Inside Dentistry
August 2013
Volume 9, Issue 8

The Foundation for Oral Rehabilitation

Providing educational opportunities that improve patient care in daily clinical practice

Nobel Biocare’s 2013 Global Symposium, which took place June 20 to 23, 2013, at the historic Waldorf Astoria in New York, marked the official inauguration of the Foundation for Oral Rehabilitation (FOR). FOR is an independent, international initiative meant to unite professionals from various disciplines to improve oral health care and support humanitarian leadership. Its mission is to achieve effective worldwide patient care through scholarship and humanitarian engagement. Centered around three key areas—science, education, and humanity—FOR connects its global participants via its newly launched website, www.FOR.org, and allows them to share their expertise and extend their professional profiles.

At the inauguration ceremony, Bertrand Piccard, a world renowned psychiatrist, explorer, and philanthropist, was presented with the first ever FOR Humanity Award. It was given in recognition of the work he does with his foundation, Winds of Hope, to prevent cancrum oris, or noma, a facial gangrene that particularly afflicts very young and malnourished children.

FOR also aims to provide a platform for young professionals to connect with peers, share their experiences, and learn from mentors while developing personally and professionally. As such, the Foundation held a 1-hour “Emerging Leaders Session” at the Symposium, featuring the work of three young and up-and-coming dental professionals. It is FOR’s hope that educational events like the Emerging Leaders Session will become more commonplace in the dental industry in the years to come.

Inside Dentistry had an opportunity to sit down with FOR’s chairman, Professor George Zarb, and discuss where he sees FOR fitting into the current dental landscape, along with the foundation’s potential to change the industry for the better.

Inside Dentistry (ID): What are you going to be focusing on in the next 12 to 18 months?

George Zarb (GZ): I think that the major focus is on a short list of doable education initiatives, which are presented in a way that they lend themselves to an on-demand approach to learning. So we’d like to think that this is a body of information that is already readily available, given the scholarly bent and background of the people who are already involved, plus the availability of a whole bunch of other people who have already shown an extraordinary amount of commitment. The world is already full of great clinicians. We would like to recruit the desire of these excellent clinicians to share information and make it available to everyone.

ID: How does that translate into everyday education for clinicians?

GZ: Take study clubs, for example. We are going to populate study clubs with people, who, by virtue of their easy access to this information, have ready-made material. Consider how study clubs worked in the past. Usually, there is somebody who’s very capable who then gets together with other clinicians and shares what he or she knows. Now, these leaders are going to have a lot of ready-made material on their tablets and other high-tech devices. So I think this raises the level of learning—and communication of that learning—and partners it with mentoring in order to provide this additional level of support.

ID: How will FOR affect the lecture circuit as it exists today?

GZ: Well, we have young people! Traditionally, the way the speaker system develops in the dental world involves three factors: the buddy factor, good luck factor, and the just published factor, and when all these factors converge, a speaker is absorbed into the circuits. From there, the circuits become a merry-go-round, accelerating at a very fast pace. However, with this system, it tends to be the same people speaking over and over again. And people who nurture other people who are simpatico with that line of thinking, that line of production. With our focus on young leaders, FOR is hoping to upend that old system and introduce new faces and voices to the dental lecture circuit.

ID: Now that FOR has officially launched, how are you handling the momentum behind this new organization?

GZ: My major concern is to slow down the enthusiasm so we aren’t running much faster than we should be running in a marathon. You don’t sprint right at the very start. I think that the biggest challenge is going to be to collectively evolve a sense of pace on how we’re going to approach this. The list of all the things that are going to feed the platform—that will still be up in the air for some time. A lot of this is expertise, good will, and a lot of technical information that will be synthesized into something readable.

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