The Week That Was: September 10-14

Out & About, Part 1 … Members

With Labor day behind us, the fall circuit kicks off with component meetings all over the state. This is where organized dentistry is most local. Members gather in their communities for CE, networking and business meetings. These often involve officer elections, House of Delegates business and other informative updates.

Last Friday I had the privilege of attending a joint meeting with the Northeast and Northwest dental societies. Jerri Wildhaber of MDIS sponsored the luncheon and Vicki and I rode along to Chillicothe to mingle with the members. MDA President, Dr. Vince Rapini, met us there.

I was impressed with the volume of good information in all the various reports. No doubt there’s something for everyone from insurance issues to savings to legislative action and PAC news to charitable opportunities. The corners of our state may not be heavily populated but their member engagement is high. I saw trustees and board members and delegates and officers all over the place. We had a good time together and then we split into two separate business meetings.

The Northeast group both thanked Dr. Amanda Fitzpatrick for her leadership and reinstalled her for another term as president.

Meanwhile, the Northwest crew thanked outgoing president, Dr. Emily Mattingly, and installed Dr. Fallon Stiens.

I tip my hat to these volunteer leaders for donating their time and energy to keep things moving in the outstate areas. Congrats to Drs. David Lebsack, Jeff Gardner and Will Marshall for their officer service as well.

Out & About, Part 2 … For Members

You may think legislative advocacy is just a matter of our Legislative Reception and Day at the Capitol. You’d be wrong. It’s much deeper than that. It’s year-long relationship building and engagement on the issues at hand. If you wait until the fire alarm is ringing, you’ve waited too late. A huge part of getting to know legislators is attending and supporting their fundraisers. This makes us stand out and helps give us a platform when dental issues are front and center. We aren’t buying votes, but we are building bridges. This week due to veto session, a lot was going on in Jefferson City. MDA Legislative Director, Shantel Smith, attended 11 events on your behalf. She and our contract lobbyist, Jorgen Schlemeier, where in the middle of the discussions and making a mark for the MDA. Session is still several months away but advocacy never takes a break. In fact, now is the perfect time for you to reach out and visit your local legislator and express your views on key dental issues. To help identify your local person or to get equipped for a brief visit, reach out to Shantel for tools.

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The Week Ahead

Activity on every front is expected. From local networking with other like-minded organizations, to the Southeast Dental Society meeting and officer installation, to the Missouri Coalition for Oral Health meeting, to the Sixth District Caucus, to EFDA courses, to an SIU dental student outreach event hosted by the Greater St Louis Dental Society … staff and members and students are joining in the work. What about you? Where and how can you make our membership one notch better by engaging with the opportunities before you?

Quote of the Week

The road to success is always under construction.” – Lily Tomlin

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