Organized dentistry has always been a passion of mine. I remember my first lobby day at my state capitol as a dental student 14 years ago and being so impressed by the collective voice of my fellow students and future colleagues. Since that time, I have continued to lobby for our profession and specialty at the state and national level. I served on my states executive committee for four years and continue to serve as a legislative liaison for WSAPD. I have been a WSPD Trustee for three years, and as an officer and member of the Executive Committee, I have learned how WSPD can best serve its members. I also am a member of Washington State Dental Associations Medicaid Task Force so I can be well informed on Medicaid reimbursement issues and bring that information to our specialty organizations.
I remember being in awe of the CSPD when I attended AAPD’s first Chapter Leadership summit five years ago. While I was President of the Washington State Academy of Pediatric Dentistry I was especially impressed by the size, organization, and fervor of CSPD. At the time, Washington had only one committee with four people in it while CSPD had multiple committees with multiple members. They all seemed to be dedicated to supporting our profession, patients and their families. Leaders in Washington took note of CSPD’s strength. Washington State Academy of Pediatric Dentistry now has multiple committees and has increased its yearly CE offerings.
In the way that CSPD served as an example to Washington State, WSPD would like to be a model for the less organized states in our orbit. With this in mind WSPD has strived to provide larger scale leadership opportunities to those WSPD members of smaller states. The election of Dr. Rob McApline (Alaska) to WSPD Vice President is an example of the success of our efforts. By working together and communicating about our respective organizations, legislative issues, and past and present challenges, our states learn from each other’s experiences and make the entire profession stronger for our patients. Building on this foundation will be my charge as your WSPD president for the next year.
I will also do my part to make sure that parents will get the right information to make choices concerning the oral health of their children. The WSPD Board of Trustees has made it our policy to oppose changes to AAPD bylaws that could lead to public confusion about who is a specialist and who is not. I am referring to the charge to the AAPD Affiliate Advisory Committee that a program be devised to provide “acknowledgement” to general dentist members of our professional organization. Implementation of this charge would likely require a change in AAPD bylaws so that general dentist members could use the “academy name, logo, [disclose their] membership status or imply special expertise or special training”. Our bylaws currently prohibit these activities if the member is not a pediatric dentist. WSPD is not opposed to providing continuing education to general dentists members of AAPD. WSPD will be updating its membership on new developments regarding this proposal soon.
My thanks to CSPD for modeling such a great state organization. As WSPD President, I hope to collaborate with CSPD to enhance their activities in the year to come.