SCDA 35th Annual Meeting in Special Care Dentistry


The Delta Dental Foundation provided a grant allowing five School of Dental Medicine students—Erin Madar, Gina DeLeonibus, Rhea Pate, Laura Smith and Derek Fickes—to attend the Special Care Dentistry Association (SCDA) 35th Annual Meeting in Special Care Dentistry in Dallas, Texas, April 27 through 29. Dr. Leo Marchini, chair and professor of the Department of Comprehensive Care, is the current president of SCDA and has served as a board member since 2019. The SCDA is a unique international organization of oral health professionals and other individuals who are dedicated to promoting oral health and well being for people with special needs. The organization provides educational opportunities and information exchange for oral health care professionals. 

Dr. Suparna Mahalaha, a member and fellow of the SCDA, has attended the conference for the past seven years.

“I always come back inspired by the work, research, and compassion of these colleagues,” she said.

As a result of the conference, Dr. Mahalaha intends to adapt an aging simulation module into the geriatrics course she teaches. She encourages other dentists and students to attend—allowing them to learn to treat patients of all ages with intellectual/developmental disabilities, older adults and those who are medically compromised.

"I was personally inspired by one session about a clinic in Israel that demonstrated the use of chair-side behavior management techniques which allowed for the significant reduction of general anesthesia needed to care for patients with special needs," said Erin Madar (DEN '23). "The session encouraged me to know that by taking the time to employ these same techniques, I will also be able to care for patients with disabilities in a private practice setting."

"We are lucky to have staff at CWRU like Dr. Marchini and Dr. Mahalaha," continued Madar, "who equip students with the tools and mentorship to be mindful to deliver empathetic and competent care to all patients, including those with special healthcare needs."

The Delta Dental Foundation was also one of the sponsors of the meeting.