We are approaching the end of another mixed year. The difficult times are continuing with the ongoing pandemic and countries all over in different phases of management and impact: some acute, some doing well, some facing fourth and even fifth waves.
As a profession, the tweaking of our standard dental precautions to include specific measures against airborne contamination has been effective. Reevaluation of mitigation in the first wave has fortunately allowed dental services to continue even in periods of further lockdowns.
Return to face-to-face professional engagement and meetings is proving more of a challenge. Different regulations and constant changes, often at short notice, are particularly significant for an international organization like the ITI.
On a positive note, the pandemic period has also offered exciting new opportunities to reach and connect with professional colleagues and friends. With an agile and innovative mindset, the ITI decided to try out two of its flagship events in new formats: in February 2021 the Education Week at the University of Melbourne switched to online along with the ITI Education Week Boston in June, and in September the ITI World Symposium 202ONE followed suit.
Both events were very successful and well received. The obvious advantages of the broadcasting format were clear. The 35 hours of transmission from the ITI World Symposium 202ONE online attracted close to 10,000 registrations from 122 countries where the participants were able to choose between watching live in three world time zones or on demand.
The online format of the ITI World Symposium 202ONE with its television-standard demands was an eye-opening experience for the faculty but, first and foremost, it was clear how much those present in Basel enjoyed the return to meeting in person.
This outright delight has been mirrored in the face-to-face ITI events that have taken place in the last quarter of the year. The ITI Congress UK and Ireland and the annual Italian Section Meeting amongst others have demonstrated a clear and strong desire to return to and retain events with direct interaction.
This year has also seen the launch of a new and very popular education program. The ITI teamed up with the renowned international business school IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland, to offer a Dental Practice Management course. The fully subscribed second cycle is running now and early registration for the third is recommended!
The routine use of online communication has greatly assisted regular interaction with the 31 ITI Sections. Compliments are due here to the way the Section Leadership Teams are embracing their increased ownership and entrepreneurial scope within the ITI strategy of decentralization and expansion.
Looking ahead to the new year, vaccination in the majority of countries is offering hope and a way forward to a new “normality”. The ITI in 2022 is set to be bursting with face-to-face meetings, including ITI Congresses all over the globe and the Annual Conference in Rome where we hope to see as many of you as possible!
My warm regards and very best wishes to everyone in our global ITI family with the hope of a positive, strong and healthy 2022.