Alejandro M. Aguirre
2805 Campus Drive, Suite 445
Plymouth, Minnesota 55441
Polish the Spotlight
The Minneapolis District Dental Society 2009 Installation of Officers and Guest of Honor Evening will be Thursday, April 30, at the Minneapolis Marriott Southwest Hotel. Officers for the upcoming year are Alejandro M. Aguirre, president; Mark R. Omlie, president-elect; Wendy S. Gulden, vice-president; and, Gary A. Bolmgren, secretary/treasurer. The MDDS will present its Guest of Honor Recognition Award during the evening’s program as well. The 2009 Guest of Honor is Michael P. Cellitti, who is being recognized for all his years of service to the dental profession. We will, as well, be honoring all the District past-presidents at this event. Please plan to attend to honor these members for the time and effort they dedicate to our profession.
Registration information will be included within the next Brush-Up newsletter, or you may find the registration information on the website. Please watch your mail as well. If you have additional questions regarding this event, please contact the District Office at (651) 631-9845.
Many Hands Do Make Light Work
Saturday, February 7, 2009 marked the MDDS’ ninth annual “Give Kids a Smile” day at the Sharing and Caring Hands Dental Clinic in Minneapolis. Thanks to Mary Jo Copeland for opening her heart and the doors of Sharing and Caring Hands, we were able to provide a full day of dental care to children most in need. The very definition of community service and commitment to volunteerism, the event’s success was stellar due to the volunteer members of our Minneapolis District, who provided more than $33,000 in dental care to 105 children who might otherwise have no access to care. Dr. Teresa Fong coordinated another very successful event, and the Minneapolis District thanks her!
More than 100 volunteers provided oral hygiene instruction, dental exams, toothbrush prophylaxis, fluoride treatments, radiographs, sealants, extractions, pulpotomies, stainless steel crowns, and composite and amalgam restorations, and for balance threw in face painting, a coloring table, and a goody bag with toothbrush and floss for each child.
Our thanks especially to AppleTree Dental, as we were able to once again use their mobile dental units for this every special day, helping us to more than double the size of Sharing and Caring Hands’ permanent dental clinic.
To our donors for the event, and to Henry Schein Dental for providing comprehensive/complete restorative kits for every child who was treated, our thanks.
The Minneapolis District Dental Society gratefully acknowledges the following companies for their support of the Sharing and Caring Hand’s Give Kids A Smile Day.
3M-ESPE Dental Products Division
Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals
Minnesota Dental Foundation
Procter & Gamble Crest/Oral-B
Henry Schein Dental Company
And to our dentist/volunteers, thank you for giving of your time and talents. You know who you are
and now so do a whole lot of other people!
Andrew Atchinson, D.D.S.
Jennifer Beaudin, D.D.S.
Donald Blakeslee, D.D.S.
Tung Doan, D.D.S.
Michael Flamenbaum, D.D.S.
Teresa Fong, D.D.S.
Krista Geisler, D.D.S.
Michael Gleysteen, D.D.S.
Frederick Haas, D.D.S.
Sandy Houck, D.D.S.
Kirby Johnson, D.D.S.
Barry Kinneberg, D.D.S.
Venetia Laganis, D.D.S.
Stephen Litton, D.D.S.
Donald McPartlan, D.D.S.
Eric Ness, D.D.S.
Nancy Norling, D.D.S.
Stacy Roszkowski, D.D.S.
William Shea, D.D.S.
Timothy Swanson, D.D.S.
Stacey Vogt, D.D.S.
Melissa Zettler, D.D.S.
Please plan to volunteer for next year’s event, Saturday, February 6, 2010. It is a great opportunity to serve others in our community, renew old friendships, make new friends, and add a few CE credits to your portfolio.
The Sharing and Caring Hands Dental Clinic operates throughout the year, providing dental care to those in our community without means to afford care on their own, via one staff member, volunteer dentists, and dental auxiliary. Volunteers and funding are needed and welcome. For more information, please contact Michelle Quade at the District Office, (651) 631-9845, or Melissa Cozart at Sharing and Caring Hands (612) 596-3463.
Sounds Pretty Good!
Summer’s annual MDDS Trapshoot Tournament is scheduled for Wednesday, August 19. We will be returning to the Metro Gun Club in Blaine. As ever, the gourmet wild game dinner and prizes will cap the event. Everyone is welcome.
Wednesday, September 9 brings the Greater Twin Cities Tennis Mixer at Bearpath Golf and Country Club in Eden Prairie, and continues the wickedly civilized rivalry between members from both the Minneapolis and Saint Paul District Dental Societies. Play on outdoor clay courts; all competition is doubles. Swing a racquet from one to five p.m., then sit down for dinner and any level of harassment good company will allow. Players of all skill levels are encouraged to come.
Registration forms for all summer events will be included in upcoming issues of the Brush-Up newsletter. If you need a form, please do not hesitate to contact the district office at (651) 631-9845.
Welcome, New Members
Congratulations to the District’s newest members. Warm welcomes mean a lot.
Shiraz M. Asif, B.D.S.
Nicoleta T. Agrigoroae Bolos, D.D.S.
Steven D. Angell, D.D.S.
Todd P. Christianson, D.D.S.
Megan E. Hansen, D.D.S.
Corine N. McLellen, D.D.S.
