Realising a vision with FDI World Dental Federation president, Dr Greg Chadwick

On 20 Mar, dental professionals and organisations will partake in World Oral Health Day (WOHD) with an array of oral health programmes, activities and campaigns. Dental Asia speaks with FDI president Dr Greg Chadwick, as he details the federation’s priorities to achieve the goals in its Vision 2030 report and invites individuals, advocates, and policymakers to achieve FDI’s vision of a world with optimal oral health.

Dr Greg Chadwick
Dr Greg Chadwick, FDI World Dental Federation president

Across the time that Dr Greg Chadwick has spent in private practice, academia and with national organisations, at the local, state, national and international levels, he sees his 30-year journey as a “rewarding” participation in the dentistry profession.

This journey includes serving as the president of the American Dental Association from 2001-02 and a trustee from 1996-2000, leading the efforts to start the East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine where he has been serving as dean for almost 12 years, and dedicating six years to the role of speaker of the FDI General Assembly.

At the FDI World Dental Federation (FDI) General Assembly in Sydney on 26 Sep 2023, Dr Greg Chadwick was installed as the new president for the federation. Reflecting on how he will channel the lessons learnt throughout this journey in guiding the FDI to achieve its mission and vision, Dr Chadwick distilled his answer into three aspects.

“First, there is no limit to what we can accomplish when we work together and with a plan. Second, prevention is key and must be prioritised if we are expecting improvement in oral health in a cost-effective and strategic way. Last, but not least, advocacy efforts cannot be overstated as they are crucial to drive effective and lasting change,” said Dr Chadwick.

VISIONS AND PILLARS

At the 154th WHO Executive Board meeting, FDI and the International Association for Dental, Oral, And Craniofacial Research (IADR) expressed its concern in a joint statement regarding global oral health targets

Over the next two years, FDI’s priorities as an organisation will continue to focus on achieving the goals detailed in its Vision 2030 report.

The report, ‘Vision 2030: Delivering Optimal Oral Health for All’, was first published in 2021 and identifies challenges that will confront dentistry and the oral health community over the next decade. By turning these challenges into opportunities, it proposes strategies to improve oral health, reduce oral health inequalities, and contribute to reducing the global burden of oral diseases.

“The challenges that the dental professions must be aware of are outlined in FDI’s Vision 2030 report and are intricately tied to the three fundamental pillars of this report that present opportunities for enhancing oral health,” Dr Chadwick said.

Under its ambit, the report is constructed around three pillars, each with a major goal to be achieved by 2030. These pillars are supported by a strategy for education that will create a responsive and resilient profession, with the knowledge and skills to lead systems reforms.

PROGRESS AND CHALLENGES

As the main driver of its work at FDI, Vision 2030 is at the heart of its advocacy efforts. The developments in the global oral health landscape with the approval and formal adoption of the World Health Organization (WHO) Resolution, Strategy and Action Plan on oral health have moved oral health into the spotlight, making it a public health priority. “We are of course pleased that WHO’s position aligns with our own Vision 2030,” said Dr Chadwick.

Dr Chadwick shared that FDI has been proactive in working with its members to implement Vision 2030 through diverse initiatives. In 2023, FDI co-organised advocacy and capacity building workshops with its regional organisations in Europe and Latin America. The workshops were aimed to equip national dental associations with the knowledge and resources to support governments in developing ambitious national oral health policies with measurable targets and monitoring mechanisms.

“Through relevant discussions on the oral health burdens specific to each region and the identification of advocacy priorities, we collaborated to create action plans tailored to the needs of each region,” Dr Chadwick explained.

In addition, FDI has also developed a Vision 2030 Advocacy in Action Implementation Toolkit, designed to empower advocates worldwide to champion oral health. Dr Chadwick noted a growing interest from various stakeholders, including members, industry and civil society to address oral health as part of the broader health agenda. Consequently, FDI aims to make as much information available as possible to empower all to advocate for oral health through tools such as the implementation toolkit.

Toothie, the FDI’s mascot, will be leading the World Oral Health Day campaign from 2024-2026 as a new three-year cycle aimed at raising the awareness of the interconnected nature of oral health and general health

“We now need to continue leveraging this momentum to bring about positive change in oral health worldwide. We remain committed to collaborating with our members and partners to ensure that we have a united voice on global platforms. We are confident that through our collective efforts, we can achieve meaningful and sustainable advancements in global oral health,” Dr Chadwick added.

Looking forward to achieving such oral health outcomes, the World Oral Health Day celebrations observed annually on 20 Mar by dental professionals, healthcare institutions, and the public, forms a crucial period to empower people with the knowledge, tools and confidence to secure good oral health.

To read the full article, click here or refer to Dental Asia March/April 2024 issue.