American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine News

Report of the Presidents of AADSM

This is an excerpt from the AADSM Membership Meeting held at the AADSM Annual Meeting on Sunday, June 4 in Baltimore, MD. 

Report of the 2017/2018 President – Harold A. Smith, DDS

Since last year’s membership meeting, the Board of Directors, committee chairs and committee members have been diligently working to advance the field of dental sleep medicine.  
Last Fall, the Board of Directors engaged in a strategic planning process. As you all know, the field of dental sleep medicine continues to experience the effects of the seismic changes that are occurring throughout the U.S. health care system.  In October, our field was directly impacted by the adoption of the ADA’s policy on the role of the dentist in treating sleep-related breathing disorders. This policy will undoubtedly bring more attention and interest to the field of dental sleep medicine, but it presents a number of challenges, mainly it does not call for any required education to treat patients suffering from a sleep related breathing disorder. This issue is of great concern to the AADSM.

The impact of these changes was addressed during the strategic planning process, which concluded in December with the approval of three strategic goals for the AADSM: Goal 1 is to define the field of dental sleep medicine. Goal 2 is to increase the number of providers to treat patients with oral appliances, and Goal 3 is to strengthen the value of the AADSM to dentists practicing dental sleep medicine.

Our strategic plan is aimed at ensuring that only those dentists with appropriate training provide oral appliance therapy. To achieve this, it is imperative that we reach a critical mass of identifiable, qualified dentists, so we can urge patients, physicians and payers to only seek oral appliance therapy from a trained dentist. With 23 million undiagnosed and untreated patients with obstructive sleep apnea and just over 600 ABDSM Diplomates and Qualified dentists, we currently fall dramatically short of having critical mass.

We have already implemented many initiatives to meet these strategic goals. In January, the AADSM published its own policy on the role of dentists in treating sleep-related breathing disorders. Also, Dr. Mitchell Levine led a writing group to develop a standard for the practice of dental sleep medicine that includes screening, assessment, treatment, and follow-up care. The paper was presented at a session this weekend and will be published in the July issue of the Journal of Dental Sleep Medicine.

In October, we hired Dr. Patricia Braga to serve as the AADSM’s first-ever Director of Education. Dr. Braga was challenged with developing a comprehensive, standardized educational program known as the AADSM Mastery Program. The program is divided into three phases comprising 65 hours of progressive learning, which will be primarily classroom-based with pre-course internet-based and clinical assignments.

And most recently, we worked with the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine to create a second pathway to certification. Beginning in 2019, individuals who successfully complete the Mastery Program will be immediately eligible to take the ABDSM certification examination. Those who successfully complete the examination will become a Diplomate without having to submit cases to the ABDSM.

For the first time ever, the field has a published standard for practicing, an education curriculum and a certification examination that all align with each other helping to better define our field.

We have also made some changes to the AADSM’s Qualified Dentist Designation program that launched in January 2017. To ensure that dentists with minimal qualifications are identifiable from those with no qualifications.  Qualified Dentists are now able to maintain their designation beyond the initial two-year period by meeting maintenance requirements every two years. All dentists practicing dental sleep medicine are strongly encouraged to become Diplomates of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine; however, these changes allow qualified dentists to be recognized until they choose to pursue certification. Additionally, to ensure standardized education in the field, dentists will need to complete Mastery I to receive the Qualified Dentist designation beginning in 2019.
All of these strides we have made are only important if they are recognized by patients, general dentists, referring physicians and insurance companies. We have launched and will continue to implement aggressive public relations and marketing campaigns to ensure that everyone knows that only dentists with adequate training should provide oral appliance therapy.
We have continued to express our dissatisfaction with the ADA policy and voiced concern of the harmful impact it could have on patients. We exhibited and presented at the ADA Annual Meeting, ADEA, and Chicago midwinter meeting. We also have reached out to state dental societies, physician organizations, and insurers to advocate on behalf of our members.
Drs. Addy and Gail Demko represented the AADSM recently at an FDA workshop to help define research parameters to ensure that only safe and effective oral appliances are cleared for public use. We invited Noridian, a DME MAC for two of the four regions of the country, to exhibit at this year’s annual meeting, so members can ask questions about and express concerns with their policies.
Over the last year, we have also collaborated with the US Military. Several board members have participated in dental sleep medicine training programs provided by the military. The AADSM has created a military membership category and discounts at courses to ensure that dentists providing oral appliance therapy to our valued service men and women have the best training possible. We are continuing to work with them on important research collaborations.
Research is the cornerstone of any evidence-based field. The AADSM has continued to support research in the field. Later this summer, the AADSM will announce the recipients of the 2018 Dental Sleep Medicine Research Awards. $300,000 has been earmarked for these awards. In addition, we continue to promote the publication of high-quality research in the Journal of Dental Sleep Medicine. Dr. Jean-Francois Masse became the new Editor-in-Chief of JDSM in January and has been working hard to solicit submissions of original science in the field.
As the AADSM implements other initiatives of the strategic plan, it will expand its footprint in the dental community through educational, health policy, and research initiatives and pursue collaborations with physicians that will expand our referral bases. Dr. Addy will highlight some more of the action steps of the strategic plan in just a few minutes, but it is important to note that the efforts of the AADSM can only be implemented correctly if we invest in the necessary infrastructure.

