At this time of year, I always get the urge to clean out my closets. I plan to eliminate items that are not needed or wanted so I can make room for new things, but I always start reminiscing, get sentimental, and decide to just keep everything. Sometimes, we simply need to exchange the past and progress with the future. Without forgetting our history, the American Association of Women Dentists (AAWD) is incorporating innovative thoughts and programs for a new year with fresh beginnings.
We have this wonderful new publication, Woman Dentist Journal. This fresh publication will pass along cutting-edge clinical, behavioral, and motivational information. We also will include upcoming continuing-education schedules, events, and meetings of the AAWD.
With the freshman dental school classes comprised of 50 percent women students, the appearance of the dental professional is changing. Student chapters in dental schools continue to organize and expand our network so AAWD can remain sensitive to the needs of new dentists and graduate students.
We must keep manufacturers and distributors sensitive to the needs and wants of women dentists. AAWD is now being asked to serve on research & development committees and to evaluate equipment and products for our offices. What a great opportunity to have input!
Organized dentistry should reflect these demographics as well. The ADA has formed a Minority Professional Leadership Institute to mentor promising leaders and strengthen alliances. How wonderful to have a voice in our future!
AAWD has a new management company as well. The Chicago company is comprised of highly qualified women with diverse management and association skills who work with a number of other women's organizations.
Smiles for Success is currently working on a grant to extend funding to increase the number of women on welfare who can receive free dental care and re-enter the work force. Hopefully, more dentists will continue to graciously volunteer their efforts as well.
The AAWD annual conference will be in conjunction with the Academy of General Dentistry's annual meeting in July 2003 to expand the amount of clinical and scientific programs available to our members.
The first AAWD continuing-education cruise to the Bahamas will be over Labor Day weekend. What a great way to wind down after a hectic summer and get rejuvenated for another year.
Regional continuing-education programs are planned throughout the year. Watch for details in each issue of Woman Dentist Journal.
AAWD continues to offer student awards and scholarships as well as loans for dental education.
Relationships are being established and strengthened with the Hispanic Dental Association, the National Dental Association, and the Canadian Dental Association.
I wonder if 81 years ago, the 12 founding ladies of our organization would have thought all of this could be possible. If you are not a member of the AAWD, please consider joining. What a great era we share and what great new beginnings for AAWD. Visit our Web site at www.womendentists.org.
Happy New Year!