Eroding membership market share is merely a symptom of the ADA’s two most urgent problems: An archaic dues-based business model and the lack of significant new dentist engagement at the highest levels of leadership.
Every critical issue ahead — from how we engage with large group practices, whether or not we support even limited dental benefits under Medicare, what technology and AI will bring to the practice of dentistry — will polarize the profession and put the ADA at risk for steeper membership and revenue declines. We must pivot away from dues dependency.
Only the ADA has the resources and commitment to deliver advocacy, accreditation, testing, science and standards. Our new business model must generate enough revenue to sustain these critical activities. Our No. 1 priority must be the ADA’s survival — without the ADA, dentistry ceases to be a profession.
We must amplify the voices of our newest professionals to elevate the ADA for the future. I dream of an ADA Board with three new dentists at the table within the next five years, without carve-outs or bylaws changes. Former New Dentist Committee chairs are well-qualified to serve as vice presidents; let’s inspire them to pursue the position — and elect them.