A Message from the ADA president
May 16, 2014
Charles Norman, D.D.S.
I am excited to tell you about a new common vision we have created to make sure the ADA, at every level of our organization, is strong and vibrant for years to come. The ADA is widely considered to be a powerful force as the voice of dentistry, and we intend to continue to take action—together—to stay strong, and to help you succeed in your daily practice.
As our world and our profession change, we have examined what we need to do to stay relevant and grow. Dr. Maxine Feinberg, our president-elect, and I worked with the Board of Trustees to write an open letter to the leadership of state and local dental societies. We invited these leaders to join us in taking a fresh look at how we serve you, our members. I'm happy to report that hundreds of local, state and national leaders signed the letter. You can see the letter and names of people who joined us by visiting ADA.org/powerofthree.
Essentially, the open letter outlines a shared vision at the local, state and national levels to provide the best experience possible for every member and to ensure that you are the central focus of our work. We want to further increase collaboration and partnerships among state and local societies and the national ADA, and work across all three levels to offer the right mix of benefits and services to you.
We have been working with state and local societies to identify the best ways to join together seamlessly to deliver superior member value. Each level will focus on what it does best—if the state or local societies deliver a product or service better than the national association, the national association will step back and support them. And we hope they will let us share their efforts as an example to other societies.
I'm excited that so many of your leaders are enthusiastic about this shared vision. But of course there is hard work ahead, so the question is "What's next?" Together we are actively looking for opportunities to collaborate, and we have already begun initiatives in three key areas:
- Operations. We are transitioning to a single technology platform that will help us stay in touch with each member more effectively. The rollout will be complete by 2016, and we've already received good feedback from the states who have adopted it. In addition, we are identifying specific ways to help small local societies who may not have staff—potentially serving as their "back office" to help them present a seamless experience for their members. Strong operations are essential to guarantee that we communicate effectively and provide you with the best, most responsive service so that you get the most value form your membership.
- Dental students and new dentists. We are focusing our collaborative attention on building a stronger bridge from dental student to new dentist in the face of the changing landscape for the dental profession. Student and more recently graduated dentists are the future of our profession and our association. We are looking at ways to communicate with them more effectively to help them understand the benefits of their membership. Our new technology will help us stay in touch with them as they move to become established in their careers, and we have a number of other programs in the works to enhance our relationship with them and help them succeed in our profession.
- Action for Dental Health. We launched Action for Dental Health a year ago, and today—May 19—we issue our first Report to Congress. Action for Dental Health is a suite of solutions proposed by the ADA to address the dental health crisis in our country, and every state has at least one program in play. These programs fall under three categories: Provide care now to people who are suffering from untreated disease; strengthen and expand the public/private safety net; and get education into the communities about dental health and disease prevention. This initiative is a living example of how all local and state societies, and the ADA, along with individual dentists in their communities, can work together on programs like community water fluoridation, emergency room referral efforts, Give Kids A Smile, volunteerism and other ways.
The timing is right as we complete the new strategic plan scheduled to launch in 2015. We've named the plan "Members First 2020," and you will hear more about it in the coming months leading up to the official launch at the Annual Meeting in San Antonio. In the meantime, I hope you'll work with all your leaders—at every level—by telling us what you value most about your membership and how we can best contribute to your success today and in future years. Together we will continue to be your voice, your resource and the preeminent professional association in the world.
Charles H. Norman, D.D.S.