Director of Bethune-Cookman Wellness Center Addresses National Dental Association at Annual Convention in Jacksonville
Director of Bethune-Cookman Wellness Center Addresses National Dental Association
at Annual Convention in Jacksonville
Dr. Alma Dixon, executive director for health equity and multicultural health at Bethune-Cookman University’s Odessa Chambliss Wellness Center, was the keynote speaker at the National Dental Association’s Annual President’s Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Waterfront. The invitation-only event, sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive, brought together NDA’s executive leadership team and 150 leaders of the organization’s national constituent chapters.
The luncheon was part of NDA’s Annual Convention which was held July 24th-29th. The NDA represents over 6,000 black dentists in the United States and the Caribbean, advancing their rights within the dental profession, the armed services, the government, and the private sector.
Dr. Dixon spoke about the important role organizations like Bethune-Cookman University, Colgate and the National Dental Association play in empowering minority communities to improve their health and overall quality of life.
“One of the lessons I have learned from the legacy of B-CU’s founder Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune and the leadership of our president, Dr. Trudie Kibbe Reed, is that when you see a challenge, you find a way to meet it. Today’s challenge is to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities that persist in this country,” noted Dr. Dixon. “At Bethune-Cookman, we believe that individuals will be empowered to make lifestyle changes that improve their health if they are given understandable, culturally sensitive information about health issues. That is where we are focusing our efforts through the Odessa Chambliss Wellness Center. I know that the NDA and Colgate share this belief and are working in communities to improve oral health.”
The Odessa Chambliss Wellness Center at Bethune-Cookman University’s School of Nursing was launched earlier this year with the goal of improving health literacy among target populations in order to decrease racial/ethnic disparities in illness, injury and death related to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, pneumonia/influenza and domestic violence. The Center provides wellness education programs, assessment and referral services designed to help individuals reduce their risk factors and improve self-management of chronic conditions. The Center also trains local residents as lay community health educators and operates as a clinical site for senior nursing students. The Center works closely with local community health agencies to disseminate information and conduct educational programs.
Both the NDA and Colgate lead similar outreach efforts focusing on oral health, including the Bright Smiles, Bright Futures (BSBF) partnership which serves more than 70 million children in 80 countries. The BSBF’s school program begins with Head Start youngsters, providing important oral health messages to children, teachers, parents and caregivers. Other community outreach efforts include participation in street fairs and community celebrations to reach children and families in their neighborhoods.
About Bethune-Cookman University
Founded in 1904 by Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement. B-CU offers baccalaureate degrees in 37 majors through six academic schools – Arts & Humanities; Business; Education; Nursing; Science, Engineering and Mathematics; and Social Sciences – and maintains intercollegiate athletic programs and instrumental and choral groups that have achieved national recognition. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of more than 3,400.