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‘A feeling of belonging’: Networking opportunities abound at ADA FDI 2019

May 15, 2019

By Mary Beth Versaci

Group of women talking
Camaraderie: Dentists gather for a Women in Dentistry networking event during ADA 2018 –– America’s Dental Meeting. Photo by EZ Event Photography

San Francisco –– Dr. Heather Willis, a member of the ADA House of Delegates, was able to see a bit of everyone at last year’s annual meeting, including past dental school classmates, other dentists from her state and dentists she has met through her service with the ADA.

“It’s a different energy when you go there and you see your peers,” said Dr. Willis, who is the House’s 11th District caucus chair.

The ADA FDI World Dental Congress, taking place Sept. 4-8 in San Francisco, is an opportunity for dental professionals to be surrounded by their peers, who understand what they experience every day.

“The ability to interact with peers, especially with participants from all over the world, allows the attendee to have a sense of ownership in our profession,” said Dr. C. Roger Macias Jr., general chair of the ADA Advisory Committee on Annual Meetings. “It creates a feeling of belonging to something bigger than our own practices, where we go daily.”

Drs. Emily Mattingly and Raymond Jarvis
Coffee talk: Drs. Emily Mattingly (left) and Raymond Jarvis chat during an event for new dentists at ADA 2018 –– America’s Dental Meeting. Photo by EZ Event Photography

Since many dentists are solo practitioners, it is nice for them to have the chance to bounce ideas off each other at the congress and share their frustrations and celebrations, Dr. Willis said.

“It helps your own personal growth,” she said.

Some networking opportunities at ADA FDI 2019 will include the New Dentist Conference, Women in Dentistry Leadership Series and Networking Events, and campfire sessions, which are more casual and intimate group discussions throughout the Digital Future of Dentistry booth. Social events such as A Taste of San Francisco and a gala dinner at San Francisco City Hall will give those attending the opportunity to experience their host city together.

Meeting-goers can learn more about how dentistry is practiced around the world as they rub elbows with dentists from other countries.

“We sometimes live in our own little world and are quick to forget that there is a great big world out there where we can gain knowledge, information, culture, tradition and beauty,” Dr. Macias said. “This in turn allows us to create smiles that can affect the world, helping it become a better place for all.”

The congress also brings together former dental school classmates who now practice in different states, like Dr. Willis, a University of Colorado graduate who practices in Alaska.

Drs. Joo Kim and Brittany Dean
New friends: Drs. Joo Kim (left) and Brittany Dean share a laugh during a new dentist event at ADA 2018 –– America’s Dental Meeting. Photo by EZ Event Photography

Bonding opportunities extend to dental team members as well, as ADA FDI 2019 offers team-building courses for co-workers to take together on topics such as marketing, social media and dental team retention. There also will be courses as part of a Dental Assisting Track, including Master Provisional Crowns Without Breaking a Sweat and Case Presentation Skills for the Dental Assistant.

“I have personally brought my team with me to places like Orlando, Hawaii, New Orleans and San Francisco to experience the ADA meeting. These trips have created some of the best memories and appreciation for what we do in our own office,” Dr. Macias said. “Teams that experience the ADA Congress create a camaraderie among themselves, as well as new friendships with other offices. This is a huge return on the investment when the teams return excited and ready to implement new knowledge in their own offices.”

To learn more or register for ADA FDI 2019, visit ADA.org/meeting. Search “#ADAFDI” to find posts about the congress on Twitter and Facebook.