e-mail Print Share

State presidents-elect gather for annual conference

February 06, 2012

By Karen Fox, ADA News Staff

Dr. Robert Faiella: "If information can be shared in a clear way among all states, hopefully we’ll see some elevation of understanding when we get to the House of Delegates on where different states position themselves on issues."
The President-Elect's Conference brings new state leaders to ADA Headquarters at a time in their leadership development when having access to information is crucial to their success.

This year's conference, drawing 48 state presidents-elect and representatives of the National Dental Association and American Student Dental Association to ADA Headquarters Jan. 23-24, is only the beginning of an ongoing dialogue.

“We want to give the state presidents-elect resources that they can use to help them succeed in their tenure as leaders,” said ADA President-elect Robert Faiella, who hosted the conference. To do that, Dr. Faiella designated membership, strategic planning and organizational alignment as key tripartite issues on the agenda.

“We identified these as critical themes over the short term,” said Dr. Faiella. “Many constituent societies have strategic plans, but going through the additional process of developing an operational plan and evaluating where they are in following metrics might be lacking. I wanted to offer a little more strategic alignment to make sure we’re planning and meeting our priorities across the tripartite.”

A wide range of issues rounded out the meeting, including a discussion of the new CDT code maintenance process; a presentation on antitrust laws in dentistry and minimizing risk; electronic health records; legislative affairs; the State Public Affairs program; state health benefit exchanges; and grassroots efforts for community health access programs.

Women dentists: More than 20 percent of the state presidents-elect are female. From left are Dr. Deborah Weisfuse, New York State Dental Association; Dr. Johanna Hujissoon, District of Columbia Dental Society; and Dr. Miranda Childs, Arkansas State Dental Association. Drs. Weisfuse and Childs will be the first female presidents of their constituent societies.

Information sharing will continue after the conference on ADA Connect, said Dr. Faiella. The Association is using the technology tool to give officers, delegates and council members a secure platform for accessing documents and exchanging information with their colleagues. State presidents-elect will have a virtual community on ADA Connect and “for the first time, have the best opportunity to share information across the tripartite,” said Dr. Faiella.

“If information can be shared in a clear way among all states, hopefully we’ll see some elevation of understanding when we get to the House of Delegates on where different states position themselves on issues,” he said.

“I found the conference to be extremely beneficial,” said Dr. Michael Stuart, president-elect of the Texas Dental Association. “It provided the opportunity to establish relationships with my fellow presidents-elect as well as leaders from ASDA and brought up-to-date information on emerging issues.”

On membership, speakers explored the changing profiles of dentists and their practice patterns and the effects these have on membership market share. The demographics of the dental profession are changing, and so too are the faces at the annual President-Elect’s Conference. This year, more than 20 percent of the state presidents-elect are female—a record high.

Dr. Miranda Childs, who will become the Arkansas State Dental Association’s first female president next year, said it’s a positive development for the profession to have more women in leadership roles.

“The number of women graduating from dental school is on the rise, so it serves the profession well to have women dentists’ voices heard at events like this,” said Dr. Childs.

“I really enjoyed the conference,” she added. “Getting to know other presidents-elect is so helpful. We all got to see and hear about other states' issues so we can lead our own states more effectively.”

Future leaders were invited, too. Adam Shisler, president of the American Student Dental Association, was one of three ASDA leaders in attendance to provide the students’ perspective.

“One challenge that ASDA has is connecting with dentists in states where there are no dental schools,” he said. “This is an excellent opportunity to establish relationships and make some connections.”

ASDA has 18,000 members and “all are ADA members,” added Mr. Shisler. “We are dedicated to continuing our members’ involvement in organized dentistry.”

Fortress Insurance Co. sponsored the 2012 President-Elect’s Conference.