1. Purpose

As the leading professional association dedicated to dental, oral and craniofacial research, the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) works to promote the improvement of oral health worldwide and serve as an exemplar of the latest evidence promoting oral as well as overall health. 

To that end, the AADOCR Board of Directors and staff have made a commitment to promoting fitness and wellness and to providing healthier alternatives for food and beverages at all AADOCR meetings. 

 

2. AADOCR Healthy Meeting Policy Overview

AADOCR will implement the following policies at AADOCR-funded meetings and events to encourage healthy behavior at our meetings. In doing so, AADOCR hopes to create a culture of health and wellness that – in addition to promoting oral and overall health – fosters healthier behaviors and choices. 

This policies guide for AADOCR meetings is intended to encompass nutrition, tobacco-free space, physical activity and sustainability. AADOCR staff will negotiate available options with each destination and venue, as needed. Furthermore, AADOCR will periodically evaluate its healthy meeting policies and adjust them as needed to reflect acceptability of policies or to enhance the healthfulness of choices. 

*AADOCR developed the following healthy meetings policy largely relying on the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity’s Healthy Meeting Toolkit,1  which is adhered to by several organizations working toward a healthy meeting environment for their employees and members.  


The Policies herein have been developed specifically for AADOCR meetings and events.

 

a. Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Policy

Research has shown that the consumption of sugars has a direct impact on a person’s oral and overall health. Sugar intake – particularly in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages – has a correlation to a range of health issues, including dental caries, energy levels, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes, among others.  

 

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Image Source: FDI World Dental Federation

 

Implementation:

      • Sugar-sweetened beverages will not be purchased by AADOCR for meetings, including AADOCR-funded events, such as receptions and luncheons. 
      • Fluoridated water will be served at all water stations throughout AADOCR meetings, where available.
      • AADOCR will ensure that low-fat and non-fat milk are served with coffee and tea in addition to half and half. 
      • AADOCR will encourage other groups holding ancillary meetings during the AADOCR Annual Meeting to adopt a similar policy.

b. Water Refilling Stations

AADOCR will provide water refilling stations whenever possible and will encourage attendees to carry personal water bottles. When available, AADOCR will provide fluoridated water.

 

c. General Food Policy

Foods served at meetings and conferences are too often high in fat, added sugars and sodium. Coupled with the limited amount of time allotted to physical activity at meetings and conferences, those foods are not conducive to a healthy work environment. Therefore, AADOCR will work to offer healthier food options to help create a higher-energy meeting environment that supports our members and their ability to eat well and be active.

 

Implementation:

      • AADOCR will offer fruits and/or vegetables every time food is served.
      • AADOCR will place healthier foods and beverages in prominent positions, where they are more likely to be seen and chosen.
      • AADOCR will provide vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan meal options. 
      • AADOCR will not serve candy or have candy readily available for attendees at its meetings. 
      • When possible, AADOCR will offer reasonable portion sizes and/or limit dessert sizes. 
      • AADOCR will offer whole grain options. 

 

d. Smoking Policy

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 Smoking and inhaling secondhand smoke are hazardous to individuals’ health. In addition to the role that smoking and secondhand smoke inhalation play in causing cardiovascular disease and lung cancer, cigarettes and chewing tobacco are also harmful to oral health, resulting in negative possible impacts, such as gum disease and oral cancer. Similarly, vaping, the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol produced by e-cigarettes or similar devices, is still being evaluated for health risks, though a growing body of evidence indicates that the chemicals may be dangerous.

 

Implementation:

      • AADOCR Annual Meetings and other AADOCR-funded events are all designated as tobacco-free, non-smoking (including tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes) events. AADOCR will make every effort to ensure that all meeting spaces and AADOCR event-associated venues are smoke-free. 
      • AADOCR will host conferences in cities with comprehensive smoke-free policies that include restaurants and bars.

 

e. Fitness and Wellness Policy

Meetings and conferences generally include little opportunity for physical activity and typically involve a lot of time sitting, which leads to reduced concentration and energy levels. 

 

Implementation:

      • AADOCR will encourage attendees to continue their regular exercise routines as well as to move regularly throughout the day, including within the meeting space by standing, stretching, etc. 
      • AADOCR will encourage panelists to periodically break up sitting time. 

 

f. Disease Transmission

IADR will closely monitor and follow international and local public health guidance that may affect the organization of its meetings and events or may restrict participants’ travel to them. IADR strongly encourages meeting and event participants to exercise personal responsibility and adhere to guidelines and recommendations for the prevention of infectious disease person-to-person transmission.

Proper hygiene practices—including frequently washing hands, staying home when sick, using a tissue or coughing/sneezing into a flexed elbow and not the hand, and not touching the face—are essential to overall cleanliness and interrupting the spread of disease2AADOCR recognizes the importance of these practices to protect its meeting delegates, global headquarters staff and the meeting venue’s staff. AADOCR will promote and encourage hygienic practices among its meeting and event attendees in order to help reduce the spread of germs and illnesses.

 

Implementation:

      • AADOCR will ensure alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol is available at AADOCR meetings and events.
      • AADOCR will confirm all meeting and event venues have clean handwashing facilities.
      • AADOCR will provide tissue at meetings and events that participants can take, as needed.
      • AADOCR will place reminders about the importance of hygienic practices throughout its meeting and event venues.

 

g. Sustainability Policy

Healthy meetings practices can also minimize the negative impact that meetings and conferences can have on the environment. 

AADOCR would like to move toward more sustainable “green” practices that will reduce waste and implement reuse and recycling techniques. This change will be gradually introduced over time, since members expect to receive materials like the AADOCR Annual Meeting program book in hard copy.

 

Implementation:

      • AADOCR will have recycling bins available for meeting attendees and staff at all times. 
      • AADOCR will reduce waste and packaging whenever possible. 
      • AADOCR will make handouts available online in an attempt to reduce paper consumption. 



1Healthy Meeting Toolkit, National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity. 
Available here: https://cspinet.org/sites/default/files/attachment/Final%20
Healthy%20Meeting%20Toolkit.pdf

2Hygiene Etiquette & Practice, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity. 
https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/etiquette/index.html