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Safety first, as dental offices, and other businesses begin to open

In order for dental practices to succeed during the pandemic and have patients return, dental offices need to be sensitive to their fears. This can be done by following the CDC/ADA recommended safety procedures including interviewing patients on the phone prior to setting up their appointment, scheduling them when no other patients are there, or just one or two at a time, separating them in the waiting area. Common practices should include taking temperature when patients arrive, making sure operatories are sanitized between patients and so forth.

Dr. Jack with League of Women Voter’s Town Council Forum moderator.

This “new” commitment to safety, and the increased awareness of oral health being a determinant of overall health, provides an opportunity for all oral health providers to be a positive force in improving the health of dental patients. For example, now dental practitioners have the opportunity and the responsibility to educate their diabetic patients on sound nutrition and A1C testing. Please check with the insurers to see if they are willing to add this as reimbursable procedures. It is possible to move in that direction to succeed now and into the future.

Dr. Jack in his Man Mine participating in a live Zoom meeting!

While still at home, Dr. Jack has been working with a few innovative groups, creating webinars, publications and advice for oral health providers and dental industry companies. It is becoming more common for this activity from our professional organizations and dental schools due to COVID-19, and will continue to be the norm over the next few months, as dental offices continue to open and make changes to comply with the new safety requirements.

Jack and Jamie celebrating her birthday at the Asylum restaurant in Jerome.

Dr. Jack continues to contribute and urges all healthcare professionals to reassess their practices, especially when it comes to improving the overall health and safety of dental patients and staff.

Safety, Health, Innovation and Community our new post pandemic priorities 

The new decade has begun in a very unexpected fashion. We are dealing with a viral pandemic, an economic catastrophe and millions of health care providers facing issues they never anticipated.

As a consequence of this pandemic, most of my speaking gigs have been cancelled or postponed with the exception of an international webinar for Colgate. The webinar I created was on integrating oral health into primary care, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out over 4,000 live viewers watched it. For those who are interested, here’s the link to their Webinar page: Colgate Webinar.

Dr. Jack is busy preparing for his Colgate Webinar presentation.

While we all try to manage our personal lives with many families staying home, some travelers stranded and jobs evaporating – we must try to use this difficult time to rethink and possibly reorganize our health care system so it provides a means for providers to work more collaboratively, payers – including insurers – must work to promote prevention and the integration of overall health care while reducing costs – while still making a profit, Healthcare should be about promoting health and not greed.

Jack enjoys time in his Man Mine.

The separation of oral health/care from medical care years ago has continued to promote a siloed approach with separate health records, payment mechanisms, and a real lack of collegial collaboration of providers who are still very provider-focused rather than patient-focused. To meet the needs of patients, providers should consider opening their offices open during lunchtime, as well as on occasional evenings and weekends, in order to be more patient-centric.

In addition, the expansion and reimbursement of tele-health procedures will increase the access of care to rural, elderly and isolated patients. The innovative discussions among health industry leaders – including, manufacturers, distributors, providers, educators and payers – need to address how the health professions can do better and be more efficient and equitable by consolidating. Potentially, dentistry could become a specialty of medicine. Harvard School of Dental Medicine started in their Medical School, and continues to this day, to incorporate the first two years of basic sciences side-by-side with medical students. I would not be surprised if in this decade we witness dental education and practice blending with medical education and practice.

We need to put the mouth back into the body and treat it as a specialty of medicine. Some specialties of medicine include – ophthalmology, cardiology, neurology, etc. – why not include oral medicine?  This idea isn’t new – it just needs to be more seriously evaluated. Dr. Don Giddon, DMD, Ph.D former NYUCD Dean and Harvard faculty has been promoting this idea for decades. This is food for thought as we all try to make the best of a difficult situation. 

