Dr Lene Vilstrup

DDS MPH PhD

President

Chief Dental Officer, Denmark

  • Chief Dental Officer, Denmark
  • Main interests are public health and community dentistry

How long have you been involved in the CECDO and how did this come about?
I attended my first meeting in 2008, in Paris. I was invited in my capacity as a CDO at the Danish Health and Medicines authority in Denmark.

What is the added value of the CECDO to your work, and how have you benefited from this?
Since joining the CECDO, I quickly understood how its key strength is embedded in the power of its network. Being able to meet face to face with colleagues occupying similar advisory roles at a senior level is extremely beneficial. Often, we are experiencing similar challenges, and this safe, but liberal, environment promotes open and valued conversations. The exchange of knowledge within this setting is also of paramount importance, and generates a better understanding of the situation in all countries across Europe. As an example, the information provided on the initial day of a CECDO meeting, focusing on the systems for the provisionof oral healthcare in the hosting country, is always extremelycomprehensive.

Chief Dental Officers are individuals with very different backgrounds and personalities. How does this influence your work within the CECDO?
It is inspiring to work alongside a number of international and European icons, with a range of backgrounds and experience. Whilst occasionally challenging, these differences generally enrich the discussions, and lead to more a productive debate.

Can you name concrete milestones that the CECDO has achieved?
In recent years a stronger emphasis has been placed upon developing the advisory capacity of the CECDO. The creation of the European Platform for Better Oral Health has certainly moved the organisation in this direction. It has strengthened its links with European Parliament, and will serve to identify priorities, and define key recommendations to improve oral health
in Europe. Additionally, the development of practical tools and outputs such as position papers on a variety of topics, from the scientific meetings and workshops, has also been extremely useful.

How would you typify the CECDO?
I would describe the CECDO as a professional European family. As a new member I have been made to feel very welcome from the outset, and have been fully integrated into discussions. I thus consider it to be an established, robust and organised network of Chief Dental Officers, or representatives of dentistry, who report to the Ministry of Health in their respective countries.

How would you describe the social culture within the CECDO? Is it fun or serious?
It is both of these! Discussions at meetings and workshops are professional and productive. However, a strong emphasis is placed upon the social programme to ensure a fun, informal setting to develop friendships that extend beyond professional boundaries, and thus good cooperation between countries.

How do you look upon the CECDO’s future? And how does this serve your own personal interests?
I look upon the future of the CECDO very favourably, and expect it to play an important role in raising awareness at an EU level, of forthcoming public health issues. These include aligning the systems for the provision of undergraduate and postgraduate dental education, to ensure that the European dental workforce is competent, and has the necessary skills, attitudes and experience. Maximising the potential of the dental team (dentists, hygienists, therapists, nurses, technicians, oral health promoters and educators) to ensure an appropriate use of skill mix in undertaking preventative interventions and treatment, is also important. CECDO should also look to give EU policymakers a deeper understanding of dental issues concerning vulnerable population groups including the elderly, immigrants and children and adults with special needs.

Address:
Danish Health and Medicines Authority
Disease Prevention and Local Health Services
Axel Heides Gade 1
DK-2300 Copenhagens

Tel: + 45 72228641