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ADA president: ‘Dentists helping dentists — this is what the ADA is all about’

September 10, 2019

By Jennifer Garvin

San Francisco — Standing before the House of Delegates, new ADA President Chad P. Gehani said he considers it his “responsibility to ensure that the ADA remains the guardian of your life commitment to the profession — and I am not just talking about your dues dollars. The ADA must be a responsible custodian of your time as volunteers and of your talents as clinicians, researchers, and educators.

“The ADA must be relevant to all of us,” he said.

During his installation speech, Dr. Gehani told the audience he takes “nothing for granted” in his life and promised to represent the “highest ideals” of the dental profession.

Chad P. Gehani
Installation speech: ADA President Chad P. Gehani addresses the House of Delegates in San Francisco. Photo by EZ Event Photography

A native of Mumbai, India, Dr. Gehani looked back on his 40 years in organized dentistry, including a call he made to his father the day he became an ADA member — that he called a “key moment” in his life. He recalled starting a practice with his wife and fellow dentist, Rekha.

“We wished to achieve our American dream through ownership of our private practice,” he said. “Thanks to our mentor — an ADA member who offered a room in his office for rent — we forged our way to financial and professional independence. We have never forgotten this ADA member’s help, and throughout our careers, we have paid it forward by mentoring countless young dentists as they get established on their way to fulfilling their dreams.

“Dentists helping dentists — this is what our ADA is all about.”

In addition to the Association’s responsibility to maintaining the integrity of the profession, Dr. Gehani said the ADA will also continue to be the leading authority on oral health for dentists and their patients, the media and policymakers. He noted the critical need for this as “seismic shifts” — including do-it-yourself dentistry — encourage “the false sense that dentistry is so simple that no professional intervention” is needed. “When profits motivate corporations to interfere with the doctor-patient relationship, we must intervene,” he said.

The new president also shared that the ADA will continue doing what it does best: driving dentistry forward.

“Every challenge we face — today or in the future, anticipated or not — requires us to develop new strategies to protect all dentists and to ensure that the patients receive the care they deserve.”

As the profession changes, he listed three constants that the ADA will continue to prioritize to sustain it:

• A commitment to evidence-based practice.
• A patient-first philosophy.
• The dentist at the center of care.

“Let me emphasize this: The dentist-patient relationship is the tentpole of our profession, and it must be respected. No matter what the trends may be, only a dentist — not an insurance company. A dentist — not a bureaucrat. A dentist and certainly not a for-profit business corporation. Only a dentist, and I repeat, only a licensed dentist must be in charge of diagnosis and treatment of a patient and the entire dental team.”

“The ADA should be at the fingertips of every dentist,” he said. “The ADA exists so that no dentist has to face changing times alone in their offices. This is what our ADA is all about. Helping dentists succeed.”

Dr. Gehani concluded his speech by thanking his wife and business partner, Dr. Rekha Gehani, an orthodontist and chair of the ADA Council on Dental Education and Licensure, and family.

“She is the mother of our three beautiful children — all of whom are doctors—and she is my only love,” he said.