COVID-19 pandemic – an opportunity for you to make a difference

As I sit here in Jerome, Arizona I am trying to focus on not catching this disease while doing what I can as a public health provider and a community leader. I realize that this is a generational moment that could not have been imagined or predicted. Here in Jerome, a town of 457 people, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Arizona is being called upon to thrive while shops, galleries, restaurants, bars and wine tasking rooms, are closed and jobs are evaporating. I marvel at the generosity of a local restauranteur who opened the doors of his restaurants to distribute the remaining food for free to locals. Other healthy citizens are preparing food for those that are unable to leave their homes and the town shuttle driver is donating his time to bring food from nearby markets.

Dr. Jack works from his “man mine” to stay connected with colleagues and friends.

Those of us in the dental field are asked to not provide “elective” dental services – which has a significant financial impact on our practices and clinics. I wish that organized dentistry would work with our other health care professionals to see how dental personnel – dentists, hygienists, therapists, community health workers and assistants can be integrated into the overall health/medical environment. We need to work with the health insurers/payers to develop reimbursable ways that tele-health can be an effective means to provide needed services to our patients without them coming to our offices/clinics. We need to adopt reimbursement opportunities allow those with special needs – those with autism, down syndrome and other conditions to receive “elective” dental care during this time that is draining our health care resources. 

Miss Holly Scout manages to sleep while Dr. Jack conducts business on his phone while at home.

Like everyone else, I too have had to make some significant adjustments to my calendar and travel plans. The Senior Dental Leaders program in London – at which I was to be a speaker – was postponed for a  year.  Additional speaking and meeting engagements in Phoenix, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Nantucket and Israel were all postponed for up to a year. While an inconvenience, these changes are not nearly as impactful as the significant effect the pandemic is having on so many.

Unfortunately, the strain on our health system and each other will get worse before it gets better – but it will get better! Please work together as leaders – though that may not be your personal aspiration – to engage our colleagues, elected officials and payers so that we can be part of the solution in creating a meaningful, responsive, caring health care system that adequately pays our providers while not over charging our patients for the care they need.

Be like Miss Holly Scout, chill out during this time of social distancing.

Please be safe as we all go thru this difficult time. Thank you for listening and for all you do to be part of the solution.

2020 Vision is a key goal for the New Year

Dr. Jack is in recovery after his eye surgery. All went well.

The year started with Dr. Jack receiving needed eye surgery on his left eye in an effort to clear his blurry vision as a result of scare tissue built up over the years of prior eye surgeries. It has been a slow but steady recovery.

Dr. Jack shares dinner with Dan Perkins and Karen Auiler from Aegis Communication along with Dr. Kris and Dustin from Brighterway Institute.

A week after the surgery, another significant health issue emerged, Dr. Jack experienced a minor stroke. The reality proved to be not as bad as the initial concern. Dr. Jack was admitted to the Verde Valley Medical center where he received comprehensive care and began treatment to minimize the stroke’s effect. He was fortunate that the main issue was a slight loss of balance and memory while all other functions, ie, speech, cognition, etc. remained normal. He continues to improve as his physical therapy, acupuncture and appropriate medications are all helping in his recovery.

Judge Larry Winthrop and wife Pat celebrate Dr. Jack’s appointment to the Az. Supreme Court Attorney, Discipline, Probable Cause Committee.

While all this was going on, Dr. Jack was contacted by the Arizona State Supreme Court. He was asked to become a public member of their Attorney, Discipline, Probable Cause Committee. This Committee oversees all the attorneys in Arizona and makes recommendations for discipline after reviewing investigations conducted by the State Bar following complaints about the attorney’s actions or behavior. It is a very high honor for Dr. Jack and the appointment is for three years.

ASDOH Dean Bob Trombly, wife Colleen and some of their old friends visit Dr. Jack and Jamie in Jerome.

As the weather moves from winter to spring, visitors plan to visit Dr. Jack and Jamie in Jerome. 

Dr Jack returns to New York to lead the Public Health Symposium at the Greater New York Dental Meeting (GNYDM)

This is the second year that Dr. Jack led the Public Health Symposium which consisted of four panels of national healthcare leaders. The panels focused on current issues and ideas for a healthier country, and the discussions included all health professionals working in a collaborative manner.

