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Big changes for Alliance of the ADA

Group gets new president, website and governance model

September 27, 2016

By Michelle Manchir

Teresa Theurer
Launching a new interactive website and undergoing an organizational overhaul are among the ways the Alliance of the American Dental Association is remodeling itself as the new year approaches.

It is also installing its 2016-17 leadership on Oct. 22 as its annual convention wraps up.

Teresa Theurer, an Alliance member for more than 30 years, will follow Susan Gardner as the Alliance's president.

"It is my hope that the Alliance of the ADA can provide opportunity for members to help each other as we implement a forum on our new and improved website," said Ms. Theurer, who has previously served as the Alliance's reference committee chair and is the Alliance liaison to the ADA Council on Government Affairs. "I also hope that we can do more to mentor new members, especially those whose spouses have recently graduated from dental school."

The mission of the Alliance is to be a support community for its members and for the ADA through public education and outreach. It is made up primarily of spouses of active, life, retired or deceased ADA members. It also spearheads community service and educational projects, such as the Healthy Smiles from the Start initiative, a multifaceted prenatal and postnatal dental health care education program packed with important oral health care information targeting new moms and infant caregivers. Healthy Smiles from the Start kits, which are available in English and Spanish, have been distributed in 31 states and internationally.

Ms. Theurer, of Logan, Utah, takes over at a time when many new developments surround the Alliance.

In addition to building a more interactive website with a member chat forum, the Alliance recently switched its governance model from a 25-member board of trustees to a nine-member leadership council. It is also relocating its central office from Chicago to a virtual office model, and creating a new relational database with increased member and leader access, said Susan Gardner, outgoing president.

"AADA leaders are working to use our limited resources wisely and put them to use mainly in support of our programs and members," Ms. Gardner said. "Education, advocacy and wellbeing are where we do our best, and how we best support and further the initiatives and priorities of the ADA. For ADA-member dentists, we are an integral part of your professional life, and we are excited, determined and moving forward at your side."

The Alliance's annual convention is Oct. 20-22 in Denver.

For more information about the Alliance, their projects, or to become a member, visit