Chair column: ‘Relevance’ drives Foundation’s goals in 2022

Dr. Louis K. Rafetto, DMD

If you were asked to rate the relevance of the OMS Foundation in 2021, how would you respond?

“Relevance” was top of mind for our Directors as we launched our Clinical Research Support Grant program in 2020 and updated our Strategic Plan earlier this year, and it was a principal topic of discussion when our Committee on Research met to evaluate this year’s applications for funding.

But relevance looks different to a resident than it does to a mid-career practitioner or an educator. Our task is to serve the specialty as a whole, and we have been tuning in to AAOMS members to learn how to do that better.

Last year’s Cook County Health Symposium on The Future of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery offered an abundance of insight into what OMSs are thinking about right now and what they see as the specialty’s top priorities in the years ahead.

Not surprisingly, anesthesia and patient safety top everyone’s list. Our anesthesia delivery model, long a defining tenet of our specialty, has become a target for our specialty’s competitors and detractors.

In response, AAOMS and the Foundation joined forces to mount a data-driven defense of the safety of our practice model. Dr. Thomas Dodson is leading the effort – the AAOMS Anesthesia Safety Study via

the OMS Quality Outcomes Registry (OMSQOR®) – to compile and analyze data contributed by practicing OMSs.

This is relevant, and your help is needed for it to be effective. Please don’t sidestep this important opportunity to help defend our specialty. Email omsqor@aaoms.org or call 800-822-6637 to learn more and sign up to participate.

In addition, a multidisciplinary team of OMSs and pharmacologists at the University of Pennsylvania is closer to its goal of reliably identifying (pre-surgery) third molar patients who will convalesce successfully with non-narcotic pain medications, with funding from a Clinical Research Support Grant from the Foundation. A tool that enables OMSs (and other surgeons) to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions they write? That’s relevant.

Our Directors also are exploring ways to expand our Global Initiative for Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) program to include humanitarian service and learning opportunities closer to home, offer “booster” fellowships for mid-career practitioners looking to expand their skillset and support programs that will train our educators to be better teachers (in addition to being exceptional OMSs).

Are these programs you would consider relevant and worthy of support? We’d like to hear your thoughts on that.

This month we welcomed Drs. Jasjit Dillon, Gary Bouloux and Martin Eichner to our Board. They join Drs. Brett Ferguson, Thomas P. Williams, Dale Misiek, Debra Sacco and ROAAOMS Liaison Dr. Scott Morgan. All of them are ready to listen, as am I, to constructive suggestions for keeping your Foundation relevant, responsive to your needs and worthy of your investment.

I invite you to reach out to any of us and help support our efforts – and our relevance – moving forward. I look forward to hearing from you.