Thomas Bramwell

Thomas Bramwell Welch

Thomas Bramwell Welch (December 31, 1825 – December 29, 1903) was a British–American Methodist minister and dentist. He pioneered the use of pasteurization as a means of preventing the fermentation of grape juice. He persuaded local churches to adopt this non-alcoholic wine substitute for use in Holy Communion, calling it “Dr. Welch’s Unfermented Wine.”

Welch was born in Glastonbury, England on December 31, 1825. He moved to the United States when his father emigrated in 1834. He attended public schools in Watertown, New York.

At age 17, Thomas Welch joined the Wesleyan Methodist Connexion, founded the same year (1843). From its beginning, the Wesleyan Methodist Connexion strongly opposed (1) the “manufacturing, buying, selling, or using intoxicating liquors”, and (2) “slaveholding, buying, or selling” of slaves.[3]

With the first edition of their Discipline, the Wesleyan Methodists expressly required for the Lord’s Supper (Communion) that “unfermented wine only should be used at the sacrament. This requirement was about 25 years before Welch used pasteurization. So it is clearly evident that pasteurization was not the only method used to prepare it unfermented. There were traditional methods to prepare unfermented wine (juice) for use at any time during the year, e.g., to reconstitute concentrated grape juice, or to boil raisins, or to add preservatives that prevent juice from fermenting and souring.

Throughout his late teens, Welch was active in the Underground Railroad that transported escaped slaves from the south into Canada. He was one of many Wesleyan Methodists connected to the “Underground Railroad.”

By age 19, he graduated from Gouverneur Wesleyan Seminary and became an ordained Wesleyan Methodist minister. He ministered first in Poundridge, in Westchester County, New York, then in Herkimer County, New York.

While in Herkimer County, he married Miss Lucy Hult. They would have seven children. The children included: Charles E. Welch, who became a dentist, and Emma C. Welch Slade (1854-1928) who also became a dentist.

He continued in the work of ministry until his voice failed him, and he was obliged to direct his attention to other pursuits. He then attended New York Central Medical College (Syracuse campus), becoming a physician in Penn Yan, New York. Welch then relocated to Winona, Minnesota in 1856. He changed his profession to dentistry.

He continued to practice dentistry in Vineland until 1880 and “enjoyed a very successful and lucrative practice through the entire time.” Thomas Welch was a Methodist and staunch Prohibitionist, who actively worked to reduce or end the sale of alcoholic beverages in New Jersey and adjacent regions. Currently, Welch’s Grape Juice is sold in grocery stores.

Dental Board Adopts Pandemic Emergency Rule Amendment

By Jeanine Lehman, Attorney at Law

The Texas State Board of Dental Examiners held an emergency board meeting on the evening of August 24, 2020 to discuss and take action on an amendment to emergency board rule 108.7(16) concerning the standards for safe practice during the COVID-19 disaster.  In response to Texas Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA 19, that rule was adopted earlier in the pandemic to allow dental practices to re-open.  The board meeting was held via Zoom, broadcast on a YouTube channel – demonstrating the hard work and resiliency of the dental board and dental community during this pandemic.

The dental board unanimously adopted three changes to the emergency board rule.

  • Dental Health Care Personnel (DHCP) may resume the use of ultrasonic devices for hygiene services. The language in the rule requiring DHCP to use only hand instruments and low speed polishing tools for hygiene services was deleted.
  • DHCP are no longer required to complete the full treatment of one patient before leaving the treatment area and going on to another patient.
  • DHCP are required to remove PPE before returning home, but are no longer required to change from scrubs to personal clothing.

The amendment to emergency board rule 108.7(16) became effective on August 25, 2020 after being reviewed by the Texas Governor’s office.  The rule is available on the dental board’s website at tsbde.texas.gov/78i8ljhbj/Emergency-Rule-108.7-Updated-1.pdf and in the September 4, 2020 issue of the Texas Register.  The rule will be in effect for 120 days unless changed by the dental board or unless the COVID-19 emergency disaster declaration of Governor Abbott is terminated.

During the meeting, board members made several observations including that the dental profession is doing a good job, that there have been no dental cluster outbreaks of COVID-19, that dentists must be mindful of what infection control is in place for practices, and that dentists need to look at board rules and set standards for every office.

