2019 Conference Produces Progressive Engagement Among Professions and Professionals

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (Saturday, June 8, 2019). The 29th Annual Society of American Indian Dentists (SAID) Conference held June 5th to 8th in Oklahoma City was fittingly themed, United We Heal: Advancing Interprofessional Health Care. The extraordinary collaboration brought together a host of health professionals from a variety of specialties and unique backgrounds. Dentists, physicians, a community dental health coordinator (CDHC), a chef and culinary medicine instructor, a PhD registered dietitian, an ethnobotanist, and a host of researchers engaged to present lectures for the four-day meeting of the minds. Dr. Winifred J. Booker, now the organizations Immediate Past President is quoted as saying, “This crisscrossing of professionals and engagement of professions expands cooperative learning opportunities for everyone.”

The conference was kicked off by Oklahoma’s Attorney General, Mike Hunter who formed their Commission on Opioid Abuse. His inspiration for needed healing has laid the groundwork for other states, and for the country to replicate these successful conquests to end opioid deaths.

Each Thursday lecture series provided especially progressive educational content. United We Heal: Advancing Interprofessional Health Care: Triage to Treatment repeatedly led back to what we drink, eat and inhale; from dental diseases to diabetes to lung cancers and more. This recurring recognition reinforces the importance of advancing interprofessional health care.

The cutting-edge lessons from the Healthy Foods to Healing Medicine: The Prescription is in the Foods lecture series further advances the intimate connection between oral health, diet, digestion, and disease. These courses are at the center of efforts to prioritize wellness. Understanding that prescriptions written for nutrition can improve health, and as well reduce prescriptions written for potentially addictive medications empowers all health care providers.

On Friday, the side-by-side professional and student breakout tracks offered an abundance of resourceful materials and information. Dental student leadership, and careers opportunities following the completion of dental school were covered and discussed.

The conference continued with participation in the annual Red Earth Parade (where we were featured on the Oklahoma News 4 Promotional Spot) and Powwow on Saturday. Toothbrushes for children and adults were given out along the parade route. The SAID distributed over 700 of their exclusively designed reflective stickers that read, “See Yourself Becoming a Dentist,” to children and youth.

Finally, professionals assembled at the Colgate Bright Smiles Bright Futures dental van. The van was parked at the Cox Convention Center where the powwow was being held allowing local licensed members to offer dental screenings.