Penn Dental Medicine: Now a W.H.O. Center
The School of Dental Medicine recently received
official designation as a World Health Organization Collaborating Center
for Oral Infectious Diseases: Education, Research and Care.
The designation makes Penns one of 35 collaborating centers for oral health
and dental education worldwide, and the only one with a specific focus on
problems associated with oral infectious diseases. The Center is housed
in the Schools Office of International Relations, under the direction of
Dr. Peter Berthold, Associate Dean of International Relations, with Assistant
Dean Naty Lopez serving as co-director.
"The work of the center is being driven in
part by recognition of the need to bring to the forefront of the health
care agenda the importance of oral health in overall care delivery,"
said Dr. Berthold.
To this end, the center will:
- develop and implement research in the prevention,
detection, and care of infectious diseases that are manifested in the oral
cavity that may also have systemic implications;
- work to strengthen the role of oral health and
other health care professionals and auxiliary workers in the prevention,
detection, and care of oral infectious diseases; and
- assist in the development of international guidelines
and standards of oral health care of in-dividuals with infectious diseases,
as well as guidelines and standards aimed at infection control.
One of the major activities will be providing strategic
assistance in advancing the work of the Pan American Health Organization
(PAHO). According to Dr. Berthold, possible elements of partnership include
regional conferences on the prevention of HIV/AIDS in cooperation with dental
schools and national AIDS programs; working toward inclusion of HIV/AIDS
in curricula of dental schools in the region; serving as a resource for
evaluation of dental school curricula; assisting in development of universal
precautions appropriate for the dental community and the region; and offering
human resource development appropriate to the needs and direction of the
new oral health agenda in the region, specifically in the prevention of
HIV/AIDS, in providing oral care of individuals with HIV disease, and in
The Schools Dean Raymond Fonseca calls this distinction "a reflection
of the collective achievements of the Schools faculty and the Office of
International Relations, whose activities have already resulted in noteworthy
contributions to international oral health care education and delivery."
As a WHO center, he said, the School will be able to maximize the impact
of the work that is already being done by both the faculty and OIR.
Return to:Almanac, University of Pennsylvania, October
21, 1997, Volume 44, No. 9