In addition to the specific dental board guidelines for safe practice during the COVID-19 disaster in the emergency rule, the emergency rule incorporates by reference the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Guidelines.  This is a changing area, so dentists will want to review the emergency rule as amended and the CDC guidelines and to look frequently for new developments in board rules and CDC guidelines.

During the August 24, 2020 meeting, the board also unanimously approved the appointment of attorney Casey Nichols as the new dental board Executive Director effective September 1, 2020.  Ms. Nichols was formerly the General Counsel of the dental board.

Jeanine Lehman is an Austin, Texas dental, health and business law attorney with a statewide practice – www.jeanine.com. She can be reached at (512) 918-3435 or Jeanine@Jeanine.com. © Jeanine Lehman 2020. This article is not legal advice.

Advocacy: An Essential Member Benefit

10-20Presidents Message2

Advocacy: An Essential Member Benefit

As a valued member of the Capital Area Dental Society, what would you consider to be a member benefit? We all have varying perspectives on how we feel that member benefits should and could help us as dentists. Our tripartite membership in the ADA, TDA and CADS provides countless benefits to support us as members by providing access to savings, services and resources for our business and life and to support driving our career forward.

There is one benefit that I did not mention that in my mind is the most essential benefit for all members and our profession and that is …. ADVOCACY!

We can all attest to the fact that organized dentistry has been an amazing advocate for dentists and the profession of dentistry during these unprecedented times. Membership is essential for strong advocacy whether it is at the local, state, or national level.

At the national level, the ADA lobbies Congress, and the Administration to fight for issues that matter to dentists and patients. The ADA also provides technical support to help state dental societies advance their respective policy agendas. One of the success stories of the ADA’s advocacy efforts was when the Action for Dental Health Act was signed into law in 2018. The Action for Dental Health Act will allow organizations to qualify for oral health grants to support activities that improve oral health education, improve dental disease prevention, and expand outreach programs.

Another huge accomplishment in the advocacy arena for organized dentistry is the ADA calling on Congress to apply federal antitrust laws to the business of insurance by repealing parts of the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945. Currently, federal law does not prohibit state-regulated health insurers from engaging in collusive practices, such as price fixing, bid rigging and market allocation schemes. This anti-competitive behavior hurts consumers by making health insurance less affordable. The ADA has been advocating for the repeal of the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act antitrust exemption for the health insurance industry for more than 20 years! There are over 90 bills related to third party payor issues in legislatures nationwide.

Most recently, the ADA has fought effectively to get HHS to extend the deadline for all dentists to apply for funding through the Enhanced Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal. The portal allows dental providers to apply for payments made for health care-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to the pandemic.

At the state level, The Texas Dental Association is our advocate for all legislative and regulatory arenas on behalf of the public and profession of dentistry. We have a stellar group of dentists in Texas that serve on the Council on Legislative and Regulatory Affairs (CLARA). They work to implement the TDA’s legislative agenda and to maintain positive working relationships with legislators, state officials, and allied professional groups. CLARA also informs members about governmental actions, mobilizes the TDA’s grassroots organization, and works with regulatory agencies to help ensure a competitive marketplace for dentists and quality dental care for all Texans.

The TDA also has an online publication, The Root, which houses current happenings at the state capitol, timely legislative updates, dental board news, regulatory reminders, and other important legislative information. When the Texas Legislature convenes in Austin for a regular session every 2 years, TDA hosts Legislative Day. Dentists from across Texas are invited to come together at the State Capitol to attend appointments scheduled with Congress and House representatives from their districts and speak about issues important to dentistry.

The TDA worked around the clock for its members during the pandemic closely collaborating with Governor Abbott’s office and his Strike Force to help get dentists and patients back into the dental office. They provided timely updates to members via email and social media and secured 300,000 N95 respirators for Texas dentists! Most recently, TDA successfully advocated to favorably amend the TSBDE COVID-19 Emergency Rule. It helped ensure that dentists can continue effectively treating patients during the pandemic.

Now more than ever it is important to contribute to DENPAC and ADPAC. DENPAC is the political action committee of the TDA and ADPAC is the political action committee of the ADA. Both give dentists a voice in the public policy arena on behalf of our practices, patients, and profession, and is our most powerful resource to make a difference!

Shailee J. Gupta, DDS, MPH

CADS President 2020-2021