2014 Dental Trade Alliance Annual Meeting begins in Indian Wells, California

Summary of the first three days of the DTA Annual Meeting.

Nov 6th, 2014


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On Monday, the 2014 Annual Meetingof the Dental Trade Alliance (DTA) began in Indian Wells, California. The event, which offers a chance for key players in the dental industry to network and learn more about the DTA’s advocacy efforts, could not have been held at a more appropriate time. While attendees gathered at an opening reception on Tuesday night, results were streaming in from the nation’s midterm elections. By the end of the night, the balance of power had been flipped on Capitol Hill, and the DTA had a new playing field for advancing its Congressional lobbying agenda.

The first two days of the meeting featured events held by the DTA’s Women in Business Network, along with an official meeting of the DTA board of directors. On Wednesday morning, DTA leadership had their first chance to address the full gathering of attendees. DTA Chairman of the Board Tim Sullivan welcomed attendees and spoke on this year’s meeting theme, “Thriving in the New Normal.”

Sullivan, president of Henry Schein Dental, emphasized that a key purpose of the meeting – at which business rivals sat side-by-side – was to formulate strategies to increase the total market size for all dental companies. Sullivan used the analogy of “growing the whole pie,” rather than thinking solely on increasing one’s individual share. Sullivan’s analogy was timely. Immediately following Sullivan’s remarks, the new members of the DTA were announced. Among these was Amazon.com, whose entry into the dental distributing business is seen as a game-changing, and some would say unsettling, development in the dental marketplace.

Following Sullivan, DTA President and CEO Gary Price addressed attendees and charged them with sustaining their advocacy efforts in a changing political climate. Price pressed members to be in frequent contact with their Congressional representatives and make “the business case for oral health.” Price also spoke on the association’s work on surrounding the medical device tax and addressing the Affordable Care Act, subjects that drew applause from many attendees. Price also described the success of the Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives national advertising campaign, which has benefited from over $60 million in donated advertising and partnership with the Ad Council.

The morning concluded with talks by practice-management consultant and author Marc Cooper, DDS, and organizational health expert Patrick Lencioni. In the afternoon, attendees dispersed to take place in a number of networking activities. The meeting resumes on Thursday with presentations by Matthew Krieger, DMD, and Jim Stengel.

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