Paul W. Peterson, D.D.S.
Steven R. Peterson, D.D.S.
Michelle M. Prom, D.D.S.
Brian K. Singletary, D.M.D.
Mark J. Stanley, D.D.S.
Upcoming Programs and Events
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Annual Installation of Officers and Guest of Honor Evening
2009 Guest of Honor: Michael P. Cellitti, D.D.S.
Minneapolis Marriott Southwest Hotel
Tuesday, August 11, 2009 (Date tentative)
MDDS Caucus Meeting
All Members Welcome
Minneapolis Marriott Southwest Hotel
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Metro Gun Club
Wednesday, September 9 2009
Greater Twin Cities Tennis Event
Bearpath Golf and Country Club
Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Friday, September 11 and Saturday, September 12, 2009
MDA House of Delegates
Marriott Hotel in Rochester
Friday, December 4, 2008
84th Annual Midwinter Dental Meeting
Special Guest Speaker: To Be Announced
Minneapolis Marriott Southwest Hotel
324 W. Superior Street, Suite 828
Duluth, MN 55802
Another Rewrite from the Theater of Seasons
Right now everywhere south of Forest Lake is experiencing the season called spring. However, as most of you know, spring isn’t really a season in the Northeast. It’s more accurately called “splat”, which is also the sound that your shoes make for approximately two months until the ground finally begins to dry out. During “splat” you can’t do much of anything. Don’t bother getting out the bicycle or golf clubs. Instead, get out your shovel because I bet you and the dog forgot something on the lawn just before the first snowfall came. On that note, here is your Northeastern District report.
The February NEDDS meeting was held in Grand Rapids at the Timberlake Lodge. The speaker, Dr. Russ Baer, gave what was reportedly a very good presentation. I say reportedly because I was not in attendance at the meeting. Our president, Steve L’Abbe, filled me in on the details though, and Chuck Babst stepped up to take several pictures of the day’s events - thanks to both! Russ spoke about the surgical placement of implants and methods of restoring them. Since it was a hands-on course, participants had the opportunity to place the implants in simulated mandibles provided for the class. I heard that Mike Hagley had a bunch of edentulous beavers and eelpout lined up for the class, but somehow HIPAA prevented that from happening. Handpieces and placement kits were provided by Nobel Biocare, and representatives from the company were on hand to help with the course. The representatives provided a lot of helpful information throughout the day as well. In addition, Dr. Baer thoroughly covered the indications and parameters for placement that we as clinicians must be aware of prior to placing an implant. Dr. L’Abbe and others I spoke with about the program found it to be a very useful and informative presentation.
An interesting side note to the day was that Governor Tim Pawlenty addressed the group. He was attending another function at the Lodge and took the time to speak to members of our Northeastern District about the current budget shortfall and the difficult decisions that need to be made.
Toward the end of February, a number of dentists from our area traveled to Saint Paul for Dental Day at the Capitol (and they wisely did not travel in a chartered jet to the event). The primary purpose of this day was for dentists to meet with their state legislators to discuss the pending Oral Health Care Practitioner (OHP) legislation. Dentists from all across the state took part in this annual event organized by our MDA legislative team. Our district was very well represented, with the following dedicated individuals participating: Chuck Babst, John Conry, Eileen Patterson, Matt Anzelc, Patty Jacobson, Michael Zakula, Lee Jess, Mike Hagley, Jordan Anderson, and Michael Miskovich. Please thank these folks for spending a day away from their offices for the benefit of all of us. I’d like to thank Mike Zakula for not only the information I’ve provided to you, but also the pictures from this event!
Finally, I wanted to mention the 2009 Membership Outreach Project. Abby Johnson, a recent graduate from dental school and member of our Northeastern District, is our local Team Leader. The goal of this project is to increase membership in the dental association for those dentists who have graduated within the last 15 years. If you are reading this, then obviously you are already a member, but there’s a good chance that you have a friend and colleague who is not. Please contact Abby if you have any questions regarding this project, or if you’d like to help her.
The next couple of months have some exciting things coming up. Our district’s New Dentist Committee will be holding a social event in April at Duluth’s newest swanky bar, Blackwater, and the Northeastern District will be very well represented at the Star of the North. Now go find your waterproof boots and shovel!
John E. Lueth
P.O. Box 310
Bemidji, MN 56619
You Say Carmel, I Say Caramel; Let’s Call the Whole Thing Blrf
Dr. James Amstadt was the speaker for the members of the NWDDS attending the 2009 Winter Meeting Friday, January 30, at the beautiful cross-country destination ski resort Maplelag, located near Detroit Lakes. Dr. Amstadt filled the day with implant-related topics and pictoral interludes of wilderness canoeing scenes — most including big fish! In point of fact, we began to suspect that the big fish were planted amongst his presentation pieces to keep pace with the NWDDS’ own fishing guide and angler par excellence Pat Alcorn (Red Lake Falls). Pat just happened to be a classmate of Jim’s, and as we learned, “As for fishermen - size does matter!”
As the snowflakes gently fell, Dr. Amstadt led everyone through a relaxing and fulfilling day of C.E. at this cozy North Woods resort. Several folks availed themselves of the miles of wonderfully groomed ski trails. Everyone partook of the family style hearty lunch meal. And not many passed up the steaming caramel rolls set out to greet all as they arrived for the day.
