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23rd New Dentist Conference

368 flock to Miami for leadership programming, CE, networking

Miami—What makes the ADA New Dentist Conference unique—the blend of continuing education, networking and leadership development—was readily apparent during the event's opening hours April 30 when the question of how to get more new dentists involved in organized dentistry was raised. Representatives of component and constituent society new dentist committees immediately responded with examples of successful programs.

Among them were the Pennsylvania Dental Association's initiative that retains as members dentists graduating from the state's three dental schools; the Missouri Dental Association's addition of a new dentist committee member as a voting member of its board of trustees; the San Fernando Valley Dental Society of California's use of Facebook to communicate with new dentists; podcasts from the San Antonio District Dental Society of Texas covering issues like disability insurance and becoming a Medicaid provider; and the Michigan Dental Association's use of its own YouTube channel to deliver news.

Dr. Brandon Maddox, chair of the ADA Committee on the New Dentist, said the discussion reflected "a bright future for the ADA."

"The ideas shared between new dentist leaders from across the country were excellent, and the interaction between our current leadership at the ADA and the attendees was phenomenal," said Dr. Maddox.

The ADA 23rd New Dentist Conference, which drew 368 attendees to Miami April 30-May 2, is an annual event with continuing education on clinical, professional and practice management topics, leadership programming and networking for dentists in practice for fewer than 10 years. Staff from component and constituent societies with new dentist committees also participate and contribute to discussion.

Kicking off the conference were leadership programs that included New Dentist Leaders: How To Get Involved and Stay Involved; Personality Plus: Understanding Your Individual Leadership Style; the New Dentist Committee Network Idea Exchange; and Hot Topics: Ask Your ADA Leaders. Participants numbered 100 and included new dentist leaders and dental society staff from across the country, the ADA Committee on the New Dentist and members of the ADA Board of Trustees.

"The enthusiasm for this program demonstrates the passion that these folks have for the future of our profession," said Dr. Maddox.

Keynote speakers Dr. Roger Triftshauser, American Dental Political Action Committee chair, and Bill Prentice, ADA senior vice president, Government and Public Affairs, addressed oral health advocacy and answered questions on issues such as universal health care, the Federal Trade Commission's Red Flags Rule and midlevel provider proposals in dentistry.

"A significant part of our advocacy efforts emphasize how well you're educated and trained to do your job," Mr. Prentice told the crowd May 1. Encouraging the young leaders to become involved in the grassroots advocacy program that recently resulted in a 90-day delay of the Red Flags Rule for dentists, he added: "We need you to be involved, but it's not so much that we need you to be involved—you need you to be involved."

Hosting a May 1 luncheon, ADA President-Elect Ronald L. Tankersley prompted attendees to continue to seek leadership opportunities and stay abreast of issues within the tripartite and the profession. "If we speak with one voice, dentistry will continue to be America's leading advocate for oral health," Dr. Tankersley said.

The conference is unique in that it offers attendees the opportunity for great continuing education in a more intimate setting. Speakers this year included Dr. Dale Miles on Cone Beam Technology; Amy Morgan on Practice Success; Dr. Mark Lingen on Soft Tissue Lesions; Dr. William Van Dyk on Everything You Didn't Learn in Dental School; Dr. Louis Berman on Dental Traumatology; and Dr. Uche Odiatu on Peak Performance. Sessions were also available on Treatment Planning and Case Sequencing, and Natural Restorations by the ADA-Pankey Education Connection speakers Drs. Irwin Becker and Michael Scherb, and two on-site, hands-on sessions at the Florida-based Pankey Institute.

For Dr. Dan Garcia of Cedarburg, Wis., this year marked his 11th New Dentist Conference. Technically no longer a new dentist at 46, he enjoys practice management courses that "help me obtain fresh ideas about how to be a better leader in my own practice.

"I came to my first New Dentist Conference four years after dental school hoping to jump start my practice," said Dr. Garcia. "I heard a speaker talk about providing excellent service and it made such an impact on me. Years later, I love coming to this meeting and sharing my ideas with other dentists, especially the lessons I've learned about practice startups."

The ADA 23rd New Dentist Conference was sponsored by ADA Insurance Plans, ADPAC, ADA Business Resources, Dentra, Florida Dental Association, West Coast District Dental Association, and the ADA's strategic partner, the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.

Next year's New Dentist Conference takes place June 24-26, 2010, at the Catamaran Resort in San Diego.