Second Sunstar Foundation World Dental Hygienists Awards ceremony held at IFDH 18th International Symposium on Dental Hygiene in Glasgow

05 July 2010

The Sunstar Foundation for Oral Health Promotion, in collaboration with the International Federation of Dental Hygienists (IFDH) and the International Journal of Dental Hygiene (IJDH), established the World Dental Hygienists Awards to recognize and encourage dental hygienists and dental hygiene students who have made important contributions to the dental community, their profession or to the general public.

The second awards ceremony was held during the IFDH’s 18th International Symposium on Dental Hygiene (ISDH), which took place from July 1 to 3, 2010 in Glasgow, Scotland, and the Sunstar Foundation for Oral Health Promotion, IFDH and IJDH jointly sponsored the awards ceremony. The award-winners each gave a presentation of their papers as a part of the ISDH official scientific program on the morning of July 3.

The award-winners in the Research, Project and Student categories received a combined total of U.S.10,000 dollars in prize money, certificates of the Sunstar awards and commemorative trophies. The awards ceremony was held on the evening of July 2, and nearly all of the approximately 800 persons attending the symposium from 24 countries around the world came to watch the awards ceremony. Because the host country was Scotland, the IFDH kicked things off on the first day of the Symposium with entertainment provided by a Glasgow-area bagpipe and drum company.

Theaward-winners were chosen from among 27 papers that were submitted by authors from nine countries – Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the U.S. The submissions are divided into three award categories: research papers on dental hygiene, reports on projects that contribute to the promotion of oral health and reports written by dental hygiene students on dental hygiene or volunteer work activities. The panel of judges consisted of Marjolijn Hovius, Screening Committee Chair and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Dental Hygiene, Isao Ishikawa, Christine Nathe, Michele Darby and Kersten Ohrn.

Sherry L. Priebe of the University of British Columbia in Canada was the winner in the Research category for her paper “Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Cultural Risk Habits in Patients at the Oncology Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.”

Ms. Priebe’s paper emphasizes that oral cancer in Vietnam is often not being diagnosed until the cancer is already late-stage. In her study, she analyzed the cases of 147 patients with Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC) who were being treated at the Oncology Hospital. The author reports that OSCC is the 7th most common cancer in Vietnam. She looks at key etiological risk factors such as the use of tobacco, alcohol, betel nuts, compromised immunity, previous history of cancer, diet and human papilloma virus (HPV), and reports that 90% of oral cancer is due to tobacco and alcohol abuse with the risk increasing if these two risks are combined with betel nut chewing. The paper asserts that the reasons for late diagnosis of these cancers are related to “limited access to care, poverty, fear, unawareness about when to seek help, lack of training of health care professionals and lack of awareness of risk.” The author states that the practical implications of her research findings are the need for oral screenings, increased public awareness of risk habits and the migration of populations with cultural oral habits.

The presenters of the winning paper in the Project category were Annamaria Genovesi and Olivia Marchisio for their paper “CODE 75: Operative Protocols and a Case Report in Preventive Dental Care in a Department of Neurorehabilitation for Acquired Cerebral Lesions.” Annamaria Genovesi, RDH, DHA, is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the School of Dental Hygiene of the University of Genova in Italy and Director of the Dental Hygiene Department of the Istituto Stomatologico Tirreno at Versilia General Hospital in Tuscany, Italy. Olivia Marchisio, RDH, DHA, is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the School of Dental Hygiene, University of Pavia in Italy and a Research Fellow in a program in nanobiotechnologies and nanosciences and a PhD student at the University of Genova in Italy.

The paper states that “the key to success in patients’ therapy and maintenance is effective communication between the parties involved” and that therapy and maintenance of oral hygiene in patients with cerebral lesions are essential to the overall success of rehabilitation therapy. The authors conclude by stressing the importance for achieving the best results in a rehabilitation program of adopting a multiprofessional approach, including dentists and dental hygienists.

Maria Fjellström, a licensed dental hygienist and student at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, won the award in the Student category for her paper titled “A Modified Cognitive Behavioral Model as a Method to Improve Adherence to Oral Hygiene Instructions: A Pilot Study.” This study concludes that using a modified model of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) through keeping a diary “resulted in increased adherence to oral hygiene and knowledge about gingivitis, compared to traditional instructions.”

The next World Dental Hygienists Awards will be presented at the next triennial IFDH International Symposium, which will take place in South Africa in 2013.

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