Letter from the President: We must stand together to foster supportive working environments for all health professionals

28 October 2020


FDI President Gerhard Seeberger

Dr Gerhard K. Seeberger

FDI President

Oral health professionals have an important role to play in demanding stronger healthcare systems and more investment in the workforce to improve global health outcomes. Join me to Stand Up for Positive Practice Environments today. I’m also excited to announce the recent release of a new FDI digital assessment tool to accurately score a patient’s level of periodontal disease. Finally, please join me in remembering a dear departed colleague, Prof. Roy Duckworth CBE.

The World Health Professions Alliance launches the Stand Up for Positive Practice Environments Campaign 

The COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented stress on health systems globally and has increased the need for productive, supported health professionals and other healthcare workers.

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, the World Health Organization and the World Bank estimated a shortage of 18 million healthcare workers by 2030, leading to poorer health outcomes and diminished healthcare worker well-being – deadly serious issues for health and development worldwide.

A prevailing reason for this shortage is the poor quality of healthcare work environments that undermine health service delivery and drive health professionals away from their caregiving role, from their workspace, and even from their country.

Positive Practice Environments are healthcare settings that support decent working conditions, attract and retain staff, provide quality patient care, strive for excellence and strengthen the healthcare sector as a whole.

That’s why FDI, as a member of the World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA), is urging health professionals, managers, governments, policy makers, and community leaders to Stand Up for Positive Practice Environments today.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, oral health professionals can be proud to have demonstrated an outstanding shared understanding of clinical care and effective teamwork, to be experienced in using PPE, to avoid cross contamination and be able to carry out appropriate disinfection procedures for optimal patient and team safety. However, we can always do more. As a united front of oral health professionals, we demand stronger healthcare systems and more investment in the workforce to improve health outcomes worldwide.

Join us on Friday, 6 November at 16h00 CET (Geneva) to discuss what we can do to foster supportive workplaces for all health professionals. I hope to “see” you there.

Register here: tiny.cc/WHPAWebinar.

FDI Global Periodontal Health Project releases NEW Digital Disease Profile Assessment tool

This new online tool is a disease scoring assessment that can help categorize an individual patient's periodontal disease profile as either mild, moderate or severe. Based on an observation of the patient, oral health professionals score each item in the questionnaire and calculate the total score of the patient's overall disease profile.

This assessment tool aligns with the 2018 classification scheme for periodontal and peri-implant diseases and the S3 Level Clinical Practice Guideline for the treatment of Stage I–III periodontitis, recently released by the European Federation of Periodontology. The tool will soon be available in French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Dutch and Italian.

I want to congratulate the team on the Global Periodontal Health Project Task Team: Thanks to your hard work, expertise, and dedication, oral health professionals around the world will be able to keep their patients in good health and better diagnose, treat, and manage periodontal diseases.

I am proud of all of you and your effective engagement for oral health and general health.

Remembering Professor Roy Duckworth CBE, FDI honorary member and former editor of the International Dental Journal

Roy died peacefully on 16 September 2020, aged 91. He is survived and missed by his beloved wife Marjorie, sons Michael and Stephen, daughter Anne, nine grandsons, former colleagues at the Royal London Hospital, and friends worldwide.

Roy Duckworth qualified in both dentistry and medicine at the University of Liverpool, subsequently gaining several higher qualifications. After service in the RAF Dental Branch, he moved to London in 1959 as a Nuffield Fellow to work at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School and Guy’s Hospital Dental School. He joined the staff of the London (now Royal London), Whitechapel in 1961 and remained there for the rest of his very distinguished career.

Roy made rapid progress through the academic ranks, becoming Professor and Head of the Department of Oral Medicine and Periodontology in 1968. In 1969, he took over the mantle of the Dean of Dental Studies from Geoffrey Slack and carried out those duties with great distinction for six years. From 1986-94, Professor Duckworth was Dean of the Medical College at a time of great change when a clear mind and steady hand at the helm were essential.

Outside The London, Roy made many significant contributions to the profession. He was elected Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1983, and also held office at various times as President of the British Society of Periodontology, the British Society of Oral Medicine, and the British Dental Association in 1990.

He served on numerous important committees and advisory bodies, both nationally and

internationally, and was Editor of the International Dental Journal for many years. Professor Duckworth’s outstanding contributions were very deservedly recognized by the award of the CBE in 1987.

It was highly appropriate for Roy to be one of the first recipients of the Geoffrey Layton Slack Medal, since he was a patient of Geoffrey prior to taking up dentistry as a career. For those who have had the privilege of working with Roy Duckworth over the years, he remained above all a good friend and a respected colleague.


This obituary was authored by Stephen Duckworth originally appeared in the British Dental Journal: Roy Duckworth CBE. Br Dent J 229, 410 (2020). 



As always, stay safe and healthy!

Dr Gerhard K. Seeberger

FDI President



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