Alliance for Oral Health Across Borders Board meeting at GNYDM.

The program started by reviewing emerging trends among providers, payers and regulators that will influence the future of healthcare. David Gesko, from Health Partners, identified areas of focus that will be part of the dental practice landscape in 2030, including the integration of oral health into primary care. Dr. Allen Finkelstein discussed how reimbursement will continue to be a key driver for practice success. Physician educators Drs. Hugh Silk and Patricia Braun showed how the collaboration of medical and dental providers and insurers is essential for achieving improved health and health equity by 2030.

Dr. Jack runs into old friend and colleague Peter DuBois, Executive Director of the California Dental Association at the GNYDM.

The panel looked at the opportunity to improve global health equity brought together private and non profit examples.These included the growth and impact of Dental Service Organizations, global oral health care mission trips and care for the homeless. Steve Thorne, CEO and Founder of Pacific Dental Services (PDS), described their successful practice model and how “service” is an integral part of their culture with PDS sponsoring programs in Ethiopia, Guatemala and Fiji. Also on the panel was Dr. Othman Shibly, University of Buffalo dental faculty, who recently returned from two service trips to the Middle East where he provided dental care to thousands of refugees. Dr. Kris Volcheck, CEO and Founder of Brighterway Institute in Arizona, provides services to the homeless, veterans and boys and girls clubs.

Dr. Shuaib Khaderi and wife Farha from Abu Dhabi visit with Dr. Jack at GNYDM.
Panelists on Special Needs, Neil Romano, Drs. Rick Rader and Maureen Perry with Dr. Jack at Public Health Symposium, GNYDM.

The Panel on Special Needs brought home the critical issues facing the over 60 million Americans with disabilities, including those with intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD). The panel included global leaders, Drs. Rick Rader and Maureen Perry and Chairman of the US Disabilities Council, Neil Romano.

The fourth panel brought together non-dentists who have demonstrated the critical role physican assistants, nurses, dental hygienists and dental therapists play in improving oral and systemic health through collaboration. Kudos to nurses Dr. Judi Haber and Erin Hartnett, physician assistant, Dr. Rand Danielsen, dental hygienist Anne Battrell, and dental therapist, Drew Christianson, for their team approach and meaningful presentations.

Dr. Jack meets former boss Governor Fife Symington in line to board Phoenix flight. Jack served in his Cabinet as Health Secretary for four years.
Dr. Jack and Jamie visit with Jack’s oldest friend Howard Marks while in New York.

This interactive and collaborate conference provided the opportunity for Dr. Jack to visit with old friends, classmates from dental school and some ASDOH graduates.

Dr. Jack enjoys October in Jerome with visits to Phoenix and California

Jamie, Veterinarian Virginia Kennaway and Dr. Jack at the Jerome 50th Anniversary of Woodstock humane society party.

October was an incredibly busy month for Dr. Jack and the Town of Jerome as well. Mid-month, Kaleidoscope Week brought together a gathering of artists, students and locals to celebrate  the 50th anniversary of Woodstock for a celebration at Spook Hall to raise money for Jerome’s Humane Society.

Dr. Jack making his first kaleidoscope at class taught by Steve Hopkins, Randy and Shelley Knapp in Jerome.

The next day, Dr. Jack and Jamie participated in a kaleidoscope making class taught by Steve Hopkins, and Randy and Shelly Knapp. Dr. Jack succeeded in making his first Kaleidoscope. The gathering of artists, students and locals culminated with the Humane Society (JHS) fundraiser Brunch that brought hundreds of people to the beautiful outdoor event to celebrate, enjoy great food and raise money for the JHS. 

