Jamaica Dental Association (JDA)

Founded in 1928, the Jamaica Dental Association (JDA) is a non-profit professional association. The Jamaica Dental Association (JDA) is the national voice for dentistry, dedicated to the advancement and leadership of a unified profession and to the promotion of optimal oral health, an essential component of general health.

The first convention of the Jamaica Dental Association was held in 1964 at the Kingston Sheraton Hotel, hosted by a small group of enterprising dentists with a passion for excellence paralleling the dental care of First World countries. Spurred on by the reception attendant on their endeavors, the JDA after a few years took the convention to the North Coast of Jamaica, which locus would attract a greater international clientele.

Over the years the Governor General as Head of State, and other leaders of Government have shown their recognition and appreciation of the JDA’s endeavors through their annual messages of goodwill. Now after forty five years, the JDA, by means of its Annual Convention still continues to obtain international recognition for Dentistry in our island, pursuing the initial policy of exposing the island’s dentists to the latest techniques, materials and practices with the expectation of approaching the goal of Excellence.

In 1926 the Government of Jamaica was contemplating the enactment of legislation to register as Dentists, the dental mechanics who had been practicing dentistry illegally. Some of the senior members of the Dental Profession believed this to not be in the best interest of the public and felt that they should organize themselves in order to have their views put to the government. The late Dr. G.R. Machado as mentor of the project personally called on most of the dentists and had meetings at his home and that of the late Dr. S.A. Maitland. The Jamaica Dental Association was formed with Dr. Machado as its President and set itself the task of resisting the proposed legislation, but was unsuccessful, as what came to be known as the “Dental Law 1927″ was eventually passed.

Undaunted by this defeat, the Association concentrated on the other benefits of coming together as an organization; the members began for the first time to know and appreciate each other and this led to the realization that in unity there was strength. During the early 1940′s control of the Association fell into somewhat of a “dictatorship” and as a result its meetings and activities were boycotted by the membership, and for all practical purposes the Association ceased to exist.

In 1945, Dr. W. Lyon and Dr. B. Machado attempted to form a new Association to fill the gap. This challenge to the status quo seemed to awaken renewed interest and Drs. Lyon and Machado eventually withdrew their efforts and a revitalized Jamaica Dental Association rose out of the ashes of discontent. Thus a new phase in the history of the Association was started, and saw the emergence of Dr. S.O.G. Johnson as a new force and he participated actively -both directly and indirectly- in the running of the Association for well over a decade.

The Association has continuously fulfilled the promise of its founders, nearly all of whom have unfortunately departed this earthly plane, but whom, wherever they now are, would surely be satisfied with the results that their foresight have reaped.

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