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Free CE, camaraderie drive high turnout for N.Y. new dentists


New dentists: Dr. Stuart Jay Heimann (right) and Dr. Albert Yoo co-host the event.
New Hyde Park, N.Y.—For many dentists, society meetings are the No. 1 source of information sharing and networking.

Recognizing the value of these events, some are taking steps to reinvigorate theirs through special offerings. In the fall of 2012, the Nassau County and Queens County dental societies of New York partnered to sponsor a Young Dentist Program exclusively for new dentists that included a free continuing education component.

"It was tremendously successful for a first-time event," Dr. Stuart Jay Heimann, chair of the NCDS New Dentist Committee, said of the more than 140 who attended. Dr. Heimann co-chaired the event with Dr. Albert Yoo of the Queens County Dental Society.

"To have such a big group turn out, and the fact that 98 percent of them were under age 40, really tells us that people are looking for this type of event where they can come together and socialize, network and learn," said Dr. Heimann. "We tend to practice disconnected from people, but events like this give everyone an opportunity to connect."


Valued CE: Periodontist Dr. Alicja McCrudden presents her workshop to 140 new dentists on Long Island in October 2012.
"The event was a great success, not just because of the incredible turnout, but because it showed what is possible when we pull resources together to organize a great meeting," added Dr. Yoo. "The attendees saw that the value of organized dentistry is more than political action and discussion—it can also be a great time."

NCDS and QCDS were able to sponsor the event at a popular Long Island restaurant at no charge to participants thanks to contributions from Colgate, Patterson, Henry Schein, Nobel Biocare, Nu Life Long Island and Bank of America, and funds from the ADA through the Membership Program for Growth.

The ADA Council on Membership started the Membership Program for Growth in 2010 to provide the tripartite with the ability to work together to build membership growth by developing and implementing customized marketing plans and campaigns. The ADA received more than 100 applications in 2012 and the council funded 86 programs. The council is in the process of gauging the results of those programs.

New dentists are an important segment of membership for dental societies, and getting them involved early on is key to their personal and professional development.

"These functions probably do two things," explains Dr. Heimann. "One is to inform members by giving them the tools to be successful in their careers. Dental societies want new dentists to become familiar with the ADA and its societies so they know that these organizations are looking out for them. A secondary goal is to help them meet other new dentists who often have similar experiences at this point in their careers." 

Having a robust CE offering was key to high attendance, Dr. Heimann added. The program included a presentation by periodontist Dr. Alicja McCrudden on Socket Preservation and Ridge Augmentation. Dr. Mark Bauman, ADA Council on Membership chair, and Dr. Maria Maranga, New York State Dental Association Council on Membership chair, shared information on peer review, professional liability and the NYSDA registry of member CE that ensures members are meeting state licensing requirements.

The event was only the beginning of a long-term effort to involve new dentists, said Dr. Heimann. 

"If only a few new dentists become active after an event like this, I think that's a success," said Dr. Heimann. "We started a dialogue here and now we have to keep it going."