Global Health Nexus, Fall 2000

How You Can Support “Ask Your Dentist”

In an effort to give alumni an innovative means of increasing the number of patients seeking oral health services while also supporting the public good, NYU Dentistry has established the Dental Profession Advancement Fund. Contributions to the Dental Profession Advancement Fund are used specifically and exclusively to advertise health promotion initiatives conducted under the banner of “Ask Your Dentist”—NYU Dentistry's campaign to raise public awareness of consumer oral health issues and encourage patients to seek treatment.

The “Ask Your Dentist” slogan first appeared nearly two years ago in advertisements inviting the public to take advantage of free oral cancer exams in the New York-New Jersey region and urging patients to ask their own dentists about an oral cancer exam.

“We have seen that a powerful synergy occurs when NYU Dentistry’s community outreach efforts aimed at the uninsured—such as screenings—are promoted in advertisements and news stories that also reach and impact insured consumers,” explains Dean Alfano. “These individuals, who are at the heart of private practice, are educated and motivated to ask their dentists to provide specific health-care procedures.

“By making a contribution earmarked for the ‘Ask Your Dentist’ campaign, alumni and friends can help NYU Dentistry build a budget that will highly leverage the campaign’s effectiveness,” says Dean Alfano. “At the same time, alumni can promote their profession by creating a new awareness of the role of the dentist in overall health.”

In addition to advertisements encouraging consumers to “ask their dentist” for an oral cancer exam, the campaign has also run ads promoting modern dentistry’s ability to prevent tooth decay. Going forward, the campaign will include consumer education interventions on the linkages between periodontal disease and premature birth in pregnant women, the potential risk of heart disease arising from periodontal inflammation, and strategies for preventing preteens from smoking, among other issues.

We invite everyone with a stake in building increased strength and stature for the dental profession to join in making “Ask Your Dentist” the byword of an educated consumer. For information on making a contribution to the “Ask Your Dentist” campaign, contact Rita Startup, senior director of alumni development and special events, at (212) 998-9912.