The Hispanic Dental Association is continually working to develop programs that build camaraderie and collegiality for its membership and introduce programs that create awareness and promote oral health for the Hispanic community. Beginning in 2011 – specifically the week of February 9th – we are proposing that all members actively promote and celebrate in some way el “Dia del Dentista” a day that has been traditionally been celebrated for many years in Latin American countries as the official “Day of the Dentist.”
Many of you may know the history behind Dia del Dentista but for those of you who are not familiar, the following information may be helpful in creating significant relevance for the day. In the Catholic religion, the Feast Day of the Patron Saint – Saint Apollonia is February 9th. Apollonia was a young, virtuous woman of Christian faith during the reign of Emperor Philip. However, under Philip’s reign, Christians were persecuted. At the hands of persecutors, poor Apollonia was tortured including having all of her teeth violently pulled out or shattered. She was threatened with fire if she did not renounce her Faith. Apollonia chose to jump into the flames and died a martyr in the year of 249. Saint Apollonia is considered the Patron Saint of dentistry and for those suffering with toothaches.
(Source: Catholic Online www.catholic.org/saints and Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Apollonia ).
For those of you who are fortunate to belong to a local HDA Professional Chapter, we encourage you to bring your membership together and invite new potential members sometime during the week of February 9 to celebrate Dia del Dentista. Be creative… hold a community event offering dental services and patient education, host a CDE (Continuing Dental Education) activity, gather together for a social, networking opportunity, etc. If you are not in a geographic area that has a local professional chapter, you can still celebrate this day – for example, do something fun with your office staff to celebrate the field of dentistry, share information with your patients, find ways to mentor and encourage high school students into the dental field, etc.
Be proud of this noble vocation and share your talents with others who are in need. And lastly, tell us about how you and/or your chapter celebrated Dia del Dentista. A special section will be devoted to your stories in the next HDA newsletter. We look forward to hearing from you.
Lilia Larin, DDS
2012 HDA President