Didn’t Miss the Bus
In January when word went out to members of the Northwestern District Dental Society to support their profession and professional organization by participating in Dental Day at the Capitol, several district members, led by Trustee Roger Sjulson, mobilized. They began to spread the word about the important goings-on affecting the practice of dentistry in the state (and by extension the nation) with the goal to contact and garner participation by dentists from every legislative district in the northwestern area of the state.
“Don’t Miss the Bus” became the mantra. With an intended double meaning, this effort to send northern dentists down to the Capitol to meet face-to-face with legislators offered a busload of possibilities. Not only would the dentists get the latest up-to-date information about several issues critical to the practice of dentistry in Minnesota along with the opportunity to lobby legislators on behalf of patients and the profession, but the dream would be to have enough participation to require a bus for transporting all the dentists to Saint Paul. To not take advantage of the Dental Day at the Capitol might literally and figuratively prove that dentists did miss the bus!
A record turnout of dentists attended the event on Wednesday, January 25, and our voices were definitely heard. Not only were the majority of legislators contacted, but a significant number were reported to be impressed by the presence of the dentists at the Capitol that day. Almost to a person the legislators said that they look to dentists as the experts on the issues and truly want our input.
Although arrangements were attempted to begin a bus route from literally the far northwestern corner of the state near Canada, eh, and to weave its way through the district and on down to pick up hitchhiking western-edge-dwellers of the Northeastern District and then mid-state West Central District members, not enough signed up to charter the Tuesday evening champagne flight. But now that you know about it ... There is no doubt that in the coming years we will be facing similar or larger issues. So think ahead, think about the issues, and remember for the next opportunity, “Don’t Miss the Bus!”
The Next Knock You Hear ...
As the Northwestern District’s Associate Editor for this journal, I want to inform our members and acknowledge the membership recruitment work being done by District member Erik Skatvold (Moorhead). The MDA’s Membership Committee created the 2009 Membership Outreach Project, which has the goal of increasing membership among newer dentists, in this case those who have graduated in the last 15 years. The committee has asked an active young dentist from each district to be their district’s Team Leader, gather a group of other young members to help personally contact all non-members who have graduated since 1993, talk to them about membership, and invite them to join. NWDDS members will be interested in knowing what is being done in their district on their behalf, since increasing the numbers and input of members helps us all. They also may be called on to help, and we hope they will be more likely to say yes.
We would like to thank Erik for his involvement in this effort, and express our appreciation for these young dentist Team Leader members. This kind of membership recruitment can take a lot of time and comes with no guarantee that it’s going to be easy. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with Erik Skatvold, Membership Committee chair Laura Eng, or Dawn Jensen, MDA membership staff.
The Beauty Part
Give Kids a Smile 2009, February 6 & 7
Northwest Technical College, Bemidji
Fluoride treatments 73
Total number of children seen 112
Total number of dentists 6
Total number of staff and students 40
Total number of referrals to local dental offices 43
Total number of referrals to specialists 11
A Loving Benediction
The following is reprinted with permission from the January 15, 2009 issue of
“Our Northland Diocese”.
CROOKSTON - A 35-year career, providing dental care to more than 3,000 patients, ended this month as Sister Anita Whalen retired from the dental practice she maintained in Warren.
“I don’t think it has really hit me yet,” said Sister Anita, who became a dentist in the 1970s, at a time when few women were in the profession. “It’s sad in a way, but yet it was time. This way we can still hand the practice over when it’s doing well. That’s a good feeling.”
The dental practice, owned and operated by the Sisters of Mount Saint Benedict Monastery, has been sold. The sale marks the end of that ministry for the Sisters whose Benedictine way of service centers on the belief “that
in all things God may be glorified.” Now Dr. Travis Handel, who has a practice in Hallock, will serve in Warren.
Through the years, with the help of a fund from the Benedictine Sisters, countless people who couldn’t afford dental care received the care they needed from Sister Anita, truly giving them something to smile about.
Although Sister Anita said little about that aspect of the dental practice, her staff was quick to point out numerous examples of people who were literally given a new lease on life.
“Having good teeth is something some people might take for granted,” said Ann Teigen, dental office receptionist for 25 years. “But when your teeth aren’t in the best of shape and you can’t afford to do anything about it, it can be kind of difficult.
“Sister Anita helped everyone. There were girls whose teeth were so bad they might not even have their own teeth now if Sister Anita hadn’t sent them to a specialist to get braces. That really gave them back their lives, because if you have ugly teeth, teeth you can’t even clean, you’re going to have self-esteem problems.”
Sister Anita said in her capacity as manager of the dental office she decided to host a dinner December 28 at the monastery for the sisters and their five-member dental staff. The best china was placed on freshly starched, white table cloths. All those present had their choice of prime rib or walleye. Wine was served.
After dinner, the party moved next door to Marian Hall Lounge. The choir sang. Gifts were exchanged, along with much laughter. And tears were shed, especially after the dental office staff was serenaded by the choir and Sister Anita: “What’ll I do when you are far away and I am blue? What’ll I do? What’ll I do?”
As the music ended, Ann wiped the corners of her eyes.
