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ADAA working for you! Taking a look behind the scenes

Aug. 20, 2013
ADAA is a hard working organization with your best interests in mind

As I swiftly approach the completion of my term as ADAA president, it seems fitting to share a behind-the-scenes look at ADAA with you, our highly valued members. A “newcomer” to your ADAA board, I’ve “hit the ground running,” and have been consistently amazed by the dedication and resourcefulness of your executive committee, trustees, executive director, and staff in representing your interests.

The ADAA is the national organization that protects the welfare of all dental assistants in varying employment settings and positions across the country. While making strides in elevating and promoting our profession, the daunting task of effective communication to facilitate the ongoing conduct of business has been far from easy.

Since representatives are scattered all across the country, during the past months we have been able to use prescheduled conference calls and access needed information via the ADAA website to more easily complete many tasks on your behalf, all thanks to the ADAA central office staff.

Your executive committee and trustees, with unconditional support from and participation by ADAA staff, have donated countless hours on weekends, holidays, and late weekday evenings to participate in multiple council conference calls facilitated by independent subcommittee work. Each participant fulfills many tasks, and each council chair, officer, trustee, and staff member is responsible not only for preparing materials for discussion, but also for submission of reports detailing all council and subcommittee activities for consideration and action by the board of trustees.

In order to participate in board meetings and other activities during the past year, your staff and elected representatives have travelled near and far — even in compromised health or leaving family behind on special occasions — to fulfill their commitment to represent you and your needs as dental assistants.

Your trustees and local members have also worked many long hours setting up, manning, and breaking down ADAA membership booths across the country. They volunteer their time to speak with dental assistants regarding the role of our association, member benefits, and what being a part of your professional organization means. Dental assistants stop by the booth to obtain general information, provide feedback for enhancement of ADAA, and to ask for guidance about various issues of concern.

ADAA has been in the forefront in speaking out about social issues pertaining to dental health care and the safety and protection of the public we serve. Testimony has been provided during multiple state board meetings and legislative hearings with provision of supporting letters and on-site appearances by ADAA members and officers. We have developed and circulated the ADAA position statement regarding the need for education and credentialing of all dental assistants nationally. The time has come for appropriate preparation and qualification of individuals to be commensurate with the significant functions performed by dental assistants.

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Strides have also been made to collaborate with other professional organizations who share our concerns for quality care and adequate preparation and credentialing of those who provide dental services to patients. By assuring appropriate standards of preparation and practice, not only do we elevate our profession, but we also help to assure best practices and safety of those who come under our care.

Many new initiatives have been developed to support ADAA members, including revision to e-membership criteria and parameters, new prescription and credit card plans, multiple scholarships and awards, revised forms for reporting electronic submissions of mastership/fellowship coursework, new and revised online continuing education courses, and new course delivery systems to facilitate enhanced professional and personal growth.

The board and central office have implemented cost-saving measures and enhanced transparency of expenditure reporting to assure appropriate use of all funds to support member initiatives. A new marketing plan is being developed to heighten public and professional awareness of the valuable role that dental assistants play on the dental health care team.

Many authors have contributed relevant articles to the Dental Assistant Journal and other online communications to keep you well informed. These articles bring you all of the latest and most helpful information to facilitate the daily responsibilities of front office managers, chairside assistants, laboratory assistants, business assistants, and “jack of all trades” assistants.

As we prepare for our Annual Session in New Orleans in October 2013, we hope that you will be able to join us to celebrate our accomplishments, welcome our new officers, and plan for our continued success. ADAA welcomes your participation by way of attendance at professional meetings, involvement at the local, state, and national levels, and encouraging other dental assistants to become members to protect and promote the profession.

The initiatives shared are only a small snapshot of all of the behind-the-scenes work that has been accomplished for you over the past several months. Yes, ADAA is working hard on your behalf in promoting dental assisting and protecting the patients we serve. ADAA is your voice — the voice of dental assistants to the public and to all other professionals!