va.gov>.

Guest Editors:

Michael J. Fine, MD, MS
Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Pittsburgh

Stephen B. Thomas, PhD
University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

Said A. Ibrahim, MD, MPH
Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Pittsburgh

Oral Health Resources for Physicians

The American Academy of Pediatrics has developed a Web site with a range of oral health resources particularly aimed at physicians. Find it at:


Deborah Greenspan elected Vice President of the International Association for Dental Research

APHA Oral Health Section member Deborah Greenspan, interim chair of the Department of Orofacial Sciences at the UCSF School of Dentistry, has been elected vice president of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR). She is also a Professor of Clinical Oral Medicine and the Clinical Director of the Oral AIDS Center at UCSF. She will be installed as vice president when the IADR meets from March 9-12, 2005 for its Scientific Session in Baltimore.

Active with IADR for more than 25 years, Greenspan has served in a number of positions during her membership, including with the Constitution Committee, the Oral Medicine & Pathology group and as the American Association of Dental Research (AADR) Treasurer from 1991-1994. Greenspan will proceed to the president-elect position of IADR in 2006 before becoming President in 2007.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the membership of the IADR, and I am truly honored that my peers have such confidence in me,” Greenspan said. “I hope to be able to continue the crucial work in which IADR engages.”

“It’s wonderful to see Deborah being given this tremendous opportunity to lead the IADR,” said Dean Charles Bertolami. “It is an accomplishment well deserved, from one of our most dedicated, hard-working and respected faculty members at the UCSF School of Dentistry.”

Shrestha appointed to NY Medical Advisory Committee

Buddhi Shresha, DDS, MS, PhD, who recently stood down from the Oral Health Section Council, has recently been nominated by Governor Pataki and confirmed by the New York State Senate as a member of the State's Medical Advisory Committee for a term to expire May 31, 2007. The Medical Advisory Committee consists of 20 members from various parts of the state and provides the New York State Department of Health Office of Medicaid Management with advice and recommendations concerning health and medical care services provided under the Medicaid Program. In addition, the governor has also appointed Shresha as a member of the New York Rural Health Council.

Mark Your Diaries: Upcoming Oral Health and Public Health Meetings

Please contact us if you have oral health related meetings and events to add to the calendar. An up to date list will be available on the Web site.

Health Action 2005

Jan. 27-29, 2005

Washington, D.C.

Western Migrant Stream Forum

Jan. 28-30, 2005

San Diego

Children's Oral Health Month

February, 2005

19th National Conference on Chronic Disease Prevention and Control

March 1-3, 2005


America Dental Education Association Annual Session & Exhibition

March 5-9, 2005


International Association for Dental Research General Session & Exhibition and American Association for Dental Research Annual Meeting

March 9-12, 2005


National Public Health Week

April 4-10, 2005

National Oral Health Conference: Joint Meeting of the Association of State & Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD) and American Association of Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD)

May 2-4, 2005


Hispanic Dental Association Annual Meeting

November 2005

San Antonio

Upcoming APHA Annual Meeting Schedule

For those who like to plan ahead!:

2005 Nov. 5-9,
New Orleans (133rd Meeting)
Evidence Based Policy and Practice

2006 Nov. 4-8,
Boston (134th Meeting)
Public Health and Human Rights

2007 Nov. 3-7,
Washington, D.C.

2008 Oct. 25-29,
San Diego

2009 November 7-11,

2010 November

Check out <http://www.apha.org/meetings/future_past.htm> for information and abstracts from past meetings.