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Bringing oral health awareness to minority groups in the UK

THE AFRICAN and Caribbean Dental Association (ACDA-UK) was formed in 2012, by dental professionals of African and Caribbean descent. This was in response to a palpable demand for better oral health awareness amongst minority groups in the United Kingdom.

Since inception, the ACDA-UK has also provided a platform for like-minded dental professionals to network, share experiences, and in line with our charitable status and ethos, to give something back to their local communities.

Central to our vision was the big idea to promote, preserve and protect oral health among ethnic minority groups, especially within the African and Caribbean communities in the UK and the world at large. To achieve this, the association has been working assiduously on a road map that integrates advancing education, especially among young people to develop their capacity and skills, thus enabling them to participate fully in society.

This also feeds into promoting equality and diversity in the dental profession and addressing health inequalities. We equip and support our members to stand up to the challenge of the ever-changing face of dentistry through professional and personal development.

The ACDA-UK is run by an executive board elected by members for a fixed term of 2 years. The 2016/2017 executive board is a 5-person team of dentists chaired by Olurotimi Adesanya, with Emma Edoimioya as Treasurer, Habib Adetola as Social Secretary, Osi Akpene Secretary and Andrea Cupidore as the Assistant Secretary.

Working closely with more than 100 active members and the general public, the exco identify and act on opportunities to improve oral health awareness and to reduce health inequalities. Since 2013, previous and the current executives have worked with members to deliver community events, mentoring and networking activities for professionals. Our community event One Child, One Tooth Brush was a major highlight of June 2014.

This event saw a group of ACDA Members spend the day spreading the oral care message in a Croydon shopping centre. With Face-Painting and music throughout the day, we drew quite a crowd and distributed toothbrushes and toothpaste- kindly supplied by Henry Schein Dental. The team was also able to answer questions from the public and to share insights on the importance of good oral heath for children.

The ACDA-UK has been represented in one of the last three trade show exhibitions held by the British Dental Industry Association (BDIA). As the BDIA Dental Showcase is the UK's largest dental event, our presence has given us a massive opportunity to engage other dental professionals. We have had several continuing professional development days to help equip dental professionals with the requisite skills to better serve the public.

These lecture and hands-on days have been hugely popular as they promote knowledge sharing, keeping professionals abreast of advances in dentistry and help to meet compliance requirements. It’s not all work and no play though! On 15 July 2017, we will be having a fundraising family fun picnic at the Wanstead Rugby club, Roding Lane North, Woodford Green IG8 8JY.

The funds will be going towards a scholarship to support a dental student of African or Caribbean origin. Like many of our activities, this ticketed event is open to the public as we actively seek to encourage active engagement with local communities.

Every year, we conclude and celebrate our activities with an annual dinner that attracts the creme de la creme of dentistry and friends and well wishers. This year’s promises to be especially special and will be on 18 November 2017- more details will follow on our website.

Becoming a member of ACDA-UK does not require that you are of African or Caribbean origin- if like us, you feel passionate about correcting healthcare inequalities, then the ACDA-UK is a place you can call home.

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