ADA Annual Session: Bill Clinton urges dental practitioners to help eliminate the negative effects of inequality

November 7, 2013
Michael Quirk
Issue 11

President Clinton’s hour-long address hit upon a wide range of issues, including humanitarianism, poverty, congressional gridlock, the efforts of the Clinton Global Initiative, the Affordable Care Act, and more. 

President Clinton’s hour-long address hit upon a wide range of issues, including humanitarianism, poverty, congressional gridlock, the efforts of the Clinton Global Initiative, the Affordable Care Act, and more. 

Central to his entire message, though, was the responsibility of those in the medical professions to use the broad range of resources available to them to help alleviate the negative effects on inequality.  According to Clinton, dental professionals are uniquely positioned to diminish gaps in equality due to the health and social benefits their charitable work provides in underserved and impoverished areas of the globe.

Humanitarianism fills the gap between what the private sector can do and the public sector can provide,” said Clinton. “We are living with all of these potential benefits [provided by citizenship in an information-rich and technologically advanced society]; almost every one of you has reaped one or more of these benefits. But there are also problems with this intermittent work: it is first of all too unequal to be sustainable.  Unequal access to education, healthcare, capital, jobs.”

Prior to President Clinton’s address, outgoing ADA president Dr. Robert Faiella presented a humanitarianism award to Dr. Sherwin R. Shinn for his work with the 1000 Smiles Project – one of the world’s humanitarian dental projects that serves 15,000 Jamaicans every year.  At the top of his speech, President Clinton pointed to Dr. Shinn as an example of the theme of his speech.