Association for Dental Education in Europe

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President's Welcome 2022 - 2023

Prof Dr Pål Barkvoll, President 2022-2023

Prof Dr Pål Barkvoll is an experienced administrator and professor of Oral Surgery and Oral Medicine with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Skilled in Clinical Research, Medical Education, Life Sciences, Epidemiology, and Medical Devices. Strong education professional with a Chief course - Sjefskurset focused in Military and Strategic Leadership from The Norwegian Military Academy.

Dear Oral Health Professional Educator Colleagues,

It is my honour and pleasure to have been nominated to act as ADEE president for the period 2022 and 2023. I have had a long and active engagement with ADEE through the years in my role as Dean of faculty in Oslo University and indeed hosting the 2018 annual meeting. For me ADEE has always been a driving voice in the advancing of dental education and continues to evolve as the changing face of dental education has. ADEE was one of the first to engage with and encourage technological use in the curriculum, one of the first to drive for the competence approach to teaching and is now leading the way in encouraging a more team and inter professional focus in the delivery of oral health professionals’ education. During my two year presidential term I hope with the support of the Executive Committee to focus on the following core activities and to embed them within ADEE strategic direction going forward:

Continue to grow ADEE membership: At the core of ADEE is its membership base. It is these members that give live to our consensus created documents, and take the profession of dental education forward. Reinforcing the importance of ADEE, its mission, ethos and approach and encouraging all member institution to actively engage and participate will be a prime objective. Drawing on the work of my predecessors Profs Tubert Jeannin and Akota, I want to further encourage member engagement. In particular, I would like to enable more involvement and to increase the interest among schools in the following regions:

  • Germany/Austria/Switzerland (German speaking)
  • France/Belgium/Switzerland (French speaking)

Having delivered ADEE first online French speaking session in 2021, and hosting targeted regional discussions at ADEE 2019 in Berlin along with the new regional support structure of ADEE, I am confident we can re-engaged these members and highlight for them the value and importance of ADEE.

Ensuring we graduate students capable of meeting future need: Today's students will probably practice up to the year 2070 so we need to be proactively working towards and creating what that future will be. It is very important for me in my period as president to set a direction so that our students are able to meet the needs of the future. In doing so it is important the they have both an interesting and engaging profession, while also being able to meet the changing needs of the population and wider society. Dentistry is by its nature a conservative discipline - except when it comes to new technology. We need to think new ways when it comes to organisation and structure of the professions.

While there are of course regional differences throughout Europe, the trends today are that oral health is thankfully getting better and better in the population and especially in the younger demographic of the population. The baby boom generation, born between 1945 and 1965, today has a relatively greater need for repair of their teeth with fillings, crowns, bridges and implants. It is these who largely employ Europe's dentists. They got their permanent teeth before fluoride became widely available. But that generation will leave the planet in the next 20 years or so and those that follow have different needs. So perhaps now is the time to start asking strategic questions around who and how we educate. Some of these questions will be challenging.

The future division of labour between dentists, dental therapists and dental hygienists must be discussed at European and national level. It will be of importance that the graduating European dentists for the future see themselves: As health professionals, which commits both legally, ethically and morally. They should not contribute to increased body pressure in society, but be aware of their responsibility and always ensure that the treatment performed is medically justified. And set clear ethical boundaries for treatment in general, and for cosmetic treatment in particular and must not contribute to creating a need for treatment by marketing or proposing treatment that is not medically justified.

Meaningful engagement with inter professionalism: As the population is getting older, it is important that oral health care is coordinated with other primary health care providers and becomes a meaningful integrated part of it. Interprofessional interaction will be a critical skill and competence of our graduates in all the oral health professions. In nursing homes, dental hygienists will be able to play an important role in preventing disease. An elderly population will often be medicated with various medications and may have a number of underlying diseases that may make treatment more complex.

The dentist of the future must therefore have good clinical competence and extensive knowledge of general medicine - more than we do today and must also be able to handle even advanced disease in the oral cavity. In the next iteration, the profession must also see that there is no future where dentistry is on the side of general health. It is not an oral cavity on two legs - it is a whole patient, need whole person care, centred on their needs and not those of the healthcare professions. Dentistry must to a greater extent be implemented in the primary health service as also described both in EU discussion papers and most recently the WHO.

Collaboration: ADEE’s working ethos has always been one that focuses on collaboration and consensus making. It is therefore important at a time of considerable change for healthcare that we remain focused and reinvigorated in our communications and collaborations with the different Oral Health Professional educator stakeholders. In particular we must continue to engage with the EU, IADR, AMEE. EDSA, CED, FEDCAR, EDHF and the many other relevant regional and international bodies. Together we can address the challenges ahead! I do hope that the COVID situation will improve and make it possible for us all to travel and to meet in person much more than the last year and a half year.

I do hope it will be possible for me to make visits to some dental schools in Europe during my presidency and I am already excited about our meetings planned for Palma de Mallorca in the Balearic Islands and in KU Leuven in Belgium. I hope to be able to me many of you at these meetings where together with the ADEE executive we can begin the reshaping of dental education to meet the challenges of the future.

Watch Prof Dr Pål Barkvoll video message bellow.

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