The 2017-2018 Board of Directors officially took office at AAE17, and hit the ground running at the Board’s annual meeting, which was held earlier that week in New Orleans.
The Board focused much of its discussion on priority efforts aimed at achieving the three goals outlined in the AAE’s new strategic plan.
GOAL ONE: The public will value saving their natural teeth and seek endodontists-the specialists in saving teeth-for their care.
This first strategic goal is in line with consistent member needs survey results which have reflected members’ desires for enhanced outreach efforts by the AAE. In response, the Board identified public outreach as a strategic priority and the AAE currently is in the research and planning phase of developing a targeted media campaign to promote the importance of retaining one’s natural teeth. This planning phase will include identification of outcomes measures, media strategy, and content development for various audiences.
GOAL TWO: The dental profession will value endodontists as partners with advanced expertise in providing patient care.
Similar to the first goal, AAE member needs survey results have directly informed this segment of the strategic plan by indicating that members desire additional advocacy efforts on their behalf. The dental profession is a broad audience with a variety of unique stakeholder groups such as dental and postdoctoral educators and administrators, accrediting and regulatory agencies, state dental boards, the insurance industry, legislators, general practitioners, and other dental specialists. Advocacy to this range of stakeholders requires appealing to the core values of each distinct audience. The common thread, of interest to all stakeholders, is providing the highest quality patient care through a single standard of endodontics; therefore, first step in addressing this strategic goal was defining competency in endodontics.
At its meeting, the Board approved a white paper on endodontic competency, which outlines the skills required of all practitioners who undertake the responsibility to diagnose, treatment plan, and provide prognoses for the endodontic care of their patients. The AAE’s next steps will be to identify, package, and deploy audience-specific messaging from the paper’s content to inform and influence various stakeholder groups. Development of papers on related topics that could be utilized in a similar fashion will be a continued initiative.
GOAL THREE: AAE and its members will be recognized as the global leaders in advocating the value and quality of endodontics.
Relative to both the second and third goals, the AAE Board approved initial plans for an outcomes consensus conference. Recognizing that there is not a standard way to measure healing, pain, and patient/clinician outcomes, this conference would be aimed at defining a minimal set of core outcome measures for all endodontic clinical trials. Medical science is increasingly being directed towards patient-centered outcomes, and the AAE is seeking to be proactive in shaping clinical endodontic research in that same direction. Through taking the lead in standardizing endodontic outcomes nomenclature, the AAE can have a broad impact on endodontic treatment globally.
Dr. Kenneth M. Hargreaves, chair of the committee developing this effort said, “Clinical trials on endodontic treatments use a non-standardized collection of study measures that makes it difficult to compare study results and their efficient translation into clinical practice. Our committee proposes to follow the COMET (Core Outcome Measures on Effectiveness Trials) initiative in developing a set of standardized outcome measures of interest to patients, clinicians and other stakeholders of endodontic therapies. By adopting a common set of outcomes, we hope to advance endodontic clinical research around the world.”
At its interim meeting, the Board will discuss further measures to support this third strategic goal, including development of a global outreach and membership development plan. By identifying the needs of international members and providing resources that are of value to them, the AAE has a greater ability to impact endodontics globally.