After all of the activities in Jerome, Dr. Jack drove to ATSU to teach a Public Health class with Dean, Dr. Don Altman, for the ATSU Physician Assistant students. After Dean Altman discussed basic public health, Dr. Jack focused on the skills needed to be a successful health care provider in the emerging healthcare system. These included, integrity, service and leadership. It’s always a pleasure for Dr. Jack to visit the campus. 

Dr. Jack with ATSU Physician Assistant students after his Public Health presentation

The next day, Dr. Jack as Board Chairman for the Brighterway Institute joined dear friend, Dan Perkins, and other Aegis Publishing leaders and Brighterway Board members in a meeting to discuss a potential collaboration.  Later in the week he returned to Jerome and he and Jamie participated in the Jerome Fire Department fundraising costume party. It was an incredible event that literally completely filled Spook Hall. It was a night filled with amazing costumes and music by the Naughty Bits.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego welcomes attendees to the 2019 Arizona Public Health Association Annual Meeting.
Dr. Jack and old friend and colleague Dr. Bob England catch up at the AzPHA Meeting.

The month wound down with Dr. Jack participating in the AZ Public Health Association annual meeting. It was another opportunity for him to visit with many old friends and colleagues – sharing breakfast and catching up with Dr. Bob England was a special treat. Lastly, Dr. Jack made a quick visit to California to visit with more friends and colleagues at Bien Air in Irvine. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn about their innovative products.

Pacific Dental Services Foundation Dental Van Visits Jerome, AZ

PDS volunteers including dentists, hygienists, assistants and staff get ready to see Jerome patients.

Thanks to their generosity and commitment to service, the Pacific Dental Services Foundation Mobile Dental Clinic spent Friday, September 20th in Jerome providing free dental care to 26 people. Eighteen volunteers provided the comprehensive care including four dentists, three dental hygienists and five dental assistants. The patients were truly appreciative of the quality of care provided.

Jerome residents waiting to be seen in the PDS Foundation Dental Van

On Thursday, the 26th, the Jerome Fire Department celebrated their annual “picnic” thanking the citizens for their support and honoring firefighters. Due to pending rain, the event was held in the firehouse and was very well attended. There was plenty of delicious food at the potluck, and the Jerome Ukulele Orchestra provided the musical entertainment.

Dr. Jack and Jamie welcome ASDOH faculty member Dr. Bruce White to Jerome.

Dr. Jack is busy preparing for the the second Public Health Symposium he will be leading at the upcoming Greater New York Dental Meeting, December 3rd and 4th at the Javits Center in New York City. There will be four panels of world renowned leaders addressing critical issues relevant to all healthcare providers and educators. Admission is free to dental students and residents. Please check their website for details.

Dr. Jack Dillenberg returns to San Francisco for joint ADA/FDI conference

Drs. Tony Hashemian and Shuaib Khaderi welcome Dr. Jack to Tony’s presentation at the ADA meeting.

The 2019 ADA/FDI Conference provided a wonderful opportunity for Dr. Jack Dillenberg to participate in a number of meetings and honor the recognition of dear friends. He also learned about new dental procedures and products and had the opportunity to attend the ATSU Alumni event reconnecting with both ASDOH and MOSDOH graduates.

ASDOH graduates at ADA meeting visit with their former Dean.

The ATSU Alumni event gave alums a venue to visit with the current dental school deans as well as a number of pre dental students from UCSD. It also allowed  Dr. Jack a chance to catch up with ASDOH graduates and learn more about their personal accomplishments and ways of implementing the ASDOH mission. He also visited with Dean McCloud from MOSDOH.

Dr. Jack joins Dr. Allen Finkelstein and ADA Executive Director, Dr. Kathy O’Loughlin in congratulating their good friend Steve Kess on his recognition by the ADA.

Attending the ADA House of Delegates meeting gave Dr. Jack the opportunity to celebrate the election of his friend and Arizona Oral Surgeon, Dr. Dan Klemmedson, to ADA President-elect. During the meeting Steve Kess, Henry Schein Senior VP and longtime friend and colleague, was honored by being granted Honorary Membership into the ADA. Finally, Dr. Jack joined in the recognition of friend Dr. Debra Weisfuse, President of the Alliance for Oral Health Across Borders, for her extraordinary work in leading the Give Kids A Smile activities in New York.

