Dr. Frank Catalanotto to Focus on Access and Diversity as 2004-05 ADEA President

April 16, 2004
Dr. Eric Hovland will serve as President-elect.

At the 2004 ADEA Annual Session in Seattle, Dr. Frank Catalanotto, Professor of Pediatric Dentistry and former Dean, University of Florida College of Dentistry, became ADEA President for 2004-05. In an eloquent and inspirational speech delivered at the closing of the House of Delegates on March 9, Dr. Catalanotto focused on what will be the primary theme of his presidency�"Access and Diversity: Educating for Change."

President Catalanotto, who had served as ADEA President-Elect for the past year, began by recounting the personal journey that led to his commitment to these issues. In his younger years and early in his career, he said that he did not "understand poverty in our society or the lack of diversity in the workforce and how they affected access to care." Working in inner-city clinics in San Antonio, conducting health surveys in a Mexican border town, and researching the oral health of pediatric HIV patients in New Jersey, however, provided first-hand experience that enlightened him about the problems.

After outlining critical challenges in the overall and oral health care systems, President Catalanotto focused on the dental profession and dental education. "How can ADEA help dental and allied dental education deal with these issues of access to care?" he asked. Especially, "are there ways academic dental institutions can better educate our students that would make them more . . . sensitive to the access to care problems and more amenable to innovative solutions?"

President Catalanotto then outlined four long-term results he would like to see: "First, more advocacy by the profession, which should lead to better awareness by patients about oral health and legislative support for public assistance programs. Second, more dentists willing to provide care to Medicaid and other public assistance patients. Third, more pro bono care. Fourth, more receptivity on the part of the profession to innovative solutions and new models of care."

Underlying progress toward these results, he emphasized, is a need to help the dental and allied dental professions "reframe their ethical foundations by providing learning experiences for our students that focus on issues such as the good society, social justice, and the moral responsibilities of health care professionals." Along with a new membership initiative for the Association, this process will be the focus of his presidency.

Dr. Catalanotto graduated from the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in pediatric dentistry at Harvard School of Dental Medicine and the Children's Hospital Medical Center. Before going to the University of Florida, he held positions at the University of Connecticut Health Center, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and University of Medicine and Dentistry at New Jersey-New Jersey Dental School. The author of more than 60 scientific publications, he has received research support from the National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and, in addition to his work with ADEA, which he served as Vice President for Deans before being elected President-Elect, he has been actively involved in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Association for Dental Research, and the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.

Also at the 2004 ADEA Annual Session, Dr. Eric Hovland, Professor of Endodontics and Dean of the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry, was elected ADEA President-Elect. Dr. Hovland has served on the ADEA Council of Faculties and as Chair of the ADEA Legislative Advisory Committee and has most recently been a member of the Council of Deans Administrative Board. He is a Past President of the American Association of Endodontists and a Past Chairman of the ADA Commission on Dental Accreditation. After a year as ADEA President-Elect, he will become the 2005-06 President.