The Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future has been very productive in the last couple of months of 2022.
The Global Team has supported two key annual meetings: the ACFF Pan-European Chapter Collaborative Council, followed by the ACFF UK Chapter 2022 Workshop.
The Pan-European Chapter Collaborative Council – October 2022
The ACFF Pan-Europe Collaborative Council met in October 2022 face-to-face for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Council has met together online, every member had agreed that they wanted to return to face-to-face meetings as soon as possible.
The Council brings together organisations and associations from across Europe that work in oral health practice, policy and research. Everyone was excited to see each other once again and push forward towards a cavity-free future after two years of reduced activity due to the pandemic.
The meeting took place over a 24-hour period at the Sofitel Hotel at Heathrow Airport, London, and was chaired by Chapter Co-Chair, Prof. Nigel Pitts. Unfortunately, the other Chapter Co-Chair Prof. Svante Twetman was at the last minute unable to attend the meeting itself, though he had been closely involved in the event’s organisation.
The central theme of the meeting focused on how the Collaborative Council can adapt to the way the world has changed since the pandemic began in 2020. This included discussions of the draft WHO Global Health Action Plan and how the Council can help local Chapters across Europe implement the Plan’s recommendations. The Council explored how IT solutions and potential marketing strategies could improve how effectively the ACFF spread its message. At the core of all this were the opportunities for the organisations involved in the Council to work closer together in order to be more effective advocates for oral health in Europe.
It was wonderful to see so many people coming together from such a range of organisations, some of whom have been attending the Council meetings for many years, and others for whom it was their first time. The Pan-European Council succeeds only through collaborative work like this and the Co-Chairs would like to thank all the members for bringing their viewpoints, ideas and expertise from all aspects of the oral health community and ensuring that we work together towards a cavity-free future.
The membership is made up of representatives from: Association for Dental Education in Europe (ADEE), European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry (EAPD), European Association for Dental Public Health (EADPH), European Dental Hygienists Federation (EDHF), European Dental Students Association (EDSA), European Organisation for Caries Research (ORCA) and Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe (PBOHE) along with multiple independent experts.
UK Chapter Meeting and Workshop – November 2022
On the 2nd – 3rd November 2022, the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future UK Chapter met for the first time since the October 2021 Chapter launch. When the Chapter launched, its members agreed on three key themes to focus its efforts on. These were:
- Implementing caries prevention and care in everyday dental practice
- Implementing caries prevention and care in health and social care curricula
- Promoting caries prevention and care for the vulnerable across the life course
At this November 2022 meeting, the members aimed to create a set of plans that would help them bring these three ideas to life. The Chapter also decided to explore how IT solutions could also be brought in to help make the Chapter’s plans more effective.
To achieve this, the Chapter Co-Chairs, Prof. Avijit Banerjee and Prof. Nigel Pitts divided the members into three workgroups, based on their interests and specialities, and each group was tasked with developing an appropriate, effective and pragmatic plan for their assigned theme. Over the next 24 hours, the three groups discussed their plans, presented their initial ideas back to the whole group and then updated those plans following the feedback.
The Chapter is composed of professionals from all across the UK and the spectrum of oral health. The approach taken by the Chairs allowed a truly collaborative experience with each theme receiving ideas and input from this wide array of perspectives. It is this joint teamwork approach that will be vital to achieving a cavity-free future in the UK. Some of the common areas identified by the three groups included a need for a well thought through communications plan that brings in both traditional publications and social media to help spread the correct messages, as well as creating the right incentives to encourage the most positive behaviours.
The Chairs would like to thank Russ Ladwa, Patrick Fee, Ben Atkins, Miranda Steeples, Chris Deery, Gail Douglas, Tim Newton, Fiona Sandom, Fiona Ellwood, Rakhee Patel, Maria Morgan, Gerry Mckenna, James Coughlan, Chris Vernazza and Stephen Hancocks for the time and energy they have given to the Chapter.
If you would like to learn more about the UK Chapter then please read the account of the Chapter’s launch meeting in the British Dental Journal here.
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