Dr. Jack joins in the recognition of friend Dr. Deb Weisfuse for her leadership of the Give Kids a Smile program in NYC.

Dr. Jack Dillenberg returns to Penn Dental Med to deliver White Coat Keynote after road trip

Dr. Jack hiking at the Arches National Park.

 Dr. Jack and Jamie take a wonderful road trip to Steamboat Springs, CO to visit Jerome friends Charlie and Gail. On the way they stopped in Moab, Utah and the Arches National Park for a little hiking and fabulous views.

Dr. Jack visits with UPennDental Med D 1 students prior to their White Coat Ceremony.

After this road trip, Dr. Jack Dillenberg  flew to Philadelphia to deliver the keynote at the White Coat Ceremony for the new D1 students and their families. The day began with a breakfast at the school for students and families. Dr. Jack had a chance to meet many families and share their excitement for the new adventure for their students.

Dr. Jack presenting his White Coat keynote to D1s at PennDentalMed.

The event was held at the Annenberg Center for the performing arts. It was a meaningful and fun event lead by PennDentalMed Dean Mark Wolff.

Dr. Jack joins Andrea Prince, Surgeon’s House B&B owner to welcome William Shuttleworth to Jerome.William is walking across the US to honor and raise money for Veterans.

Upon his return to Jerome, Dr. Jack had the extraordinary opportunity to meet and visit with William Shuttleworth, the 71 year old veteran walking from Massachusetts to California to raise awareness of veteran needs and supporting “vetsdontforgetvets.com“. He plans to arrive at his destination, the Embracing Peace Statue in Tuna Park in San Diego, on September 1. Quite a guy taking this journey to help veterans. Check out his website.

Dr. Jack Dillenberg stays close to home as the Summer heat rises in Arizona

Dr. George Bluespruce shares a momemt with Dr. Jack at the 2019 ASDOH White Coat Ceremony.

Events including ASDOH’s White Coat Ceremony, two nonprofit Board meetings and participating in an award presentation on behalf of Pacific Dental Services Foundation (PDSF) Dentists for Special Needs Clinic in north Phoenix, Dr. Jack kept himself busy during July in Arizona.

Old friends re-unite at the ASDOH White Coat Ceremony. Drs. Wayne Cottam, Irv and Donna Silverstein share a moment with Dr. Jack.

The ASDOH White Coat Ceremony included a blessing from Dr. George Bluespruce with a special welcome to his grandson into the class of 2023. Dr. Jack Dillenberg joined Dean Trombly in welcoming the new class to ASDOH.

Dr. Jack Visits with ASDOH graduate Dr. Ben Wachter at the PDS Foundation Dentists for Special Needs Clinic in Phoenix, AZ.

The PDSF Dentists for Special Needs welcomed ASDOH graduate, Dr. Ben Wachter, as their new clinical dentist. Dr. Jack Dillenberg serves as the Exectutive Clinical Director and joined Ben and the clinic staff in receiving a community service recognition award from Congressman David Schweikert at the clinic.

Dr. Jack Dillenberg, Board Chairman for Global Smiles for All, chaired the Board meeting which included approving the distribution of 1,000 toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap to refugees and other at-risk individuals. The board members applauded the return of Dr. Abbas Fazal who recently returned from his volunteer service mission to children in Tanzania doing dentistry for children at risk.

Board member, Dr. Abbas Fazal, works with children in Tanzania representing Global Smiles for All.
Members of the Brighterway Institute Board attend the Board Advance in Jerome at the home of Dr. Jack and Jamie.

Dr. Jack and Jamie hosted the Brighterway Institute Summer Board Advance at their home in Jerome. The productive meeting culminated with a wonderful dinner at Up the Creek in Page Springs, Ariz.