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New AADA president to take office in November

October 19, 2015

By Michelle Manchir

Mrs. Gardner
For more than 30 years, Susan Gardner has been a stalwart — and some would say innovative — member of the Alliance of the American Dental Association.

In addition to serving on the Alliance’s Leadership Council and serving as co-chair of its Dental Health Education committee, Mrs. Gardner co-founded the Alliance for the local Northeastern Ohio Dental Society in 1987 with her friend, Bernadette Cavolo.

“Meeting other dental spouses and working on dental health programs and legislative issues was our focus,” Mrs. Gardner said.

On Nov. 7, Mrs. Gardner, whose husband of 38 years, Kim, is the past president of the Ohio Dental Association, will be installed president of the Alliance at AADA’s 60th convention in Washington, D.C.

“Dentistry has provided so many blessings for our family and I am thankful for an opportunity to give back,” she said.

Mrs. Gardner, of Chardon, Ohio, who has been a member of the Alliance’s Leadership Council for two years, has an education background. Her skills in the classroom translate to her duties with the Alliance.

She and fellow Alliance member Molly Bickford, co-chairs of the Alliance’s Dental Health Education committee, created the maternal health and infant teaching kit, dubbed Healthy Smiles from the Start. This kit includes a five-minute DVD featuring an ADA dentist and an expectant mother discussing the importance of good oral health during pregnancy and caring for children’s teeth. It also contains brochures with other oral health-related information relevant to new parents. All the materials are available in English and Spanish and were created in sponsorship with the ADA, Henry Schein Cares, Colgate and the alliances of the Georgia and Ohio dental associations.

Mrs. Gardner, a former teacher in the Cleveland public school system, has been involved in numerous other projects during her time with the Alliance, including providing helmets with faceguards and mouthguards for Little League teams and visiting schools to teach information about how the use of drugs can impact dental and physical health. She has also been involved with Mission of Mercy events and volunteered and organized Give Kids A Smile events, serving as a puppeteer.

Mrs. Gardner said she hopes during her tenure as president that Healthy Smiles from the Start can expand and the educational kits can find their way into more new parents’ homes. She also said she is working with the Alliance on building an app for its members.

“Alliance members focus on dental health education, legislative issues and the well-being of the dental family. There is a niche for everyone. I just happen to like it all,” Mrs. Gardner said.