“You know, Sister Anita’s life here at the monastery has been reflected in her career,” she said, softly. “Maybe that’s why it always feels so good to come to the monastery, because you get the same feeling here. A lot of people who came to the dental office said, ‘This isn’t like any other dental office.’ We tried to help people out when they came in, and that’s what it’s like at the monastery. You make people feel welcome. I think we reflected that too, a lot more than other places.”
And in helping others there was joy and the fulfillment of the Benedictine motto: Work and prayer.
“I remember when Sister Anita came to me and presented her idea to be a dentist,” said Sister Victorine Fenton, who was prioress of the monastery more than three decades ago. “It seems like yesterday.”
Shortly after professing her final vows, Sister Anita became a teacher, eventually teaching history to high school students.
“That really wasn’t for me,” she said.
But in her role as a teacher, Sister Anita was asked to line up speakers for the school’s Career Day. Going through the list of possibilities, she came upon the career of dentist.
“It had everything - challenge, working with people one on one, vigorous study,” she said.
Thinking Sister Victorine wouldn’t like the idea, Sister Anita also put together a presentation on becoming a speech therapist.
“I never even presented anything on the speech therapist,” Sister Anita said, smiling. “Mother Victorine looked at the information on a dentist, and she said ‘As long as you can still live in community, go for it’.”
Back then, nearly 40 years ago, few women were studying to be dentists. Sister Anita was one of only three women in her class.
“Then, it was rare for women to be hospital administrators or high school principals too, unless they were Sisters,” she said. “Those barriers seemed to be permeable by Sisters, I think, because they had the backing of their communities. But what some people may not understand is that as Benedictines we are called to live a monastic life, and we are called to use our talents in some practical way, not a particular way,” Sister Anita continued. “Could I be a dentist and live in community? ‘Of course that’s compatible,’ said Mother Victorine. ‘Go and get your education completed.’”
Later, when she went into practice, Sister Anita found being a sole practitioner had its challenges. But she soon found a professional lifeline - the Two Bit Study Club. Within the club she partnered with nine colleagues, from throughout the region, to explore aspects of dentistry. The late Dr. Henry Tanner, was a long-time mentor of the club. Organized by Dr. Jay Anderson, the group meets twice a year for two days of hands-on study on such topics as occlusion, how the tops of teeth relate to each other.
Yet while the club was a blessing, Sister Anita said, so was her staff of “five dedicated ladies”.
“One of the high points was the very spirit of the group itself and the camaraderie,” said Sister Anita. “They worked so well together, so unusually well. I appreciate them. They are good people.”
Talking together at the party, some of the staff members recalled some funny moments they shared over the years. Turning to Ann, Diane Adolphson, who worked at the dental office for 30 years, asked, “Do you remember the time Sister Anita ran out of gasoline and we found her walking to work?” As Ann nodded, they both laughed.
“Seriously, it has been a privilege to work for the Sisters,” said Diane.
Barb Collins, dental hygienist at the clinic for 15 years, agreed. “I’m going to miss everybody,” said Barb, who is now working in Pine River. “This has been an incredible experience.”
For her part, Sister Anita said, “All I did was stick to the fundamentals. I’d sum up my dental career by saying I did some modest things with great care. I hope that I helped people appreciate how well they are made.”
Christine H. Hermanson
1055 Highway 36 E.
Maplewood, MN 55109-1911
High Profile for Short People
The Saint Paul District Dental Society held its tenth annual Children’s Dental Health Day event Saturday, February 21 at the Minnesota Children’s Museum in downtown Saint Paul.
This is one of the most visible things we do each year, this year drawing 2,360 people. A true community event, its success is directly due to the people who volunteer their time, including our member dentists, hygienists and assistants, and students from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, Century College, and Dakota County Technical College. For the past few years, Dr. Tiffany Waki, a practicing orthodontist in Burnsville and a member of our district, has been chair of this event and has been involved in various other capacities. Dr. Angie Hilo, a practicing dentist in Eagan, has also been involved in the planning process.
Children’s Dental Health Day is designed to provide awareness of and education about oral health to the public, large and small. The small ones loved visiting with the real (three-dimensional!) Count Plaqula, Tooth Fairy, and Crest Sparkle. And of course stationed throughout the museum were any number of other interactive activities. One of the favorites was the “Dentist for a Day” station. At this area, kids were able to wear smocks, gloves, and masks, and perform exams on their parents’ teeth while those large persons were sitting in an actual dental chair. Oh, the power! (Ah, the giggles!) Patterson Dental can take a well-earned bow for helping us out with both the dental chair and an intraoral camera.
One of the most popular areas was “Ask the Dentist”. Here both kids and parents could ask a dentist questions and pick up educational material on topics from fluoride, general oral care, and whitening to oral piercings. Other points of interest included our “Sip All Day Get Decay” display and demonstrations on sealant placement and proper brushing and flossing techniques.
University of Minnesota Regents Honor SPDDS
During the 2009 Midwinter Meeting program and luncheon, Fred Bertschinger, Foundation and Development Officer at the University of Minnesota, presented SPDDS with the honor of the President’s Club Chancellors Society. The certificate states:
“With your support of the Pre-Clinical Laboratories Transformation in the School of Dentistry, you help assure that the University of Minnesota remains vital and relevant in its mission to teach, discover, enlighten and improve our lives. With gratitude, we honor your philanthropic spirit.”
Robert H. Bruininks, President
In Memory Steven C. Ager, D.D.S.
