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'We see possibilities and go for them'

Carol Reitz to be installed AADA president Oct. 4

Carol Reitz may be too busy to notice she has just become an empty nester.

She will be heading up the efforts of the Alliance of the American Dental Association in legislative advocacy, dental health education for children and seniors, well-being of the dental family, leadership and membership when she's installed as the new Alliance president Oct. 4 during AADA's 2009 Convention. The meeting will be held in conjunction with the ADA's 150th annual session in Honolulu.

With a mission as "the dental spouse organization dedicated to the dental family," the Alliance has changed its focus during the 29 years Mrs. Reitz has been a member.

"When I joined, the auxiliary, as it was called then, was composed of just women. Our meetings were more formal and we concentrated on dental health education and raising monies for scholarships," she said. "We planned more social events. The Alliance today is more involved in everything. We send legislative alerts, talk to legislators and create programs that help all ages for dentistry, from cradle to grave. We don't sit still, we see possibilities and go for them."

She and her husband, Dr. John Reitz, a Reading general dentist, have three children; Christopher, 26, a graduate student at Princeton University; Eric, 23, a singer and songwriter in the Outer Banks of North Carolina; and Lauren, 18, a freshman at Bucknell University. In her spare time, Mrs. Reitz competes on a U.S. Tennis Association adult tennis team that went to the Nationals in 1999 and is captain of a senior tennis team.

Mrs. Reitz brings nearly three decades of experience at the national, state and local levels to her presidency. She has held virtually every office for the Alliance of the Pennsylvania Dental Association and the Alliance of the Berks County Dental Society, from dental health chair to president. She has also served the national Alliance as a member of its Council on Government Affairs, liaison to the ADA Council on Government Affairs and president-elect.

A health and physical education teacher, Mrs. Reitz said dental health education activities were "an easy fit. As a young mother, doing DHE projects in the school and scouts allowed me to give back to the community and do projects at their schools. As my kids grew, I saw a need to be more actively involved in the legislative arena. After working on the ADA's Council on Government Affairs for four years, I believe that is where the Alliance can make the greatest impact for the practice of dentistry and our dental families."

Mrs. Reitz calls the Alliance "an untapped resource of highly motivated and talented ADA spouses committed to supporting the ADA and our dental spouses. I am here today because I said 'I do' to an ADA dentist and this is where I choose to spend my time as a volunteer."

She hopes that her fellow Alliance members will continue to offer their time and talents as dentists' representatives in their own communities, from schools, scouting groups, churches and retirement homes to local, state and national legislators; plus continue to be involved in programs that address baby bottle tooth decay, mouthguards, smokeless tobacco, oral consequence of methamphetamine abuse, or meth mouth, Give Kids A Smile programs and programs for older adults.

Another priority for her presidential term will be increasing Alliance membership through the organization's strategic planning efforts, for which she is chair. "We need the ADA and the ADA spouses to see and feel the value of belonging to the Alliance and supporting their spouse and their dental family. We will be changing and redefining the direction of the Alliance to meet the needs of our membership. Times have changed, we all have busy schedules and many spouses have their own careers. As president, I hope to motivate and encourage our membership to be involved, engaged and excited about making a difference in how dentistry is practiced, how it impacts the oral health of our communities and how dentistry takes care of the practitioners and the dental family."

For more details on AADA activities, visit the Web site, www.allianceada.org.