For the past 15 years, staff support has been provided by the AASM through a management agreement. The AADSM has been greatly enhanced through our management relationship with the AASM, for which we are grateful. Through the strategic planning process, the AADSM Board of Directors recognized that it needs to invest in the resources necessary to successfully meet our strategic goals. This means that we need our own dedicated, full-time staff to focus solely on the initiatives of the AADSM. For this reason, we decided not to renew our existing management agreement with the AASM. The agreement with the AASM ended in March.

Not renewing a management agreement is simply that. The AASM is no longer providing staff support. The AADSM Board of Directors has made it very clear to the AASM that we appreciate the close collaboration that the two organizations have enjoyed and have every hope that the collaboration will continue. Earlier this week, Drs. Addy, Schwartz and I had a positive meeting with AASM leadership and plan to continue to have open discussions with them.

For you, our members, this means that your membership dollars will pay for a staff that is solely dedicated to improving and advancing the field of dental sleep medicine. Becky Roberts is now serving as our Executive Director. For the last 15 years, Becky worked at the AASM most recently as Assistant Executive Director. The AADSM has enjoyed working with Becky since 2003 when she started working on the AADSM annual meeting. She has extensive management experience in education, certification, publications and board management.

Randi Prince serves as our Assistant Executive Director. Since 2006, Randi has worked with the AADSM. She has significant institutional knowledge and has successfully launched a multitude of new education and membership programs that have been instrumental in the growth of our organization.
Although not here, I would also like to acknowledge our consultant, Jerry Barrett. Becky, Randi, Jerry and the AADSM BOD have put countless hours of work, effort and time into positioning and transitioning the AADSM for independent management.
Becky and Randi are managing nine staff who are providing support in the areas of health policy, research and policy development, accreditation and certification, education, meetings, and marketing. 

During my first presidency, the AADSM had 600 members and 250 meeting attendees. Today, we have nearly 3,000 members and 1,200 meeting attendees. Our membership is filled with smart, capable and great people who are dedicated to advancing this field and making a positive impact on the lives of our patients. On behalf of the AADSM Board of Directors, thank you to our dedicated volunteers and all our members.  The Academy’s success would not be possible without your passion and insight.

Report of the 2018/2019 President – Nancy L. Addy, DDS

My friends and colleagues, I am honored to have been given the opportunity to serve you as the AADSM President during this very exciting time of change. As the AADSM becomes a self-managed organization we will be launching new initiatives while continuing to confront the challenges in the rapidly changing field of dental sleep medicine.
During my presidency, I will work with our Board of Directors, our committees and our new management staff to implement the action steps of the Academy’s strategic plan.
Earlier today, we held the first Academic Dental Sleep Medicine Forum. We have created a new council of dentists who are on faculty at dental schools across the country, so they can collaborate and discuss common issues. The AADSM is planning to work with this important group to introduce dental sleep medicine to students and dentists both in and out of the classroom. We will also be working with this group to accredit Mastery Program providers at universities throughout the country assuring that dentists have the education needed to provide oral appliance therapy to their patients.
Our committees play a huge part in implementing our strategic plan. The committees help develop tools and resources for our members to help you better treat patients, manage growing practices and develop resources to strengthen and expand collaborations and relationships with physicians who provide you with more patient referrals. These resources will be announced in the AADSM’s NewsFlash as they become available.
One of my goals as President is to increase the number of accredited dental facilities. In August, I will be asking the Board of Directors to consider updates to our accreditation standards that will better align with our “new standard for practice document” which will be published in July. This could potentially remove some of the more onerous requirements that are not directly linked with the care of our patients.
I will encourage our board to continue to develop policies, protocols and other documents that can help you streamline inefficiencies within your practices, so you have more time to focus on your patients.
For the first time the AADSM has a full-time Health Policy Manager.  His role, on your behalf, is to advocate with private and public payers to provide you with the resources you need to work with insurers.
At this exciting moment in the history of the AADSM I am honored to represent you and lead the members of this board as we work proactively to position the AADSM as the premier dental sleep medicine Academy and to promote the field of dental sleep medicine for the treatment of patients with snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.
I am looking forward to the bright and dynamic future of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.