Our deepest condolences are extended to the family of Dr. Steven Ager, who passed away January 13, 2009. Dr. Ager was a graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, and became a member of SPDDS in 1971. He will be missed by his family and colleagues.
Congratulations to our newest retirees. We hope you enjoy every minute of your new adventure! The lucky fellas are:
• Robert L. Gahnz, D.D.S.
• John C. Huntley, D.D.S.
• Charles E. Kath, D.D.S.
SPDDS welcomes the following new members to its community. Hope to “see you there”.
• Jack D. Baldwin, D.D.S.
• Michael H. Flamenbaum, D.D.S.
• Kristine M. Goulet, D.D.S.
• Perri L. Kauls, D.D.S.
And I’ll See You There...
April 8, 2009
SPDDS Lunch & Learn Seminar
Subject: “Porcelain Restorations”
Speaker: Donna Hecker, D.D.S., M.S.
Conference Room, Central Office
Minnesota Dental Association
1335 Industrial Boulevard
April 18, 2009
SPDDS Long-Range Planning
Minnesota Humanities Center
“Dentispree” Social Event
January 15, 2010
SPDDS Midwinter Meeting
“Life is a Speech”
The Saint Paul District has always been known for providing worthwhile activities for its members, many which help the public or which help our fellow dentists. The Speakers Bureau is exceptional because it was established 57 years ago to help us as individuals to become comfortable with public speaking and conducting meetings. Since then, the group has met for lunch every Thursday from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the University Club in Saint Paul.
Pat Mascia, one of the few retired members of the group, joined 33 years ago after being invited by Roger Burke Sr. He remains an active member because of the camaraderie and because it keeps him current about dentistry.
Norm Coates, who joined three years ago, spoke for the whole group. “People are very supportive, not just on a dental level, but also on a personal level.”
Steve Weith, one of the newest members, joined because he was invited by his office colleague, Jeff Rozinka. “I just fell in love with it. It gives me a connection and makes me realize how small Saint Paul really is.”
New members are allowed to just observe for their first six months. Officers are elected for six-month terms, moving up a ladder from treasurer, to secretary, then vice-president and president. Members are assigned the role of questioner, toastmaster, or presenter each week on a rotating or random basis.
Meetings are broken into three segments: Table Topic, Formal Business Meeting, and Presentations.
Meetings begin with Table Topics, during which a thought-provoking question is posed to any member. This teaches an individual to respond without any preparation, since technically a coherent response should be possible even without any knowledge of the subject. Current news or politics are natural table topics which can lead into lively discussions.
A concise Formal Business Meeting follows, using proper parliamentary procedure.
Presentations are the real focus of the meetings. The two speakers are introduced by the Toastmaster of the day, and each is allowed 10 minutes to speak on a topic of his or her choice. The speaker is then critiqued on organization, presentation style, and knowledge of the subject. Public speaking skills are thereby honed in a constructive and supportive environment.
The 31 members speak about four times per year, based on a randomized rotation schedule. Presentations run the gamut, having expanded from the dental topics of earlier years. The presence of more women in recent years has also influenced the mix of speeches. Drinking, hunting, hiking, and stamp collecting have been spoken about, as well as ballroom dancing, scarves, men’s shoes, and travel. Personal triumphs and tragedies are shared. Death and cancer have been addressed.
At a recent meeting, George Kinney reviewed the book Blue Zone, reporting about research on how to achieve a long life, and Jeff Rozinka spoke on “Abuses of the English Language”, challenging our knowledge of the proper usage of words - e.g., all together vs. altogether, fewer vs. less, lectern vs. podium, and the unacceptable and unmanageable “irregardless”!
Public speaking is one of the most common fears among people, but it is possible to overcome it. Jeff Rozinka shares, “ When I started, I rarely thought about what I was going to talk about until the week before I was to speak. As a veteran, I now go through life and think, ‘Oh, I could talk about this or that.’” He adds that, “Learning to conduct a meeting has an impact in your community life, be it PTA, community boards, or any such venue. If you have the organizational skills and knowledge of how to run meetings, you tend to rise to the top. I have used that ability in my community.” Norm Coates concurs. “I think it has done something for me, in being able to stand up and speak in front of groups, even something as small as standing up at a funeral and talking about the deceased. I never would have done that in the past.”
The Speakers Bureau obviously prepares people for leadership positions in dentistry, but the sense of camaraderie, which is so palpable from the group, is an even more important end result. The influence it can have on a life is profound.
If you have any interest in joining or visiting the Speakers Bureau, please call Rich Weisbecker at (651) 451-1873. They will welcome you, and soon you will feel as Pat Mascia does: “I wouldn’t stop going to this unless I was physically unable.”
Christopher E. Carroll
150 East Fourth Street
Winona, MN 55987
Well, Met ...
We did have another Executive Committee meeting down here January 6. It was in Rick Nolting’s neighborhood at the Somerby Golf Club in Byron. Ten were in attendance, and there was the usual constellation of emotions about the recently completed and disbanded Oral Health Practitioner workgroup. One member was dyspeptic over the provision that would allow the OHP to work in an office and have only 50% of their workload in MA/MNCare. We tried to explain the rationale for this to the rest of the group, with only partial success. We agreed to disagree.
