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Throughout the year, dentists who are not members of the ADA may see increased invitations to join. In fact, this ADA News is an expanded circulation issue that will reach nonmembers across the country.

There are compelling reasons for the ADA to cast a wide net and communicate the value of membership to all active licensed dentists—a group that continues to grow nationally.

For one thing, membership is lagging among key segments of dentists. Making headway with groups such as new dentists, women dentists, racially and ethnically diverse dentists and dentists in large group practices could potentially translate into a more diverse membership that is reflective of the profession and the country as a whole.

"In order to bring about changes, we need to do more to show how valuable we are to members throughout their careers," said Dr. Mark Bauman, chair of the ADA Council on Membership. "We recognize that our membership numbers are not where they should be, and we are determined to do something about it."

Some facts the council points to for consideration:

• While the number of active, licensed ADA members has remained relatively flat for the past five years, the ADA's market share of new dentists is falling, as is the market share for new dentists who are women, while the market share of new dentists who are ethnically and racially diverse is actually on the rise. "What this suggests is that diversity in membership will not grow through recruitment of new dentists alone," said Dr. Bauman. 

• The overall number of ADA members has increased since 2008 while the market share of women dentists has fallen in the same time period. Translation: Having more women dentists in the profession does not mean more women dentists are joining the ADA.

• Dentists in large group practices comprise a fast-growing segment of the profession. By 2015, the market share of the largest group practices is estimated to become about 11 percent of all private practitioners—up from 2.9 percent in 2009.

One way the ADA can be effective among these segments is to show how membership supports dentists at every stage of their careers.

Dr. Chris Salierno, the chair of the ADA New Dentist Committee, is a member who's speaking out about what his membership has meant to him. From student to employee to practice owner, he's never had to go it alone.

"Thanks to my ADA membership, I've never had to," said Dr. Salierno. "I depend on the ADA to help in meeting the challenges facing me this year. Every day, I count on the practical resources offered by the ADA, my state dental association and my local society to help me run my practice and enhance the care that I provide."

He and other ADA leaders are taking the time to reach out to nonmember dentists to encourage them to join the ADA. Thousands of dentists become ADA members every year. At the beginning of 2013, the ADA launched a new Member-Get-A-Member Campaign to provide tools to help members to encourage their nonmember colleagues to join (ADA.org/MGAM).

In a mailing to nonmembers, ADA President Robert Faiella explained how a growing ADA means greater recognition for the profession, more resources and support for members, and a louder voice in Washington and in state capitols across the country.

"The ADA represents more than 157,000 of your colleagues in dental practice, research, education and other careers to find solutions to today's toughest challenges, and will help you understand how a strong profession benefits each of us," said Dr. Faiella.

"The ADA and our members are leading the effort to educate the public and expand access to oral health care through public awareness campaigns, advocacy initiatives and educational resources like the MouthHealthy.org website for consumers," said Dr. Faiella.

Dentists who join the Association gain access to exclusive, members-only resources such as the ADA Insurance Plans, the ADA Members Retirement Program and ADA publications, as well as member discounts on ADA professional products and services.

"Providing the highest value to our members is the ADA's top priority," said Dr. Faiella. "In 2013 and beyond, we'll continue to deliver quality in everything we do—the kind of member value that no dentist should be without."

To apply for membership, complete an application at ADA.org/join; contact your state dental association; or call 1-312-440-2500.