The Week That Was: April 26-30

Return to the Highway

After a long year of being grounded, we cautiously are resuming limited travel to participate in component meetings that follow the latest local guidelines. Just last night we dispatched MDA staff to two different locations. Here’s a brief report from those events.

MDA President, Dr. Rob Tait, and MDA ED, Vicki Wilbers, joined the faithful in Joplin for a SWDS business meeting plus some long-awaited interaction over the reception and dinner. SWDS President, Dr. Jon Reagan presided over the event that included a legislative update and a preview of summer events. It was encouraging to see several New Dentists in attendance. Also in attendance was newly minted Missouri member and ADA 10 Under 10 winner, Dr. Erinne Kennedy. She was joined by other colleagues who are new to town as part of the KCU College of Dental Medicine, a companion piece to the existing KCU College of Osteopathic Medicine, which opened in the years following the Joplin Tornado. CDM Dean, Dr. Linda Niessen, noted this will be the third dental school in the state. Groundbreaking is in three weeks and they hope to launch the first class of 80 candidates in August 2023.

Meanwhile yours truly rumbled down to Springfield to join MDA President Elect, Dr. Tom Stone, at the GSDS Installation event. It was good to mingle with veteran members like Dr. Jody Vance and GSDS Trustee, Dr. Brett Durbin, and share the latest news. Plus it’s always meaningful to acknowledge those who have provided leadership like outgoing President, Dr. Ashley Meyer who received a plaque for her service. Dr. Stone swore in the new officers: President, Dr. Jacob Pack, President Elect, Dr. Carla Duff, Vice President, Dr. Tara Cash and Secretary-Treasurer, Dr. Cheryl Haley (via Zoom). Other local leaders in attendance were Dr. Howard Shayne and Dr. Whitney Bair.

Return to the Board Room

This morning marked the first hybrid MDA Board meeting in more than a year. Most trustees and guests happily gathered live while spaced out in the MDA Delta Room and a few others Zoomed in from remote locations. The agenda was hefty as always and included presentations live or by Zoom from many guests. Delta Dental President Mr. Rob Goren and Drs. Ron Inge, Jim Rhea and Mark Zust updated the board on the always-zesty insurance front. There was a report from Drs. Joseph Crawley and Meaghan Strotman on the Coalition for Modernizing Dental Licensure which is a big issue for the more mobile new graduates. There was also a presentation by Mr. Landon Lemoine from Bento about self-insured dental plans. Add in all the regular reports and duties and it was a full day. Kudos to MDA staff for figuring out the hybrid format. Members can watch for an email update from their trustee in the following weeks.

ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day 2021

Lobby Day followed a new format this year to minimize time away from the office and school. Programing and training was on Sunday, April 25 while Hill meetings were held Wednesday, April 28. More than 1,100 dentists and dental students from across the country advocated for your patients, profession and practice. This included many from the MDA.

ADA Monthly Update

Once a month the state and component staffs from across the country participate in a Zoom to hear the latest update on current issues from the national perspective. This features ED, Dr. Kathy O’Loughlin and ADA President, Dr. Dan Klemmedson among many other talented staff in charge of key areas. This is very helpful to us in Missouri as we learn to utilize resources and anticipate change. Of note this past week was a report on membership recovery and growth after a year of COVID. The news is mostly positive, as despite some financial challenges, members are showing they value the muscled advantages of organized dentistry, especially in crisis.

ATSU Board Lunch

Our good friends at MDIS made sure that the D4 students at ATSU didn’t go hungry or without goodies during their board exams last week. Personal access was still not permitted, but delivery still works and we were there in spirit for this nerve-wrecking time.

A Decade of Dental

On Wednesday I marked my 10 year anniversary at the MDA. I knew nothing about dentistry when I started. On my first day I jumped in a van with the other staff and headed to Branson for a board retreat. Talk about baptism by fire! That evening I boasted to my new colleagues that I would buy a drink if Cam Newton from my alma mater, Auburn, was selected #1 in the 2011 NFL draft. Cam did go first pick but I learned quickly about the generosity of doctors who in a welcoming gesture did not accept my offer. A month later a tornado destroyed 25 Joplin dental offices. Three months after that, Springfield hosted the first MOMOM. Those two events have shaped my role with the Foundation and Outreach ever since. There have been plenty of adventures in my travels over the years, but they can wait for my tell all book that I will publish in retirement. 😊 I have come to admire the tight-knit dental community and their passion to help others with something as fundamental to life success as a smile. I feel privileged to work with talented staff and members. Thanks for your kindness. Here’s to the next decade stretch ahead.

The Week Ahead

It’s May already which means things are quite active down the home stretch at the Capitol. Plus, in addition to all the follow up required after board meetings, I see the calendar includes a call with the Dental Well Being Foundation officers and another road trip, this time to St. Louis to join New Dentists as a Food Truck Social.

Quote of the Week

On the road again. I can’t wait to get on the road again.” – Willie Nelson

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