There were also updates on the Midwest Dental Benefits insurance program, and on the Zumbro Valley Dental Society. The society will not be holding a CE meeting this year. One can kill a good mule, and over the years, we about worked Duane Price to death with this meeting. He insists that it was all fun, but he is still taking a break. I suspect someone will pick up the baton, and we will get that going again next year. The meeting closed with discussion about rallying support for the Dental Day at the Capitol and some other important stuff.
A Work in Progress
Three Southeastern District dentists testified at three different locations at the budget hearing held by the Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate. These town hall type meetings were conducted all over the state to get feedback on the cuts proposed by Governor Pawlenty for the next biennium’s budget. On Thursday, February 19, Mike Flynn testified in Rochester. On Friday, February 20, Tim Flor was in Albert Lea, and I took the podium in Winona.
Several area representatives and senators attended each meeting and were able to hear dentistry’s concerns about several budget proposals. Our main concerns were the suggestions that:
(1) Adult care is to be eliminated.
(2) Benefits are to be reduced 3%.
(3) Critical access program is to be eliminated.
(4) The Provider Tax’s Health Care Access Fund is to be raided for the general fund
Several of us from the Southeastern District got another shot at some face-time with our legislators when we went to Saint Paul February 25 for Dental Day at the Capitol. Marie Mueske from Lake City, Matt Valliant from Red Wing, John Noack from Northfield, Mike Flynn from Lewiston, Elizabeth Doomer, a dental student from Rochester, and I all participated.
We were able to sit down with the representatives and senators from the district and have a face-to-face exchange of ideas. Not only were we able to reiterate our concerns over the governor’s budget cuts, but we were also able to point out the advantages of the MDA’s version of a mid-level practitioner.
I suspect many of you are saying to yourselves, “You know, I should do that.” That is what I told myself for 25 years. This was my first time participating, and I’m kicking myself for not having pitched in years ago. It was really an enjoyable and satisfying experience. The MDA had it so well organized that even I was able to do it. There was camaraderie with other dentists, and the tete-‘a-tetes with the legislators were informative and of benefit to both parties. There was also a great feeling of accomplishment, for there is no substitute for this kind of one-on-one advocacy. I encourage you all to join us next year. I assure you that you will consider it a worthwhile investment of your time.
Leave the Lights On
Robert Briggs, D.D.S.
We lost a special one. Robert “Bob “ Briggs, D.D.S., 67, died at his Winona home Sunday, January 25, after a courageous 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
Bob was an effervescent, bigger-than-life personality who was skilled and active in many various pursuits. As a dentist, technically, I’d have to say he was a notch above most of us. His practice stressed prevention and occlusion, and he studied for years with the Pankey Institute.
Bob was an avid hunter and fisherman, and was quite a farmer, too. He leaned toward the unusual and exotics with his farm. He was past president of the RX3 Cattle Association and was politically active in the American Elk Breeders Association. In 2007 the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation District honored him as an outstanding conservationist.
Bob was also an excellent pilot. Once he made an emergency night landing in a farm field with a malfunctioning plane and walked away from it. He told me the secret to this was to “leave the lights off ‘til you are near the ground and then turn them on. If you like what you see, leave the lights on.”
We’ll miss that great sense of humor.
Stand By for Scrutiny
In our next report, we’re going to attempt to explain one of the MDA’s problem children, the Southeastern District. We are a bit more difficult to put a handle on than some other districts. Saint Paul is, well, Saint Paul, and Minneapolis is Minneapolis. The West Central and the Northwestern go from the prairie to the pines, and the Student District is students. The Northeastern District is sort of a kindred spirit, but we’ll leave it to them to try to explain themselves. The Southeastern District, instead of having a single persona or set of characteristics, is more like a collection of city-states, and we’ll start on that next time.
Ken A. Windschitl
2000 South Broadway Street
New Ulm, MN 56073
Study Club Hears Dental Education Update
The Mankato Area Study Club met February 16, 2009 at the Holiday Inn in Mankato. About 35 people were in attendance. Invited speaker Patrick Lloyd, Dean of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, brought with him Emily Johnson, the University of Minnesota Development Officer, and Fred E. Bertschinger, the Director of Development at the U. As well, Lynnette Engelswick, Director of Dental Hygiene of Minnesota State University at Mankato, spoke about their program.
Dean Lloyd spoke on the updates at the University of Minnesota’s School of Dentistry. Many new students, faculty, and technology enhancements are being offered at the School. Opportunities at outreach clinics and facilities are also being expanded. The Dental Therapy Program is moving along with the support of the Minnesota Dental Association and the University of Minnesota.
It is the way the Dean presents his information that gets my attention. I would not turn down an opportunity to hear him speak; it’s fast-moving, accurate, and important. I feel he is an eloquent speaker, and we are fortunate to have him as the dean of the dental school.
Lynnette Engelswick is the director of Dental Hygiene program at MSU, where our state’s multi-billion-dollar budget short-fall trickles down to the dental hygiene and assisting students and programs. One sequella of the governor’s proposal to discontinue Medical Assistance for adult patients that will affect the MSU hygiene and South Central College dental assistants is a decrease in the pool of patients from which the students can draw to gain “quality education”. Ms. Engelswick told us, “Potential cuts are unknown, but the range falls anywhere from five to 15 percent. As a leader, this is challenging. With approximately 3,000 patients seen each year, 80% are on MA or U-Care.” These cuts could jeopardize both dental assisting and dental hygiene programs at Mankato and Canby.
