I met David Gergen in Minneapolis 7 years ago. At the time, I was the Medical Director and a board member of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy (ASBA). The ASBA was comprised of approximately 500 physician members and over 60,000 in the association consisting of respiratory techs, sleep techs, respiratory therapists and any other sleep professionals in the industry. The owner of the academy and I had reached out to him, due to his 30 years of experience in the dental industry, his energy and reputation as a man with a track record of winning, with a proposition of creating a dental branch within the academy. He agreed to take the task head on. This was actually good news to my ears! As a doctor board certified in sleep medicine, I have always held a firm opinion that mild to moderate sleep apnea should be treated with oral appliance therapy as opposed to CPAP when possible. Adding a dental component to the academy was certain to bring a wealth of awareness to my physician colleagues as well as improve the sleep industry as a whole, for us and our patients.
Unfortunately, just as things were getting in order, it came to pass that the owner of the academy ran off with most of the money. The academy then went into a couple of hundred thousand dollars in debt and in a bold effort to save the academy, Gergen provided the funding to keep the doors open. Despite his encouragement for me to remain as the medical director of the academy in order to retain the medical side, I didn’t share Gergen’s optimism so I had no choice but to withdraw from the ASBA.
The year is now 2017. The American Sleep and Breathing Academy is thriving and legitimate, scheduled to host a conference on April 21-22, 2017 that is bringing over 400 attendees. The 501(c3) has been filed and the ASBA is about to reinstate all of the medical members from the past. My path has crossed Gergen’s once again and I’m happy to announce that after reaching out to him, I am returning to the ASBA with the intent of fulfilling our original vision for the ASBA, evolving it into a true multidisciplinary academy. This year will be the last year the academy will be geared only toward dentistry. Next year (2018) will be the first year that dental and medical sleep professionals will all be at the conference under one roof.
My next step is to call my friend and colleague, Dr. Steven Parks, who was on original board of the ASBA. He is another medical doctor that sees how important it is to integrate dentistry into sleep medicine and shares mine and Gergen’s way of thinking; CPAP should not be considered the gold standard. Whether it be 25% compliance or 40%, both are failing grades where have all gone to school. Many breakthroughs are coming for sleep medicine but oral appliance therapy is the future for now for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP is over-prescribed and it’s time we utilize oral appliance therapy as a treatment option. Education through the ASBA is going to be the best way we can advance our industry.
Please join us at our annual Sleep & Wellness conference April 21-22 in Phoenix, AZ. David will host a panel of like-minded professionals and Doctors who all share in the same vision for dental sleep medicine. Register at sleep-conference.com.
Dr. Rudi Ferrate is a physician in private practice in Glendale, AZ. Besides his expertise in Family Medicine he has been diagnosing and treating patients with sleep disorders, medical weight loss as well as preventative medicine with an emphasis or hormones and nutrition. Dr. Ferrate is boarded in Family Medicine, non surgical Bariatric Medicine as well as being board certified in the field of Sleep Medicine. From the very beginning of his medical career has nurtured his passion to find the best, most specific yet natural treatments in the field of Wellness, rejuvenation, sleep disorders and weight loss. He is an active member of various academies and holds medical licenses in multiple states as well as outside of the US. In the sleep medicine field his purpose is to collaborate with the best in the field to define the future of sleep disorders treatment and performance where dentists and physicians will work together using all available therapies as well as develop innovative protocols, tools and medical devices for sleep disorders.performance where dentists and physicians will work together using all available therapies as well as develop innovative protocols, tools and medical devices for sleep disorders.