ADAVB President's Comments
August 2019 Hide Comments
Dental health and diversity: How are we tracking?
Dental Health Week
The theme for Dental Health Week (5–11 August) this year is How is Your Oral Health Tracking?. As dentists, we are always encouraging our patients to focus on their oral health and hygiene, so this annual ADA health promotion event gives us another opportunity to have an in-depth discussion on how their oral health is tracking.
Multiple resources are available at, including how to get the message out beyond your practice with fact sheets, social media promotional materials and media articles. The more public awareness we can create collectively, the better! 
The theme this year also references Australia’s Oral Health Tracker. This is basically a report card, updated regularly, which highlights our national oral health status, and encourages our national governing bodies to help address and reduce the oral health burden on Australia. 
If you’re running an event during Dental Health Week and posting photos on social media, make sure you tag us @ausdentalvic (on Instagram and Facebook).
Use the hashtags #dentalhealthweek #helpingvictorianssmile and we’ll share the photos for you as well! Don’t forget to send a copy to, and make sure that you have consent from individuals in photos before sharing them.
Lately this word keeps coming up, and with good reason. Diversity includes gender, religion, ethnicity, age and sexual orientation, etc. – all things that affect and inform our perspective. Diversity in an organisation can enhance and drive more rounded discussions. 
The Diversity Council of Australia states that inclusion only occurs when a diverse group of people are able to contribute, have access to opportunities, and feel respected and valued. We want our members to feel included, heard and properly represented, and I will be striving to make this an important focus during my term as President.
Within our ADAVB committees, I am proud to say that we have a large and diverse number of members volunteering – different ages, ethnicities, levels of experience, type of expertise and gender. We even have a couple of committees where females outnumber males as well (notably Oral Health Committee and Public Dentistry Committee). 
In saying that, there is always room for improvement, and it is not something that we are approaching passively. Diversity has been flagged as an important issue and is being discussed at multiple ADAVB committee meetings. The demographics of dentistry have changed, and we know it’s important that the ADAVB is representative of all its members. The ADA also addressed this topic with its recent video post, ‘Is ADA Representative?’. 
If you have any thoughts on diversity, or other topics on your mind, please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you. 
ADAVB Social Dinner
My first function as President was the ADAVB Social Dinner held at Cumulus Inc. Great timing! Organised by our Sports and Social Committee, and sponsored by the Bank of Melbourne, it was great to see such a wide range of members attend and interact with one another, while enjoying the delicious food and wine. I think these types of events are an important and fantastic opportunity to not only network, but foster a sense of collegiality within our profession. All in all, it was a wonderful night, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and talking to the many members who attended. 
Dr Gitika Sanghvi

Embarking on new journeys
Passion for what you do
I visited North Queensland recently to attend a PhD workshop. I felt invigorated, inspired and terrified. I met a group of researchers who were also terrified, but were about to put something into the universe that was authentic, useful and altruistic. 
I came back to Hobart with renewed energy and excited to embark on a project that I have been passionate about for several years. 
I discussed my week away with a good friend of mine who asked why I was doing it: ‘You’ll be a highly qualified general dentist Angie. Wouldn’t you be better off specialising and being recognised and remunerated as such?’ 
People who know me will be aware of my indecisiveness and ability to spin more plates than I need to, and I had been considering my options for a long time
before I was comfortable with the decision to enrol for the PhD. Yet, I still second-guessed my choice: ‘What was I thinking?! I’m not a researcher or a specialist; I’m just a general dentist. I’m wasting my time!’
Then I had to go back to what gave me joy in the first place and the journey I took to get to where I am now. I found an awesome quote by American motivational speaker Denis Waitley: ‘chase your passion, not your pension’. 
The more I find out about other ADATas members and what they do outside their ‘normal job’, the more I acknowledge that a job title, letters after your name and publications do not have to define your value. 
More powerful is the ability to remain authentic and passionate in your endeavours.
Dental Health Week
Members all over Tasmania have been getting involved with this year’s Dental Health Week. Along with oral health information stalls in the north and south of the island, practices have been using the ADA resources to promote the theme ‘How’s Your Oral Health Tracking?’. 
The collaborative focus in Tasmania has been to engage with dental professionals to tackle the early years, and deliver the key messages from pregnancy to early childhood through to adulthood. The simplicity in the message to visit a dentist regularly, brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and choose tap water has been the mantra that as a council we will continue to place in the eye of the media to make our message heard that having ‘happy teeth = happy me’.
Dr Angie Nilsson

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