If we lose our source of trained dental hygienists from MSU and dental assistants from SCC with expanded duties, we will have a major problem. The access to care problem now would be minor compared to what it would be if these programs are diminished. The U of M would also feel the effects of these cuts.
I remember the days when hygienists were hard to come by and I had to train my own assistants. It was time consuming and required a great deal of energy. I don’t think I want to see the profession go back to those days.
Dental Day at the Capitol
The Minnesota Dental Association held its annual Dental Day at the Capital in Saint Paul February 25, 2009. Out of approximately 150 people present, 40 were students. This was the biggest turnout ever at the capital for the Dental Day event. Those attending came to listen to legislators and to begin to understand what is happening in the dental profession today, regarding (1) the state budget short-fall, (2 access to care, and (3) the proposed mid-level dental practitioner.
Among the issues discussed included the Oral Health Practitioner Recommendations as requested by the Minnesota statute 3.197. This report cost approximately $76,930 to prepare. The Dental Therapist position from Dean Patrick Lloyd and the University of Minnesota was discussed as an alternative plan. The provider tax issue was touched upon as well, with dentists speaking in favor of not eliminating adult dental care and critical access care.
Reporting key issues included Tom Day, MDA Legislative Affairs Director; Dominic Sposeto, Association lobbyist; and Mary Dougherty, Association lobbyist. Invited speakers included Representative Marty Seifert, the House Minority Leader; Representative David Senjem, the Senate Minority Leader, and Dean Patrick Lloyd of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. We then were provided with a lunch and took a short break before splitting up to meet with our respective Southern District representatives.
After hearing issues concerning dentistry, we were warmly welcomed and invited by the Minnesota House and Senate to visit with our respective legislators at the State Office Buildings. The representatives from the Southern District were able to speak openly to Representatives Tony Sertich, Terry Morrow, and Kathy Brynaert. We also met with Representatives Marty Seifert, District 21A; Paul Torkelson, 21B; and District 21 Senator Dennis R. Fredrickson. District 23 Senator Kathy Sheran, who supports the “Oral Health Practitioner” bill, was “booked up” and unavailable that day.
It is certain that I will not miss another year’s Dental Day Event. Although this was the first meeting I have attended, it won’t be the last. A very interesting quote of the day came from Senator David Senjem: “The World is run by the people who show up.” A lot of us did!
District Members at the MDA Leadership Conference
The MDA Leadership Conference was held at the Minneapolis Gateway Hotel Friday, March 6, 2009. Various topics were discussed regarding the MDA’s legislative agenda and effects on dentistry of the Governor’s proposed budget cuts. Among
• Single administrator-dental home
Critical access dental payment program
• Elimination of adult dental care
• Reimbursement rate cuts
• Provider tax
• Dental therapist
Sixty-eight participants were expected at this meeting. In addition to myself, the other dentists in attendance from the Southern District were Ed Mc Niece and Grant Sorenson from Worthington, Steve Danielson from Lamberton, and Tim Flor from Waseca.
Among the many interesting things discussed at this meeting, one topic that stood out and amused me was the situation that results when people feel that they cannot afford dentistry. These people do not come into our offices for general check-ups, but instead wait until things are so bad that they go to an Emergency Room due to the pain. There they are prescribed amoxicillin and Vicodin. This visit costs the state $500, whereas the same visit at a dental office would be a fraction of the cost! It is a difficult set of circumstances to deal with from every vantage point. From many years of practicing dentistry, I have found that human behavior is very difficult to change. Regardless of what we do for them, some people just wait until there is pain to be treated and then would, again, end up in the Emergency Room.
2833 Lexington Avenue North #D
Roseville, MN 55113
Looking for Solid Footing
Hola! We once again have much to report from the Student District. Our organization has been very active in recent months, striving to better our profession and improve the dental school experience for our members. Among all our other activities, our senior students have just completed the pressure cooker that is the CRDTs Patient-Based Board Exam over the weekend of February 28-March 1. We congratulate them for their accomplishments, and wish them the best of luck as they make their post-graduation plans.
On Saturday, February 7, more than 250 students volunteered in the U of M’s Give Kids a Smile Event. We had a great turnout this year, and were able to provide more than $60,000 in free dental care services to 107 Minnesota children. We had many generous donations and sponsors, both of which kept us well supplied and well fed. This was all made possible by the tremendous work of the GKAS organizing committee and Chair Sheena Eken.
Eight U of M dental students traveled to our nation’s capital on February 11 and 12 to attend ASDA’s National Student Lobby Day. The students learned about pending legislation regarding methamphetamine and its impact on dentistry. The students then were able to visit the offices of five representatives in the House as well as having a face-to-face meeting with Senator Amy Klobuchar, our lone Minnesotan in the Senate. The students had a great time lobbying on behalf of dentistry and were given a glimpse of the importance of advocacy on a national level.
The Marriott City Center held ASDA’s annual G.V. Black Tie Dance February 20. The event went tremendously well, as almost 400 dental students, hygiene students, and their esteemed guests danced the night away. For many of the senior students, it was a great way to celebrate the coming graduation and unwind prior to patient-based boards. The hors d’oeuvres were delectable, the refreshments delightful, and the dental students visually stunning, as usual.
