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Debra Zafiropoulos, RDH  Debra Zafiropoulos, RDH, has launched the National Cancer Network—a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing cancer mortality rates through early detection by oral health professionals.

Debra Zafiropoulos, RDH

Dental Hygienist Starts Nonprofit Organization

Debra Zafiropoulos, RDH, has launched the National Cancer Network—a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing cancer mortality rates through early detection by oral health professionals.

Zafiropoulos is a West Palm Beach, Florida-based author, speaker, and consultant with a passion for the early detection of oral cancer. “Dental professionals are the early warning system of the health care profession because we see our patients an average of once per year, and they spend a lot of time in our chairs,” Zafiropoulos explained.

The National Cancer Network is focusing on consumer awareness and professional education via live patient screening events and training courses for clinicians.


A tailored approach to patient behavior modification may be the most successful in improving compliance with treatment and selfcare regimens. Patient behavior modification is critical—especially among those with periodontal diseases—to improving treatment outcomes and promoting long-term successes. Strategies for implementation of behavior modification are discussed in the continuing education (CE) article “Modifying Behavior to Improve Outcomes,” by Diana Bronstein, DDS, MS, MS. Bronstein is an associate professor in the Department of Periodontology at Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

This CE article, made possible through an unrestricted educational grant from Colgate and in partnership with the American Academy of Periodontology, seeks to explain how psychological interventions may help patients make the changes necessary to improve their oral health. Read the full article here.

Mission of Mercy dental clinics are held around the country to provide care to underserved populations.


Collinsville, Illinois, was the location of a recent Illinois Mission of Mercy dental clinic, held in conjunction with the America’s Dentists Care Foundation. The dental clinic took place over two days in July, during which oral health professionals treated more than 1,000 patients in need. While the dental clinic was a success, it almost experienced a catastrophic setback when a semitrailer en route to Collinsville was involved in an accident. The incident resulted in the loss of thousands of dollars worth of dental instruments and supplies.

Chicago-based Hu-Friedy Mfg Co, after hearing of the accident, donated $28,000 in EverEdge 2.0 instruments and other instruments to the Mission of Mercy dental clinic.

Mission of Mercy dental clinics provide essential and urgent dental care— such as dental prophylaxis, restorative care, and extractions—to underserved populations. The first Mission of Mercy dental clinic took place in 2000. Since then, more than 217,000 adults and children have received care estimated at $138 million. Patients do not pay for services; rather, the clinic relies on private donations averaging $120,000, 18 months of planning, and hundreds of volunteers.


Hannah Wilson cycled across the United States to raise funds and awareness about the importance of oral health. Here she is in Hoosier Pass, a high mountain pass in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.

Oral Health America (OHA) recently launched Smile4Health—a peer-to-peer fundraising program. Smile4Health is designed to help interested individuals raise money in support of OHA’s mission through goal-based endeavors. OHA is dedicated to connecting communities with resources to drive access to care, increase health literacy, and advocate for policies that improve overall health through better oral health for all Americans, especially vulnerable populations.

This summer, the program’s first participant, Hannah Wilson—an avid cyclist and as – piring oral health professional— cycled 4,228 miles coast to coast to promote the importance of dental care. She raised $1 for every mile biked on her journey from Virginia to Oregon. Throughout her ride, which she completed on September 19, Wilson made stops to promote oral health, at which she distributed toothbrushes, toothpaste, and handouts on good oral health habits.


From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. October 2016;14(10):16–17.


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