Past New Dentist Committee chair reflects on first year as full member of ADA Board of Trustees

Photo of Seth A. Walbridge, D.M.D.
Dr. Walbridge

As the first New Dentist Committee chair with full membership and voting privileges on the ADA Board of Trustees, Seth A. Walbridge, D.M.D., said his year of service, which ended this fall, was very busy.

"It's quite an honor to be the first NDC chair in this position, and the increase in responsibility has been intense," said Dr. Walbridge. "To have both roles at the same time can be daunting to put it mildly. But the New Dentist Committee now has a more streamlined process for delegating tasks to make life easier for the next incoming chair of the NDC."

Dr. Walbridge said new Chair James E. Lee, D.M.D., "helped me tremendously. I cannot say enough about him as a person and all he has done in helping me with this role.” Dr. Lee previously served as the committee's vice chair.

As a part-time associate dentist in a private practice in Easton, Pennsylvania, and a professor and administrator for a dental hygiene program in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Dr. Walbridge's career obligations plus his volunteer roles in organized dentistry have kept him on his toes. He and his wife, Kelly, an anesthesiologist/critical care physician, have a son, Eli, who turned 2 in October, and rescue dog Lulu is also part of the family.

New Dentist Committee chairs have participated as guests at ADA Board meetings since 2015. Following the passage of Resolution 53H-2021, the NDC chair now has full voting privileges at Board meetings and access to all Board materials and sessions, including executive and closed sessions, and participates in orientation and the Board retreat.

"The transition to full voting member of the Board has been surprisingly smooth, and it's a testament to the Board of Trustees accepting me with open arms into the role," he said. "I have been lucky to have this group as mentors and friends, and I think my presence on the Board has increased awareness of employee dentist and student dentist needs. Members of the Board have told me personally how refreshing the new dentist perspective has been this year, and it has been great to provide feedback regarding the needs of the new dentist. It's crucial that this segment of our membership is represented at all levels, especially at such a high level in the organization."