Dental Day at the Capitol was an incredibly important event for the future of dentistry in Minnesota. With a record number of dentists attending, 51 dental students joined the MDA in spreading the message about the challenges facing dentistry in the state of Minnesota. At the morning briefing, we were treated by visits from distinguished guests from both the Senate and House of Representatives. From both sides of the fence, the message was clear: The state is in for continued tough times, and all Minnesotans will have to share in the burden. The issues that were most critical in our efforts at the Capitol were maintaining adult dental coverage and the critical care access program, developing a single administrator for state-funded dental programs, as well as furthering the U of M’s dental therapist bill and cautioning against the opposing OHP proposal. It was truly inspiring to see so many young dental students with genuine interest and concern over the future of their profession and the professional manner in which they are taking ownership in its course. With strength in our grassroots efforts and steadfast advocacy, we can still be the leaders in improving dentistry for our patients, our colleagues, and our state.
Jeanni R. Foss
15167 Edgewood Drive, Suite 240
Baxter, Minnesota 56425
Up Crupt the Foggy Snow-Mist ...
We had a productive and well attended Midwinter Meeting again in Brainerd this year. Thanks to all of you for the great turnout. The lecture by Dr. David Basi, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon on staff at the University of Minnesota, on “Medical Emergencies and Bisphosphonates” was very well received. He is a wonderful speaker, and covered all of the topics very thoroughly. Thank goodness there was no need to revive any passed out Docs during or after the lecture.
We then introduced our new officers. John Foss, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Brainerd, is president; Kevin Dens, a general dentist in Baxter, is vice-president; and Dan Rose, a general dentist in Pillager, is our new MDA trustee. We will truly miss the wise and thoughtful leadership of outgoing trustee Robert Gardetto, and we thank him for all the years he has dedicated to this district. We know we are in good hands with Dr. Rose. We also thank Mike Steil for a great year of leadership as our past president. Well done, Mike!
The breakfast and meeting allowed all the dentists to talk about those who were not in attendance and make fun of them. (I was just seeing if you were paying attention!) The families of the dentists again mingled at lunch time, allowing our children to run wild and food fights to ensue. The children were then whisked away to the water park in order to rinse clean and avoid bath time for the evening. Great times were had by all. Evening brought a foggy snowy mist, out of which popped a scary clown. Why are clowns still in business? They really are kinda freaky. However, dentists’ kids seem to enjoy the freaks of nature, because they laughed and had a wonderful time participating in the show.
We look forward to more meetings like this one, and hope to continue to see growth in our District. We all appreciate the driving people undertake to get to these events, especially with the kiddies.
“Upcoming” we will have the Golf Outing in Alexandria to look forward to Friday, August 14, 2009. There were prizes last year, and I was the only one who didn’t win anything, so I am planning to return with determination to enter my name several times secretly when Rich Moen isn’t looking. We also may do one more event in the early summer, so if you have any suggestions, please e-mail Dr. John Foss at email@example.com.
Mixed Bag Left on E-Doorstep
Now, here is the good stuff: photos and gossip. I want to thank all of you who sent the numerous e-mails and photos. I understand that you really may want your photo published, but I took the job, so I get to select the best “mugs”. I will publish any photos that are submitted of the one Big Foot that was spotted in our District, as broadcast by the History Channel. I may even offer up some reward money for most interesting photos. Seriously, I do want to share the only photos submitted to me taken at the Crow Wing Duck Shoot event courtesy of Kevin Dens.
When It’s Just For You
Finally, I thought it would be interesting to share unique gifts given to dentists recently. The poem to your right was written by a 76-year-old patient and given to her dentist. She gave us permission to publish this; however, I will keep her name private.
Then there were the gnomes, also given as a gift to a dentist, hand-painted by a patient. The dentist who received them was a little paranoid that there were small microphones or bugs placed inside these little guys, so they put the gnomes in a closet wrapped tightly in a towel in order to muffle any secret discussions that occur in dental offices after all the patients are gone. Be careful of what you accept as gifts from patients. Always have your staff taste any cookies or jellies first!
Thanks for listening, and please submit any stories you have about friends or yourself relating to charity events. That will be the feature for next time. Oh, and if you are Norwegian or Lutheran or both and have a problem “bragging” about yourself at the moment, I will afford you three more invitations in order for you to build the courage to “brag”!
Out With the Old, In With the New
Day One Dental Appt. Teeth out and new ones in,
Bloated from cheeks to chin.
Blood - You Betcha! Quite a lot!
Pain constant. Believe it or not.
Laughing gas and novocaine.
Higher than a kite; lots of pain.
Three hours of extraction and such,
I’ve had it. It’s too much!
Day Two Black and blue, lips to chin.
Ice and tea bags; let treatment begin.
Day Three Dental Appt. Adjustments; I’ll survive!
No pain pills so far; able to drive.
Day Four No-no’s: smoking, spitting, alcohol.
Don’t smoke or imbibe; spitting a lot.
Two boxes of Kleenex; will it ever stop?
Day Five Beginning to see the light, Amen.
What an ordeal, what a fight!
Should have won the BIG ONE.
No ego trip. Lucrative, Wow! No Fun.
Back in circulation - whenever?
YOU BETCHA - I’m Polish!