The Week That Was: September 28-October 2

Prize Patrol Ventures Into Rare Territory

With one last MDA Award to deliver, the Prize Patrol headed to north-central Missouri to the quaint little town of Unionville to surprise Dr. Joel Pratt with the 2020 MDA Distinguished Service Award. Our ruse was wearing thin, as Dr. Pratt questioned the staff about the lack of patients. But Melissa and I swooped in with video camera rolling just in time to deliver the wonderful news in front of his staff and partner, Jane Blackburn. Ever the humble guy, Dr. Pratt quietly accepted the honor and then proceeded to relax more once we broke out lunch featuring locally baked cupcakes to-die-for. Dr. Pratt’s father and grandfather were dentists and he practices in a building erected in 1892. We were even allowed access to the storage area upstairs which was a history lesson of its own.

Distinguished Service is a slow-arriving honor. Dr. Pratt has been an MDA member for 43 years. He’s served in about every local and state leadership role possible, including MDA President and MDA Foundation Chair. He faithfully supports all manner of dental events and has been a source of encouragement to many colleagues. He’s a prince to work with and a real credit to the MDA. In all my MDA travels with the MDA for 10 years, I had never been to Unionville. It was a rare trip for a rare individual. Congrats, Dr. Pratt!

Prize Patrol Bonus Trip to Thank Our Leader

On Wednesday evening my Prize Patrol Posse grew in numbers, as many of the MDA and MDIS staff journeyed with me to Macon to surprise MDA President, Dr. Mike Berry. A global pandemic is just what every volunteer leader wants during their presidency—NOT! But Dr. Berry was the one for the job. He led us well amid all the rapidly changing and emotional moments. His optimism and preparedness made his lead-by-example case even brighter. Usually the MDA President enjoys a year of travel, attending component meetings and representing the MDA at events in and out of state. COVID grounded much of that. Also, this House of Delegates would have been Dr. Berry’s opportunity to serve as emcee—giving out awards, receiving his past-president pin, and taking a little good-humored roasting at the past presidents’ reception. But because all that is not happening this November, we wanted to treat him and his wife Marcey (who helped us carry out the covert operation) to dinner to thank him for his steady leadership this past year—one that will never be forgotten. Watch the surprise here! We all had a good time visiting over dinner, and I’m sure you join me in thanking Dr. Berry for his leadership.

Zoomy Zoom Report

The Zoom Galaxy seems to be a limitless universe of online meetings. Most are necessary, and many are quite encouraging. The trick is to take each on as it comes. This week featured three very different opportunities.

The UMKC Scholar ‘chip’ Banquet was an online affair where all the attendees were mailed chocolate chip cookies as a substitute for a banquet meal. The program was inspiring and featured words from Interim Dean, Dr. Melchert, as well as Rinehart Foundation Chair, Dr. David Suchman, an MDA member. In the flurry of screens, I briefly saw dental student, Mitchell Hanson, from Logansville. He was a recipient of a $5,000 scholarship from the MDA Foundation.

On Tuesday night my Zoom spaceship took me to new places, as I learned a lot about diversity and inclusion by listening to stories from ADA members about their experience with imposter syndrome, micro aggressions and other struggles. The ADA-sponsored event was hosted by MDA member, Dr. Emily Mattingly, Chair of the ADA New Dentist Committee, and Dr. Roy Thompson, Sixth District Trustee. The following day offered a follow up session with tips and insights into starting local diversity and inclusion efforts. This has been on my mind for the MDA for some time—especially in these current times. If you have interest in this, please reach out to me.

Last Night’s Zoom was a member benefit freebie sponsored by our friend, Ken Roberts at Morgan Stanley and MDIS, and featured some solid, practical content about how you can offer a retirement program to your staff. Attendees heard speaker Jim McCrory do a good job, and of course we enjoyed giving away some $50 gift cards at the end. Congrats, Dr. Staci Chenot (Mountain Grove) and Dr. Emily Oehler (Wentzville)! Be sure to mark your calendar for the next MDA Virtual event on November 17 featuring a panel of ADA experts on employment issues, loan and PPE updates, COVID updates, etc. Very practical indeed!

The Week Ahead

NEDS and NWDS are meeting today, and we will have reports and photos next week because typing from the car is not recommended. I’m actually going to do what we preach and visit my dentist for a six month check. We also launch our first-ever MDA at Night Virtual Food for Thought. All 650 dental students in the state will be invited to join. And the MDA staff sit down in person to line out the upcoming activities. There’s a lot brewing out there!

Quote of the Week

“Hey, Mike Berry, you old sucker, get on in here!” — The really polished stylings of your Prize Patrol emcee. LOL!

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