New year, new you -- a fresh start in the new year

Jan. 18, 2012
Claudia Pohl, CDA, RDA, FADAA, BVEd, president of the American Dental Assistants Association, wishes her fellow dental assistants a good new year and shares ways the ADAA can help advance your career and promote the profession.

Greetings and Happy New Year! I hope this finds you well and settling into the New Year. You know, it’s common practice at the end of the year to reflect on the past year and look forward into the next year ... and perhaps even make resolutions about changes we want to see in our lives. That’s a good practice for our careers — and organizations too. So with that in mind, I thought I’d take a look at what’s happening at the ADAA that might help you get a fresh start in 2012!

I know that regardless of what state you practice in that salary, benefits, and not feeling respected are huge issues for dental assistants. We at the ADAA are continuing our work to address these and other issues facing dental assistants and are committed to doing whatever we can to advance and promote our profession.

I also know that what we as dental assistants love most about our work is the relationships we develop with our patients, the ability to help them improve their oral health, and the pride that comes as a result of that. I am convinced that dental assistants are among the most compassionate and empathetic people around. It is what makes us good at what we do!

So maybe you’re feeling a little burned out or frustrated with your career path, your job, your skills, or maybe you’re ready for a new challenge. How can the ADAA help you get a fresh start this year? How can we help you get more out of your career and be better prepared and more skilled so you provide better care to those patients? How is the ADAA working to advance and promote our profession that you can tap into?

Let’s see ... as we look at the coming year, ADAA has made some resolutions that will help to advance and promote our profession. Education has always been a cornerstone of the ADAA. We continue to provide high-quality, comprehensive continuing education to members and nonmembers alike — education that keeps you current and knowledgeable about your profession and career, improves your skills, and helps you provide the best patient care possible. As an increased benefit to active members, you will now have unlimited access to all online courses — at no charge (not even a processing or grading fee). Of course, dental assistants can continue to take advantage of live education with the popular roundtable learning provided at most regional meetings or continuing education at local/state meetings.

The popular newsletters will continue, but will be delivered electronically this year because of our continuing effort to “go green” — and there’s something for everyone. If you aren’t receiving it, sign up for our weekly e-newsletter 24/7, with all kinds of articles related to dental assistants that keep us abreast of current topics. We also have newsletters exclusively designed for educators, business managers, and students. To subscribe to any of these, visit our website at

Speaking of websites, the New Year (or shortly thereafter) will bring a new website that will provide you with streamlined access to education and information about dental assisting around the country and the organization.

If you are looking for employment or looking to hire someone, visit the Career Center on our website (in partnership with If you haven’t done so already, find us on Facebook, where you can connect and network with dental assistants across the country.

It is through our courses, publications, and services that we educate, inform, and work to build a better profession for those in it and for those we serve — the patient. My desire is to see dental assisting as a profession grow to the point that the “issues” that are problems for us as assistants become less important, and we are able to focus more on what we love about our work. But that is not an easy task. As we work on a national level to standardize the education required for dental assistants entering the field, it will have a positive effect on the other “issues” of importance to dental assistants.

The ADAA is committed to this work, but we can’t do it without you! You are an important partner in growing and strengthening the profession. If you are a member, congratulations on your commitment to both your career and profession … and thank you! If you aren’t a member, I hope you will consider joining ( It is through a strong membership that we have a strong voice and the potential to make the changes we need to advance and promote our profession!

Dental assistants provide a vital and critical service to the patients and the dental practice. I know, we don’t hear it enough, do we? But it’s true. Thank you for what you do every day in whatever setting you work as a dental assistant.

If any of you are going to be at the Yankee Dental Congress, stop by the ADAA booth and say hi! In the meantime, if there is any way we can help, I want to hear from you.

“To advance the careers of dental assistants and to promote the dental assisting profession in matters of education, legislation, credentialing, and professional activities that enhance the delivery of quality dental health care to the public."

Claudia Pohl, CDA, RDA, FADAA, BVEd
President, American Dental Assistants Association
The people who make assisting a profession