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Interview: Nothing compares to ROOTS

From left: Scientific chairman Dr. David E. Jaramillo, co-chairman Dr. Freddy Belliard and co-chairman Stephen Jones at the 2016 ROOTS SUMMIT in Dubai. (Photograph: Claudia Duschek, DTI)
Dental Tribune International

Dental Tribune International

Wed. 7. December 2016

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ROOTS SUMMITs have been held since the late 1990s. Over the past two decades, Stephen Jones and Dr Freddy Belliard have been part of the meeting that regularly attracts endodontists from all over the world. At the 2016 event, which was organized in close collaboration with Dental Tribune International, the publisher sat down with the two endodontic experts as well as scientific chairman Dr. David E. Jaramillo to learn more about the mission of the ROOTS community.

Dental Tribune International: How did each of you become involved in the ROOTS SUMMIT?
Stephen Jones: Late in 1999, I received a promotion in endodontic product management at SybronEndo. However, I had no knowledge of rotary instruments. When I was researching for information on the Internet, I came across the ROOTS group. I became a fan right away, because it brought my knowledge of the procedures up to speed very quickly. I soon noticed that there is nothing comparable to the ROOTS community, especially with regards to an open discussion among specialists from many different areas.

Dr. Freddy Belliard: In 1999, I had just graduated from my endodontic Masters’ program in Mexico City and I was looking for an endodontic forum on the Internet. Although it was only a small group at the time, this unique forum, to which a couple of friends from the Dominican Republic drew my attention, convinced me right away.

Dr. David E. Jaramillo: It started several years ago when Freddy invited me to participate in this community. I have been a very active member ever since.

What has changed since then?
Belliard: In the early phases of ROOTS, not many people had full-time Internet access. After we decided to take the community to Facebook in 2012—a move that some people resisted at first—the group became much bigger, however, it became easier to communicate thanks to the high quantity of visual information.

Jones: In addition to an exponential increase in memberships from about 1,000 to 23,000 as of today, the move to Facebook improved the tone of the discussions, because people had the opportunity to see each other’s faces and literally communicate at eye level.

Jaramillo: The technology that is available to endodontists has developed rapidly from the time of the first meetings to today. Over the whole period, participants have always been eager to learn more about the latest developments and the ROOTS SUMMIT has always recognized new treatment options and techniques in its program, which has always combined scientific evidence with clinical tips for dental practices.

What are the main characteristics of the group?
Jones: The ROOTS community is a group of individuals who have a sincere and passionate interest in the profession of endodontics and are constantly searching for knowledge and the improvement of the practice for better outcomes. Moreover, the ROOTS SUMMIT is completely independent. Although a number of companies have supported our meetings, there is no commercial or political influence from any manufacturer or society whatsoever. ROOTS is purely about learning endodontics—a practitioners’ forum for practitioners. The content we provide is only shaped by members of the group itself and is not guided from any external party.

Belliard: Even though it might sound a little bit like a cliché, for me, ROOTS is a family. The over 23,000 members engage at different levels, with some who are very active in sharing their cases while others are just observing. However, it is a unique platform for education among specialists.

Jaramillo: ROOTS people are very enthusiastic and aim to improve their own, and the skills of others, in endodontics for the benefit of the patient. One of its unique features is its international diversity. Despite this, almost everybody knows each other. That distinguishes it from other endodontic meetings.

Has the 2016 ROOTS SUMMIT met your expectations?
Jones: We chose Dubai specifically for the fact that daily, there are more than 200 direct flights from various cities around the globe to this location. The number of countries that we achieved to draw this year is overwhelming. Hundreds of participants, including some of the key opinion leaders of the endodontic profession, from over 45 countries registered for the event. Thus, this year’s meeting has completely met our expectations.

Belliard: It met our expectations not only in the quantity and quality of people who came, but also from the organizational point of view. Dental Tribune was a massive help in managing the logistics and promotions related to the meeting. Without its organizational team we would not have drawn such a variety of people.

Jaramillo: With regards to the scientific program of this year’s program, we received very positive feedback from the participants, which shows that we picked the right speakers to take the audience through the different topics, step-by-step.

When will the next ROOTS SUMMIT take place?
Jones: Although we haven’t agreed on a definite date yet, the next meeting will be held in 2018 in Germany’s capital, Berlin.

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