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30 May 2024

A fresh approach to Gum Health Day: interview with the EFP co-ordinator

Categories: Institutional, National Activities, Gum Health Day

Gum Health Day 2024 in Croatia

In this interview, we speak with the EFP Gum Health Day 2024 co-ordinator, Mia Rakić, about the recent Gum Health Day (GHD) initiatives. Known for her enthusiasm, Mia discusses the challenges, successes, and plans for the campaign, offering insights into how it can grow and evolve.

You have been busy co-ordinating Gum Health Day (GHD). How was the experience?

It was very good! I’m like a child when I see a challenge and the possibilities. I like to think big. I felt it went well, and I’m even considering reforming the concept of GHD, but we’ll discuss this in the executive meetings.

What changes are you thinking about for GHD?

We need to put together a reasonable framework because GHD is currently the responsibility of the newly elected EFP Officer, who doesn't have much time to grasp everything, and this is a huge project. GHD requires transforming scientific knowledge into something that reaches a non-medical audience, which isn't our usual skill set. We need to decentralise the co-ordinator role and to seek more support from the EFP communications committee and previous co-ordinators. The GHD initiative has huge potential and needs optimal outreach. It mobilises many resources, so it deserves more than a day. We could extend the campaign to a whole month, or even make it an ongoing activity throughout the year. It should be a high priority because it can spread the objectives of the EFP and the dental profession.

How do you feel it went this year? Were the outcomes aligned with your expectations?

We started with a completely new approach this year. The co-ordinator's role is to establish a strategy and optimal framework, but national societies' involvement is crucial.  The -, I feel, should be mainly a motivator and let members show their creativity. This decentralised and step by step approach works. The campaign was fresh and innovative. I’m very satisfied with the outcomes. EFP members got really involved, and lay media showed great interest, which is huge for raising awareness about gum health. We also invited top athletes, including the President of the Italian Lombardy Olympic Committee. This inventiveness contributed significantly to the campaign's success.

 

Were there a lot of new countries participating?

Yes! International societies were involved for the first time. They created incredible things. Some examples from our members: in Split, Croatia, events were organised by the seaside, in Italy the SIDP held a “run for gums” and in Poland, GHD was linked to a day of science including a medical school, pharmacology, histology and microbiology, all discussing periodontology. There was a huge presence on social media everywhere, especially in Latin America, and the EFP launched its presence on Tik Tok focused on patients. Personally, visiting Poland was special for me because I’m from Eastern Europe, and it was a pleasure to involve Eastern European countries that have a long tradition in periodontology. Seeing the positivity and good vibes everywhere was inspiring.

For you as the co-ordinator, what was the most rewarding aspect?

Apart from the positivity and excellent collaboration, I was eager to promote the younger generation of periodontists. We had a fantastic blend of rising stars who had a great impact. It was incredible to see their innovative contributions.

Anything you’d like to add?

The EFP is moving forward beautifully. Involving members, giving opportunities to young people, and motivating everyone is key. It’s all about collaboration, partnerships, and continuing to spread awareness about gum health.

Coming soon here: wrap-up of Gum Health Day 2024 intitiatives. 

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