AS BLACK History Month gets underway in the UK, The Voice will be looking at some of the achievements of groups and individuals which are making their mark to enhance the profile of the black community in Britain.
One such organisation is the African and Caribbean Dental Association (ACDA-UK) has been slowly establishing itself as one of the most proactive groups contributing positively to promote equality and diversity in the profession and addresses issues of oral health inequalities.
Since it first started in 2012 the ACDA-UK, made up of like-minded dental professionals, also promotes preservation and protection of oral health among ethnic minority groups, especially within the African and Caribbean communities in the UK and the world at large.
Alongside this aim, is a strong commitment to assist, motivate and inspire the next generation to develop to their full potential and ultimately go on to excel in their chosen careers.
Taking time out of their busy schedules, the members of the association work tirelessly teaching, inspiring and assisting students from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.
This has been facilitated by the ACDA-UK School Programme which allows its members to act as positive role models and mentors whilst promoting the career of dentistry to students who in many instances have never seen dental professionals from African and Caribbean backgrounds. The mentorship programme also serves to support and assist students in the field of dentistry on their journey towards qualification.
In October 2017, the association also established the ACDA-UK Dental Student Scholarship aimed to financially assist students.
As a result of the outstanding work with young people from under-privileged backgrounds, the organisation was contacted by the special advisor to the prime minister on social justice, young people and opportunities. Delegates of the association were invited to attend a meeting at Number 10 Downing Street to tackle some of the pertinent issues of discrimination, and lack of opportunities surrounding young people.
The association prides itself on the success of its many community oral outreach initiatives, which have been continuously executed over the past years. Areas such as Croydon, Stratford, East Ham, Tottenham, Plaistow and Bexley Heath have benefited from these community involvements where free dental check ups are carried out, oral hygiene instructions and advice given and dental samples are distributed.
Due to the overwhelming popularity of these community initiatives and the reported benefits and positive influences reported by these communities, last October the organisation received the prestigious Global Health and Pharmaceutical (GHP) award for the Best Oral Health Awareness Initiative.
Another community outreach project championed by the ACDA-UK was its “Care for the Cold Campaign” in December 2018. This campaign was launched to help provide basic necessities for the less fortunate in their communities. Donations were collected to provide hundreds of winter care packs for the needy and homeless in shelters, soup kitchens and on the streets of London. These winter care packs contained food, water, toiletries and winter warmers.
In the wider community they continue to inspire the next generation to fulfil their potential and achieve excellence, whilst contributing positively to society.
These outstanding contributions have allowed the ACDA-UK to gain a respected platform in the profession of dentistry and have fostered a culture of positive change in the lives and communities of the people that it serves.