Bob and Debbie Oro with Dr. Richard Carmona, center. Carmona wanted to educate the community about healthier lifestyles and the Oros stepped up to the task.


I knew it was something special when we went to Splendido at Rancho Vistoso.

On June 23, Debbie and I presented our case that our community is the "Healthiest Town in America" to the Academy of General Dentistry at its annual meeting in Philadelphia. The Healthiest Town in America presentation was part of our seminar, "Dentistry: The greatest success story never told, how quality of life drives cost on innovation in oral health care and why Congress is so interested."

As we stepped up to the microphone to speak, we realized for the first time that we were not only speaking for ourselves, but for all of those folks in our community who have contributed to the Healthiest Town in America initiative over the last six years.

When asked by the area chamber of commerce to champion the initiative to bring former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona's vision of healthier lifestyles to our community back in July 2006, we could never have dreamed of where the journey would take us.

Last May, we presented the first of a series of seminars on what we have learned from HTA during the first five years after founding the initiative. This occurred when the Oro Valley Hospital invited us to speak on the initiative to bring awareness to the epidemic that is obesity, diabetes and related cardiovascular disease.

In October, a true turning point came when we were invited by the wonderful folks at Splendido to come and speak on HTA. Splendido is considered the gold standard for luxury and aging well in retirement living. The opportunity to present and interact with these folks was humbling. Our feeling was if we could impress them, we were on to something special.

By February, the word had spread and we were invited to share the now evolving information with Dr. Evan Kligman's office and his patients. His practice and expertise is centered on aging well for the longer life we all expect to enjoy. Once again folks from our community listened and gave us additional valuable input at our seminar.

The innovative and educationally oriented folks at Dental Prosthetics, the largest dental laboratory in Tucson, proved to us that not only was this good for the community but it was a good thing for our profession as well.

The vetting process at the Academy of General Dentistry to "try out" as a speaker is fierce. Five slots of 90-minute "capsule clinics" are granted each year. Just getting an opportunity to present your ideas, techniques or visions is an honor.

We not only got to share the knowledge and wisdom of all those folks in our community, but also the knowledge and support of the Southern Arizona Dental Society and the Arizona Dental Association.

Although HTA was just a part of our overall presentation, it was by far the most memorable. The photos of HTA events in our community moved the audience. And when Debbie showed my "before" and "after" photos of my 44-pound weight loss during my "Flat at 60" campaign this year, my colleagues rose to applaud.

Well, the evaluation of our presentation is in. Not only did we receive top marks, but the evaluators invited us back to another Academy of General Dentistry annual meeting.

Thank you for believing in us and our vision for healthier lifestyles. Thank you for sharing your time, effort and wisdom with Debbie and me. To get this kind of recognition for our community is truly humbling. We could never have done it without all of you.

The best is yet to come!

Enjoy the journey,

Bob and Debbie

P.S.: We are scheduled to do an updated presentation of this seminar at Sun City on Nov. 7. Details to come.

On StarNet: Read Bob Oro's recent columns at

E-mail Bob Oro at