ISDH 2022 looks to “deliver a feeling of community”

After a three-year absence, the International Symposium on Dental Hygiene (ISDH) will take place at the Convention Centre Dublin in Ireland from 11 to 13 August. Hosted by the Irish Dental Hygienists’ Association in collaboration with the International Federation of Dental Hygienists (IFDH), the 13th iteration of the event will provide many opportunities for attendees to learn about recent developments in this specialty. Dental Tribune International (DTI) spoke with Corrie Jongbloed-Zoet, president of the IFDH, and Barbara Derham, chairperson of the local organising committee for ISDH 2022, about their hopes for the event.

IFDH President Corrie Jongbloed-Zoet. (Image: IFDH)

The theme of ISDH 2022 is “The future in our hands”. In what ways has this theme influenced the direction and programme of this event?
Jongbloed-Zoet: In a 2019 report, the World Health Organization estimated that there were more than 3.5 billion cases of oral disease globally—most of them preventable. Preventive oral healthcare is the core business of dental hygienists, so if we want to contribute to resolving the burden of oral disease, we have to take the future into our own hands and focus, even more than we do now, on prevention.

The promotion of oral health and the prevention of oral disease are the primary tasks of mid-level oral health providers and community health workers. The global oral health workforce is far too limited in number to be able to resolve all oral health problems. For this reason, cross-sectoral collaboration is necessary, and schools, communities, workplaces, teachers and families should also be involved. Information and education can be provided by the oral health workforce, and dental hygienists, in particular, can play an important role in these programmes to improve oral health.

This global issue will be addressed during ISDH 2022 by invited speakers, who will include Prof. Paul Brocklehurst, Prof. Richard G. Watt and dental hygienist Cristina Ferreira. In addition, the increasing number of dental hygienists who are undertaking research in order to strengthen the profession’s body of knowledge will be represented by the many oral and poster presentations and commercial sessions covering a wide variety of topics.

Barbara Derham, chairperson of the local organising committee for ISDH 2022. (Image: Barbara Derham)

Barbara Derham, chairperson of the local organising committee for ISDH 2022. (Image: Barbara Derham)

Derham: The theme was decided over ten years ago, when the Irish Dental Hygienists’ Association first made a bid for hosting the event. It has stood the test of time, and whereas the last two years have certainly made us realise that the future is not always in our own hands, we have adapted and found innovative ways of developing, of delivering education for dental hygienists and of sharing an oral health prevention message globally.

The programme was developed with four key themes in mind: Adapt, Care, Enable and Learn. These were deliberately kept broad to ensure that many of our international peers could submit their research, case studies and topics within their own areas of specialty, as well as to accommodate an invited speaker programme aimed at the future planning of services and training and the expansion of the role of the dental professional to reflect an ageing population. Whereas topics are diverse, all presentations will have three take-home messages for attendees, thus ensuring a level of uniformity within each session.

What can dental hygienists who have never been to a symposium held by the IFDH before expect? How will they benefit from attending?
Jongbloed-Zoet: Dental hygienists who have never been to an international symposium on dental hygiene will possibly be overwhelmed by the sheer number of lectures, workshops and presentations on offer. In just a few days, though, they will be up to date about the latest developments in the profession and the latest insights regarding new materials, products and technical innovations.

In addition, they will be able to meet peers from all over the world during the welcome reception and learn from each other and will have great fun during the social events. In particular, the Friday evening in the Guinness Storehouse at the St. James’s Gate Brewery will be an event never to be forgotten!

Derham: The ISDH has a long history of returning attendees, for once you arrive, the excitement and anticipation of being with others with a similar passion and a curious mind is addictive. As a profession, dentistry can often mean working alone or in a small team. An international symposium affords a unique opportunity to spend time with a broad group of one’s peers, ranging in experience and specialties. Above all, however, it can deliver a feeling of community.

The past two years have meant further isolation for many, and the ability to meet face to face has been largely absent. This is what ISDH 2022 plans to correct. With education delivered over three days, five streams to choose from at any time, a poster exhibition and a trade exhibition, the benefits are endless.

 

“An international symposium affords a unique opportunity to spend time with a broad group of one’s peers” Barbara Derham

What does ISDH 2022 hold in store for those who have been to previous symposia?
Jongbloed-Zoet: The 12th ISDH was held in 2019, and since then, the pandemic has largely meant an absence of travel, of visiting congresses and symposia, and of meeting colleagues and peers. I think everyone who is coming back is looking forward very much to learning about new research and innovations and being able to invest in new and old relationships. Although video meetings have been very useful and effective during this time, we have really missed the social aspects of meeting in person.

Will other members of the dental team benefit from travelling to Dublin?
Derham: ISDH 2022 has already attracted other members of the dental team to register for the event, including dental specialists. We have designed the programme to have a range of subjects that apply to the whole dental team. As prevention is the foundation of any good oral care plan, it makes sense that all team members attend and take their new knowledge back to the workplace.

Jongbloed-Zoet: It is always beneficial to have a colleague or employee who is fully aware of the latest developments in the field of dental hygiene so that they can be implemented in daily practice.

Are there any other elements of ISDH 2022 that you are particularly excited about?
Derham: The local organising and scientific committees have worked hard to ensure this symposium has excitement throughout the programme over the whole three days. The opening plenary session, which will bring all attendees together in the main auditorium, will be presented by Prof. Brocklehurst on the topic “How do we meet the future dental public health challenges before us?”—a question of interest to people from all corners of the globe.

Other highlights will be a spectacular flag-bearing opening ceremony, a welcome reception on the first evening and the social pièce de résistance, the ISDH 2022 Conference Party at Dublin’s top attraction, the Guinness Storehouse. Our hope is that people are able to relax, enjoy themselves and develop professional knowledge, all within a supportive, friendly atmosphere. It has been far more challenging than we expected; however, we have worked together with the IFDH and the Keynote conference organisers, and we are definitely open for business!

Jongbloed-Zoet: I’m looking forward to the wide range of topics, speakers and presentations and to the trade show itself. The opening ceremony will, no doubt, be a highlight, as will the presentation of awards to the winners of IFDH programmes, the closing ceremony with the presentation of the next symposium host, South Korea, and the installation of the new board of the IFDH.


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