As the first European Fellow to have served as the PFA's President, I take special pride and interest in witnessing my native continent's evolution within the Academy. The recent formation of the Latvian and Romanian Sections are reflective of the Executive Board's strategic plan for expansion into territories once considered out of the Academy's scope.
It is no surprise that these two new additions to the Academy's roster are Eastern European countries. Even though the global economy is faltering, Eastern European countries are progressing in part because of the support they have garnered by belonging to the European Union. The disparity that once existed between east and west is now almost nonexistent, thanks to economic liberty and the availability of information. These two facts have had a tremendous effect on the Eastern European dental world, as witnessed by the Fellows who have entered the Academy from Romania and Latvia.
The Latvian Section comprises 14 wonderful ladies, all of who are dedicated to upholding the tradition and mission of the Academy. Dr. Anda Brinkmane was recently named department head of therapeutical dentistry of Rigas Stradinu University, and Dr. Ilze Maldupa presented at the European Association of Dental Public Health Annual Congress. They also are orchestrating a public health project that revolves around dental ailments particular to children who are younger than 12 years.
Thanks to the efforts of PFA Belgium Section Chair Dr. Christaan Colpeart and PFA Romanian Section Chair Dr. Corneliu Armariei, Dean of the University of Ovidius Dental School, the Romanian Section of the Pierre Fauchard Academy was created in 2011. The 15 Fellows who make up the Romanian Section are from all segments of the country's dental community and from all regions of the country. Although entrenched in academics and public health, Romanian Section Chair Dr. Amariei believes that the Academy is best served by an equal cross section of members of the dental community.
Although Poland is not a new Section, it has blossomed into a very strong and influential Section. Poland has 114 Fellows, and its Section Chairman, Dr. Eugeniusz Spiechowicz, was the winner of the Academy's 2009 Elmer Best Award. Poland is representative of what these new Sections may become.
Fellowship in the Academy is by invitation only. The recent events in Eastern Europe are an indicator of the path that the Academy must take to remain strong and viable in the future. We must be ever vigilant and recruit high-caliber and capable members from the dental ranks. We must keep our eyes open for opportunities to form new Sections, always remembering that no country is too small to become a member of our family. The contributions that can be made and have been made by the smaller Sections is invaluable. As they have learned from us, we can surely learn from them.
--Dr. Hubert Ouvrard
Immediate Past President of the Pierre Fauchard Academy