Center for Integrative Global Oral Health Brings Together Global Leaders to Advance Health Advocacy


Philadelphia – Penn Dental Medicine’s Center for Integrative Global Oral Health (CIGOH) recently convened its Global Oral Health Forum II: Evidence to Advocacy, bringing together global leaders in health policy and economics, research, and education, and public health and advocacy for discussions around the theme of health advocacy. Held April 16-17 in Philadelphia, this was the second such forum organized by CIGOH, building upon the success of the Global Oral Health Forum I, held in Merida, Mexico, in 2023.

Dr. Michael Glick, Fields-Rayant Professor and Executive Director of CIGOH

“The Forum was designed to be a springboard for global leaders and key stakeholders to foster open dialogues on health advocacy and define actionable recommendations to enhance oral and overall health,” says Dr. Michael Glick, Fields-Rayant Professor and Executive Director of CIGOH, who helped to plan the Forum. “Health advocacy includes efforts to increase awareness of health inequalities, impact oral health policies, and facilitate access to and allocate resources for a Whole Health home.”

The Forum featured two sessions each day. Speakers delivered brief presentations, followed by a dialogue among more than 30 panelists, who delved deeper into the forum’s topics. These discussions aimed to formulate actionable recommendations to serve as a roadmap for advancing advocacy in oral health globally.

The session topics included:

  • “Advocacy in Health Policies: Person-Centered Decisions and Actions,” led by Manu Mathur, Professor, Queen Mary University of London’s Centre for Dental Public Health and Primary Care;
  • “Advocacy and Health Economics: Resource Allocation and Priorities,” led by Stefan Listl, Section for Oral Health, Heidelberg Institute of Global Health, Germany
  • “Patients and Health Advocacy: Where Are the Patients’ Voices?,” led by Stephen Abel, Clinical Associate Professor, Center for Integrative Global Oral Health, Penn Dental Medicine; and
  • “The Planet and Health Advocacy: The Emergency of Planetary Health,” led by Julian Fisher, Director of Oral and Planetary Health Policies, Center for Integrative Global Oral Health, Penn Dental Medicine.

“This was a highly productive and enlightening meeting. Engaging in essential dialogues with such a varied group of experts is the cornerstone of our collaborative efforts to address global health challenges,” remarks Dr. Alonso Carrasco-Labra, Associate Professor and Director of the Cochrane Oral Health Center at Penn Dental Medicine. “By considering oral health advocacy as an integral part of the wider health advocacy movement, we highlight the crucial role of cohesive, transdisciplinary strategies in breaking down the barriers that prevent us from achieving optimal oral health for everyone.”