Anyone who has ever been in private practice knows how important it is to get the word out to the community that her practice not only exists, but has something unique that makes it stand apart from all the others.
For organizations, there is also a need to get the word out to potential members and sponsors to let them know what the organization has to offer. In the past, getting that word out has been one of AAWD's biggest problems. Not only do many people not even know that we exist, but many have completely the wrong conception of what we are all about. We certainly are not a group of militant feminists, for sure. Rather, we are a group of women who want to use our collective strengths to help others advance their careers in particular and dentistry in general.
Our ranks are full of women from all walks of dental life. Many of us are general practitioners. Others are in academia and/or specialty practice. Still others are in general and specialty practice in the military. But what we all have in common is that we provide a forum where we can help each other. This year, we changed our bylaws to better serve our members. Now, our Board of Directors is no longer a geographically based tripartite system, but a task-oriented group. In other words, the directors are each responsible for their individual tasks such as corporate director, student director, membership director, etc. This helps make us more effective as a central board.
At the same time, our local chapters are probably the most important part of our organization, for it is from these local chapters that most members find the benefits of networking and mutual support. AAWD is like an octopus organization with the Board of Directors being the central part and the tentacles being the local chapters, all of which relate to the central part.
But none of this makes any effect if we don't get the word out to our local members about the benefits of joining. Sure, we have great benefits such as reduced-cost malpractice insurance (which has special maternity clauses and which you can carry with you if you relocate to other states), reduced auto insurance, continuing-education programs around the country, etc. But first, we have to get the local groups going. All it takes are a few phone calls to start the ball rolling, and then a little organization to keep it going. Our central office can help! We are more than happy to assist anyone who is interested in starting a new group. We have developed a local chapter package that helps with all of the details.
Woman Dentist Journal has helped AAWD get the word out to corporate sponsors and thousands of women across the country. It is now up to the local groups to get the word out to their people. Won't you do your part and start a local group in your area? To those of you who have picked up the ball, thanks! To those of you who are thinking about it, you go gals!
Jean Furuyama, DDS