by Ann–Marie C. DePalma, RDH, MeD, FAADH
Founded more than 15 years ago, Discus Dental has been making the practice of dentistry and dental hygiene more successful by providing dental professionals the tools to enhance the professional/patient relationship. In addition to that relationship, Discus has been committed to enhancing the practice and profession of dental hygiene for a number of years as well. From including “ask your dental hygienist” on all consumer print and TV advertising, to support of RDH Under One Roof's Farewell Reception, to support of key dental hygiene speakers and association events, Discus has been a force behind the dental hygienist.
Discus has enlisted a number of prominent key opinion leaders in dental hygiene to provide educational programs and support. Although each speaker has her own style and topic, Discus supports the programs by providing monetary support for honorariums and travel expenses so that these speakers can spread their word across the dental professional community. These speakers include such names as Kristy Bernie, RDH, Debra Grant, RDH, Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, and JoAnn Gurenlian, RDH, along with other leaders that Discus has partnered with. Each speaker presents her own topic; although the speakers receive support from Discus for the programs, they are not influenced in their presentations by the company. Each presents information in an educational forum that enhances the dental professional's educational experience.
For this column, I have decided to focus on one speaker, JoAnn Gurenlian, and offer a glimpse into the types of programs Discus can support.
JoAnn's program titled, “Providing Care for Women with Cancer,” is designed to discuss the cancers that affect women, including ovarian, cervical, uterine, and breast. With over 200,000 diagnosed with breast cancer, 25,000 diagnosed with ovarian, 11,000 with cervical, and 40,000 with uterine cancer each year, the chances are high that dental professionals will encounter these patients in their practices.
Choosing the appropriate words to say and what to do for these patients while recommending the appropriate oral health care protocols is the heart of JoAnn's program. JoAnn discusses the use of mouth rinses and toothbrushes for cancer patients, along with methods and products for treating tooth sensitivity, xerostomia, and mucositis. She also includes information on the current screening methods and limitations in detecting these cancers, the importance of early detection, the availability of resources for patients, the role of bisphosphonates, and the recognition that a diagnosis of a particular cancer is different for every individual. Being a breast cancer survivor herself, JoAnn has the ability to “walk the walk and talk the talk” that lends an important aspect to the presentation.
Additionally, JoAnn offers programs on diabetes mellitus, oral cancer, oral medicine, and oral pathology. Each program offers handouts that complement the PowerPoint presentations with a number of resources available for post–lecture research.
The cancer program also allows participants who are survivors the opportunity to share their stories and experiences. JoAnn donates a portion of her honorarium from the cancer program to the Cooper Cancer Institute Patient in Need Fund.
JoAnn was fortunate enough during her treatment to have family and friends take her to chemotherapy appointments, sit with her during treatment, or help financially when she was unable to work.
Many patients at Cooper do not have those resources, and the fund helps those who may need that assistance during their treatment. Presenting this program allows JoAnn to give back and show appreciation for all that was given to her. Thus, by supporting JoAnn in her programs, Discus is supporting those as well.
JoAnn received her dental hygiene degrees (both associate and baccalaureate) from Fairleigh Dickinson University, her master's degree in dental hygiene from Columbia University, and her doctoral degree specializing in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. She began teaching continuing education programs while serving as a faculty member and continuing education coordinator at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and has been presenting programs both nationally and internationally on clinical, research, political, and educational experiences in medicine and dentistry for over 30 years. She is a past president of the American Dental Hygienists' Association and has ventured into the political arena in her local community.
Discus prides itself in providing high quality patient and professional relationships. By allowing speakers such as JoAnn the opportunity to spread her knowledge and passion, the company reinforces that commitment in action, not just words. For more information on JoAnn's programs, contact: [email protected].
Ann–Marie C. DePalma, RDH, MEd, FAADH, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dental Hygiene, and a member of ADHA and other professional associations. Ann–Marie presents continuing–education programs for hygienists and dental team members and has written numerous articles on a variety of topics. She can be reached at [email protected].