The Week That Was: January 21-25

A Big Week in 3 Steps

Some weeks on the calendar are circled way in advance. This was one of them with so much preparation going into the first MDA Board of Trustees meeting of 2019 and our legislative reception and legislative day. Plus there’s always weather concerns this time of year, and it struck again Wednesday with some difficult ice that immobilized our busload from Kansas City and some of our Springfield members. They were missed. Fortunately enough people made it in Tuesday that all went well. Let’s get to the 3-step recap.

Board Meeting and Orientation

We welcomed new BOT members, Dr. Amanda Fitzpatrick from Northeast, Dr. Erick Jansson from Central and Dr. Brett Durbin from Springfield, as well as newly returning board member, Dr. Michael Patterson, who recently returned from naval duty in South Africa. Governance Manager, Margie Kunze and MDA Executive Director, Vicki Wilbers, provided early-morning board orientation to help these leaders understand their duties, schedule and resources.

The full board convened at 10am and we had a variety of visitors. One of the board’s functions is to explore opportunities and better understand issues so they can govern wisely on your behalf. We welcomed Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director, and Dr. John Dane, State Dental Director, to speak on oral health developments statewide including Medicaid, opioids and the status of a drug prescription monitoring program. Over lunch we heard from Delta Dental of Missouri’s President and CEO, Mr. Rob Goren and Chief Dental Officer, Dr. Ron Inge. They shared some interesting trends in the insurance field. Finally, we had guests from the Missouri Optometric Association speak to us. And let’s not forget a full agenda of other important topics. I encourage you to check out the minutes when they are posted on the MDA web page and keep an eye out for a meeting summary email from your trustee. You can learn a lot about the work of the MDA.

Legislative Reception

A new format and a new location turned an always solid event into a big hit for all this year. We had the lovely Millbottom as our locale which gave us plenty of space to spread out and mingle with our legislators who came out in strong numbers to this convenient location.  The BOT and several member dentists, along with some dental students, filled the room with diverse conversation about dentistry in a relaxed setting. We were also able to staff the bar and have snacks without jeopardizing any new ethics rules. After 90 minutes of a lively reception, we had a great meal catered by Madison’s Café. Legislators were invited to stay and buy a ticket to eat and several did. This extended time together really builds excitement, aids bonding and strengthens networking. I watched in awe, first hand, as Drs. Lynne Barbour,  Lori Roseman and Amanda Fitzpatrick answered questions and explained dental realities to two seasoned female elected officials. This is advocacy in action.

Legislative Day

Our whole member crowd from the reception and many more joined us again bright and early the next morning for a strong day of hand to hand advocacy at the Capitol. Braving cold winds and construction inconvenience, we gathered in the rotunda for breakfast and strategy review before winding through the marble halls to have specific meetings with their elected official. The time taken to attend, the gravity of firsthand experience, the reminder of financial support during elections, and the clear explanation of our concerns all make a huge impression on the legislator. Plus it’s fun and educational to engage with fellow members and students someplace other than a clinic setting. Leadership begets leadership and this setting is a rich environment for all of us to learn in.

A big part of the day was a brief meeting in Senate Pro-Tem Leader’s, Dave Schatz’s office. He was joined by Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden and Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe. It was quite the scene as nearly 40 of us swamped the room. I think they got the message that we care, we are accessible and we are invested in the process. They each shared some thoughts about the upcoming priorities in session and the new way Governor Parsons intends to do business. They were also quite accommodating and very grateful for the visit.

Much more could be written, but the proof was evident. When we give and when we attend and when we engage—we get results. It’s all essential to productive advocacy and I urge you to consider your future involvement. Check out photos from both events on our Flickr page. Finally, all MDA events are team events but someone has to spearhead the team and when it comes to legislative action, that is Shantel Smith. Let’s give her a big round of applause for all she does to help organize and deliver this important day.  Bravo!

The Week Ahead

I’m out Friday but a trusty selection of members will join Vicki at the Missouri Dental Board meeting. The MDA communications will always relay any significant news springing from their work. Also Vicki heads to St. Louis for their officer installation and awards. We get back to all the other business like the Focus hitting the streets in a week or so and there’s an MDIS board meeting next Friday. I’ll try to have some updates and photos for the curious. Keep supporting the blog and send me any suggestions for improvement.

Quote of the Week

The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” – Kenneth Blanchard


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