Although I know that this won’t appear until October’s issue of Woman Dentist Journal, I am writing this after our annual meeting in Anaheim. I want to share with you some of my thoughts about what it means to attend our national meetings. Unless you have ever been to one, it is hard to understand what a heartwarming, fun experience it is.
Joining a local woman dentist’s group is great for camaraderie and networking in your local area, but national meetings give you a chance to meet women dentists from all over the nation and from all walks of dental life - women in public health, the military, academia, as well as associates, practice owners, etc. It is so much fun (and educational) to compare notes with such a diverse group of women. The only thing they all have in common is how welcoming they are toward everyone - first-timers or old-timers like me.
One of the highlights of the meeting was visiting with Drs. Cherilyn Sheets, Jacinthe Paquette, and Jean Wu at their office, the Newport Coast Oral Facial Institute in Newport Beach, Calif. Talk about comparing notes! One couldn’t help but compare our humble practices to what I think is the most beautiful office I have ever seen. To think that three women dentists (one of them, Dr. Sheets, was a past president of AAWD) have been so successful is fantastic. If nothing else, it inspired me to go home and straighten up my ever-messy private office. But it was more than the spotlessness of their office. It was the attention to detail, down to having a harpist welcome us as we stepped off the elevator to the cameraman taking a video for public relations purposes to the cookies we were offered on the bus ride home with their practice logo on the icing. We will all remember this for years to come. Thanks Cherilyn, Jacinthe, and Jean. You are an inspiration for us all.
Another inspiration at the meeting was found in the acceptance speeches given by the 2003 and 2004 Lucy Hobbs Taylor award recipients. This is the highest honor AAWD can bestow on any of its members. Dr. Trucia Drummond gave one of the most moving statements of what membership in AAWD has meant to her. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place. Dr. June Lee, the 2004 recipient, was equally heartwarming as she shared with us a little of the history of our organization.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a word of thanks to President-Elect Dr. Cissy Furusho, whose job it was to make the meeting arrangements. Thanks also to Debbie Gidley in our management office in Chicago for her never-ending help.
And to all of you who came and participated, thanks. I never cease to be amazed at what a great group of women you all are. To those who didn’t come, I personally want to welcome you to our meeting in Washington, D.C., in July 2005. You’ll be glad you came.