Thursday, November 2, 2023

As it has done for many years, the Iowa Dentistry hosted the Midwest Dental Public Health Conference on October 15-16.  The conference, which received financial support from several Midwest Delta Dental organizations (representing Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin), began with a session for dental students on Sunday, October 15, at the College. Approximately 35 students from the University of Iowa, Case Western University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Marquette University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Nebraska attended this session. It featured a workshop presented by Eleanor Fleming, assistant dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, as well as several other presentations.

The main conference began on Sunday evening, with a reception and dinner at the Hyatt Regency Coralville and was highlighted by Fleming's Rhys B. Jones Keynote Address, “Anti-racism in Dental Public Health – A Call to Action”.  The evening also featured the presentation of the inaugural Rhys B. Jones Midwest Dental Public Health Lifetime Leader Award to Dean Emeritus David Johnsen for his advocacy for dental education, research and the oral health of the public, and his long-term support of outreach activities of the college and the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry. 

The conference continued through Monday at the Hyatt, with speakers from several states, including Carly Ross from Dental Connections, Mary Kelly of Oral Health Connections, and Hayley Harvey, dental director for Broadlawns Dental Clinic, all in Des Moines, as well as speakers from South Dakota, Michigan, and Minnesota.  The conference concluded with a presentation by Mana Mozaffarian, a former Chief Dental Officer for the State of Pennsylvania, who spoke about integrated trauma-informed care and dental public health. 

The conference attracted over 100 attendees from Iowa including dental students, graduate students, dental faculty, state and local Dental Public Health leaders and Delta Dental leaders from Iowa and 7 other Midwestern states.  This year’s conference marked the resumption of an annual event (through 2019) which had to be cancelled during 2020-2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.