Feigal Symposium to address key issues in pediatric care

Feigal Symposium - This image was taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. All safety protocols remain in place in our clinics.

An upcoming Continuing Dental Education symposium will provide insights into essential issues in pediatric dentistry, including caring for special needs and LGBTQ+ young people.

The Robert J. Feigal Lectureship in Pediatric Dentistry, created in 2006, will take place September 17, 2021, with an in-person and Zoom option. The funded lectureship seeks to honor the active creative dialogue Fiegal, a pediatric dentist for 30 years, sought out among thoughtful people.

The day will begin with a lecture on space loss and regaining from Clarice Law, DMD, MS, followed by a presentation on molar substitution by Lauren Feldman, DMD.

Feldman, who’s pursuing her Master’s in Public Health, will speak on the diagnosis of treatment of hypomineralized teeth. She’s a skilled speaker, having guest hosted on Doctor Radio: The Dental Health Show on Sirius XM radio. “My interest in healthcare stems from my interest in communicating with families,” she said. She hopes her presentation can help other providers get a sense of treatment recommendations and how to effectively work with children and their parents.

After Feldman’s lecture, attendees will hear from Tricia Brisbine, MA, on supporting parents and children with special needs. Brisbine has been a parent and patient advocate since the birth of her son, Charlie, who has special needs and disabilities. Brisbine has worked with the School of Dentistry in the past to work with dentists across the state in order to better serve a diverse array of patient communications.

“What I do is bridge the gap between what families are feeling, and what the professionals want and need to know,” Brisbine explained, reflecting that it’s “a great learning opportunity for both sides of the coin.”

Brisbine hopes to stress the importance of partnership between families and providers, where providers understand the reality of the patient’s home life and families know they can rely on their provider. “You’re a team,” she explained. “Ultimately, we all want the same positive health outcomes for the patient/child.”

She hopes this presentation, where she’ll speak to her own experience and to the importance of making a practice more accessible, will be “a wonderful opportunity for professionals to start partnering in a way that they may never have before.”

Following Brisbine’s presentation, Mitchell Lunn, MD, will present on the considerations when serving LGBTQ+ young adults. Lunn, a nephrologist by trade, dedicates much of his professional time to LGBTQ+ research through the Pride Study and primary care in an LGBTQ+ clinic.

“There is an interesting need for this,” Lunn explained, noting that LGBTQ-specific treatment isn’t always taught in dental school. “We know LGBTQ+ people have worse health outcomes, and we know they say they want providers who are better trained to take care of them.”

Lunn’s presentation is the first step toward that more inclusive, well-trained care. He plans to speak to what he’s learned from working with LGBTQ+ young people, sharing what they’ve revealed is important to them in creating an affirming practice.

Lunn will present what he calls a “LGBTQ 101” presentation during the Feigal symposium, focusing on terminology, communication, and making an inclusive, affirming practice. He’ll follow up the symposium with a separate, day-long presentation on caring for LGBTQ+ youth the next day, September 18.

During that longer presentation, Lunn will share on risk factors that disproportionately affect LGBTQ+ youth and how to tackle those barriers. He’ll speak to topics like alcohol use, body image issues, mental health, hormones, and more. “These are some of the most important things to talk about, because that’s what we hear from LGBTQ+ people most that they want,” he explained, “so it’s using the approach of letting the community tell us what they need.”

Lunn hopes that his presentation will lead to more affirming, positive relationships between providers and patients--much like Brisbine’s hope for working with special needs families.

Participants in the day-long symposium will gain critical skills for their pediatric practice, from the dental and public health perspective. They’ll walk away with a set of tools for becoming a better provider.

Learn more and register for the Feigal Lectureship and Lunn’s presentation on providing exemplary care to LGBTQ+ individuals.