SIU SDM’s Robert Bitter Elected American Dental Association Trustee

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Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine (SIU SDM) faculty member Dr. Robert Bitter was installed as a trustee of the American Dental Association’s (ADA) eighth district earlier in October at the ADA’s 155th annual meeting in San Antonio.

Dr. Robert Bitter, assistant professor in the Section of Periodontics at the SIU SDM.

My role as an educator at SIUE provides a unique opportunity to bring to the ADA board of trustees my concern for our students and the quality of dental education in America’s dental schools

Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine (SIU SDM) faculty member Dr. Robert Bitter was installed as a trustee of the American Dental Association’s (ADA) eighth district earlier in October. The installation took place during the ADA’s 155th annual meeting in San Antonio.

“It is a great honor to have the opportunity to represent the dentists of Illinois as the new trustee of the eighth district,” said Bitter, assistant professor in the Section of Periodontics at the SIU SDM. “Illinois is blessed to have so many volunteer dental professionals, who care about the profession of dentistry and the services we provide the citizens of Illinois.”

In this new position, Bitter and other trustees are vested with the power to conduct all business of the association. The ADA board formulates and reviews policies and programs and makes recommendations to the members of the ADA’s governing body, the House of Delegates. As a member of the ADA board, Bitter will play a major role in the organization’s objective of being America’s leading advocate for oral health.

“Health care is changing in America as The Affordable Care Act is providing new opportunities for our profession to reach out and care for a large segment of children who currently have no dental benefits or care," said Bitter. “My new position allows me the opportunity to work within the umbrella of activities which the ADA is involved in to assist in developing the standards by which our profession assesses new technologies and works with manufacturers to develop safe applications for new products.”

In his position as trustee, Bitter will also serve on the ADA’s Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE). The JCNDE is the agency responsible for the development and administration of the National Board Dental Examinations.

The National Board Examinations assist state boards in determining qualifications of dentists and dental hygienists seeking licensure to practice. These examinations assess the ability to understand important information from basic biomedical and dental or dental hygiene sciences as well as the ability to apply such information in a problem-solving context.

“My role as an educator at SIUE provides a unique opportunity to bring to the ADA board of trustees my concern for our students and the quality of dental education in America’s dental schools,” Bitter said. “I look forward to an exciting four years with my new role at the ADA, and I hope I can have an impact on guiding our profession during these challenging and exciting times.

The SIU School of Dental Medicine students manage approximately 35,000 patient visits each year at its patient clinics in Alton and East St. Louis. In addition, students offer oral health treatment, screenings and education to more than 10,000 people annually through a wide variety of off-campus community outreach events. These opportunities provide students the training they need to graduate and become highly skilled dentists. The School of Dental Medicine is a vital oral health care provider for residents of southern and central Illinois, and the St. Louis metropolitan region.

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