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If there’s one thing this crisis has taught dental office managers...

June 12, 2020
Now is a good time to join their professional organization. As Heather Colicchio writes, office managers will never feel alone when they have their peers to call on.

Wow! If we were to go back in time and be told that dentistry as we know it would come to a screeching halt in the spring of 2020, what would we think? This scenario is definitely a “you have to see it to believe it” type of event. But in a time where social distancing and isolation have become the norm, there’s an important piece of information that COVID-19 has taught us: there’s strength in numbers.

Even dental professionals who have never been part of any peer organization are learning it’s more important than ever to turn to others in the field for guidance. This is especially true for those of us who are calling the shots on how to safely reopen our practices.

There are many benefits to membership in a professional dental organization.

It provides real-time resources

It’s been surprising to see just how quickly COVID-19 closures and reopenings have occurred. When things are changing every other day, being a part of a professional organization means there’s always someone in the background monitoring the industry. So even if you miss some development, there is a resource that you can check to advise you on what current announcements or rulings affect your industry and career.

When you’re part of a professional organization, you can easily access anything from national policies to state and regional orders in one place. Groups such as the American Association for Dental Office Managers (AADOM) and other dental organizations have representatives across the country. Knowing who to turn to can give you the support you need to feel confident about the choices you make for your practice. Although professional organizations are there to help us be the best we can be, they’re also essential for navigating the changes that affect our industry. These days, those changes come quickly!

It shows you where to get your answers

One of the best things about being an active member of AADOM is that you have an entire tribe at your fingertips. If there’s something you need to research or that you have questions about, chances are somebody else has already looked into the same thing. If not, you can find out where to search for information. Instead of doing the work twice, you can reach out to your fellow AADOM members for professional tips and advice about a situation.

 Being part of a tribe makes you stronger and enhances the overall knowledge of the group. Sharing, brainstorming, and organizing data empowers everyone who is part of the same professional organization, including the general public we serve.

It supports the industry as a whole

The dentists and dental hygienists who are members of their state organizations have been able to tell their legislators what rulings they believe are safe and appropriate for their jobs and patients. In turn, those legislators have direct contact with government officials, such as the governor and state health directors, who develop the guidelines. If a collective voice is strong enough, these professional organizations influence the steps that our states (and country) take when it comes to getting patients back into our offices. Whether it’s knowing who to call or organizing a petition, acting as part of a professional group is essential to protecting the future of dentistry.

It has never been more appropriate

If your doctors, hygienists, or fellow practice managers aren’t part of a professional organization, encourage them to join! Many of these groups are currently providing special offers or discounted membership options. Even in the midst of a crisis, it’s not too late to become a member. In fact, it’s probably one of the best times. As a leader in your office, encourage your team to look into the appropriate professional organizations and become active, whether it’s participating in online forums or attending local meetings.

It facilitates lifelong learning

Dental office managers have recently received crash courses in everything aerosol-related and total disinfection processes like we’ve never known before. Every day we’re learning something new. As lifelong learners, we continually better the professional organizations that we’re a part of and in turn, we are motivated by our peers.

I’ve always believed in our AADOM members. But over the past few months, I’ve never been prouder to be a part of this tribe!

Heather Colicchio is the founder and president of the American Association of Dental Office Management (AADOM), the nation’s largest professional organization for dental office managers and practice administrators. AADOM teaches business management skills for the dental practice. Heather is passionate about small businesses and entrepreneurship. She is excited by vision and building and seeing ideas come to life, especially when these ideas empower others. One of her strengths is connecting people to achieve their goals.

About the Author

Heather Colicchio

Heather Colicchio is the founder and president of the American Association of Dental Office Management (AADOM). Heather leveraged her background in business management and her skills in professional networking to drive the success of AADOM. It’s now the largest professional association for dental business teams in the country, with 3,500+ members, and hosts the country’s largest dental office management conference.

Updated August 2, 2023