Prof. Kenneth A. Eaton



Chair of the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe

  • Chair of the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe (2011) and adviser to the CECDO since 1994. Main interests include Periodontology, Dental Public Health, teaching, research and examining Dental Care Professionals, and dentists, and the development and evaluation of distance learning.

How long have you been involved in the CECDO and how did this come about?
I have been involved in the CECDO since the very beginning. Brian Mouatt, the Chief Dental Officer for England at the time, invited me to the first CECDO meeting in July 1992, in London. After two years of involvement, I was asked to become the Council’s Adviser, and it was in this capacity that I began to collate data from across Europe and to act as its “corporate

What is the added value of the CECDO to your work, and how have you benefited from this?
I feel that I have benefited enormously from my involvement with the CECDO. It has provided me with an opportunity to develop a special interest in the systems for the provision of oral healthcare and dental education across Europe. I have subsequently developed a deep understanding of these systems, both in terms of their benefits and weaknesses. In particular,
the limitations of currently available oral healthcare data provided me with a theme my PhD thesis, as well as a variety of other scientific publications. Alongside this, the CECDO has introduced me to a substantial network of colleagues across Europe, many of whom I now regard as friends and as an extended family.

Chief Dental Officers are individuals with very different backgrounds and personalities. How does this influence your work within the CECDO?
Knowing and understanding a colleague provides an excellent foundation to a working relationship. The CECDO has provided its members with a platform built upon trust, political neutrality and honesty. This environment is especially vital in challenging discussions that may focus on highlighting failings or learning experiences.

Can you name concrete milestones that the CECDO has achieved?
Establishing a Constitution under Dutch law was an initial key achievement for the Council. Jos van den Heuvel was responsible for undertaking this. Throughout times of financial crisis and instability, CECDO has been able to maintain bi-annual meetings, and the importance of this cannot be underestimated. In the last twenty years the CECDO representatives from all countries in the EU, and the EEA have attended meetings. As a result, in terms of oral healthcare, the integration of new member states in 2004, and of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007, was much easier, as representatives of these states were already attending CECDO meetings. Most recently, in the last 5 years, the development of the Platform for Better Oral Health has raised the profile of the CECDO, and developed contacts within the European Commission and Parliament.

How would you typify the CECDO?
A collaboration of national representatives who share good practice, and network together on issues of common interest.

How would you describe the social culture within the CECDO? Is it fun or serious?
Within working hours, members are productive, focussed and efficient… and thus serious! However, the social events have allowed members to get to know one another better, and provided good insight into local culture through good food, wine and a range of fascinating historical locations and historic buildings.

How do you look upon the CECDO’s future? And how does this serve your own personal interests?
I view the CECDO as part of a larger collaboration, building upon the actions of the Platform to increasingly influence policy making in the European Commission and Parliament. Continuing to network with friendly and international colleagues on a regular basis is vital to this.

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