As I begin my term as president of the Minnesota Dental Association, I would like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Michael Zakula (Zak) for his outstanding leadership during the past year. Zak and I developed a special bond, built on trust and friendship, that saw us through a challenging but very rewarding year at the MDA! His unwavering determination, boundless energy, and dedication to our members were exemplary and will forever be appreciated. I look forward to working with the returning and new members of the Board of Trustees, and I would like to especially thank retiring members Drs. Ed McNiece and Donna Stenberg for their service on the Board. It has been my pleasure to serve with both of them. I would also like to welcome aboard the 2012-2013 Executive Committee, Drs. Michael Perpich, Dan Rose, Pete Cannon, Howard Taylor, and Travis Schmitt, along with the entire MDA staff.
If you haven’t noticed, the MDA has changed and retooled with additional new staff. Under the direction of our new Executive Director Carmelo Cinqueonce, we have realigned with five directors who oversee Administration, Communications, Government Affairs, Membership Services, and Meetings, spreading the work load and allowing our staff to be more efficient and engaged and allowing for more opportunities to expand our membership benefits.
The MDA has also changed its accounting practices, and I want to give a lot of credit to our treasurer, Dr. Travis Schmitt, who has done an outstanding job! He has displayed creativity and fiscal responsibility by saving on daily expenditures, expanding non-dues revenue, and negotiating with our endorsed vendors for better products and royalties, just to name a few.
As part of the changes happening at the MDA, there is also a restructuring of our committees occurring. To begin, some committees will remain as is, including the Scientific Session; Environment and Safety; Constitution, Bylaws, and Ethics; Legislative Affairs; MINDENPAC; Peer Review; and the Evidence-Based Dentistry Task Force. The Insurance and Affinity Products Committee will now simply become Affinity Products, with a focus on looking for better opportunities to expand endorsed products and creating more non-dues revenue. We will also look for ways to increase membership awareness of endorsed products.
A new Barriers to Care Committee will be formed, combining the previous Children’s Health, Elderly & Special Needs Adult Health, and Rural Health Committees. This new Barriers to Care Committee will send a central message that our patients of any age deserve better dental health care. We need a strong and clear message that dental care is a fundamental requirement of state programs and the Affordable Care Act that is scheduled to begin in 2014. Working with a unified voice, this new committee can send the proper message to our legislature.
Another committee change involves merging of the New Dentist and Membership Committees. There is no doubt that the future of the MDA lies with our new dentists, and combining these committees will provide an enhanced focus on projects and services dedicated to targeting new members for recruitment, particularly those who have entered the profession in the last ten years. Working together, we can enhance our membership outreach endeavors and, most importantly, the services we provide all our members.
The Public Relations Committee will continue its outreach to both the membership and the general public. The MDA website will be redesigned to be more user friendly and to provide more current and relevant information for our members, as well as to provide information that will help the public make healthier choices and broaden their awareness of our Association and the profession.
The Board of Dentistry Task Force will continue its operations and will incorporate the work of the Dental Education Committee to assist them in their mission.
The Publications Committee will continue its fine work now under a new name, the Northwest Dentistry Editorial Advisory Board.
Finally, I will be forming a Mission of Mercy Committee that will address the cooperative efforts of the Minnesota Dental Foundation and the MDA in achieving their mutual goals of serving underserved populations through charitable dentistry programs.
Reducing the number of committees as we are will result in easier scheduling, staffing, and budgeting. Their missions will be integrated to help produce results that will advance the MDA’s overall mission to promote its members.
Our future depends on meeting the needs of the next generation of dentists, but we must demonstrate value to all our members. In order to deliver value to our members, we must develop a bond of trust. With trust we will be more able to advance the goals of the Minnesota Dental Association. This kind of trust can make all of our experiences with the Association more rewarding. I thank all of you for your commitment to the Minnesota Dental Association. I am honored to be your president, and I will work to the best of my ability to serve the members of the Association. Together we’ll have a great year.
*Dr. Flynn is the 2012-2013 president of the Minnesota Dental Association. He is a general dentist in private practice in Lewiston, Minnesota. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org