First Things First

First Things First

James K. Zenk, D.D.S.*:
On October 23 at the 153rd Annual Session of the American Dental Association in San Francisco, I began a new journey — being installed as your new 10th District ADA trustee. It is an  honor and very humbling to be asked, nominated, and elected by our ADA 10th District delegation to follow Dr. Ed Vigna as your next ADA trustee. 
 
We all need to give Dr. Vigna a huge “thank you” for the superb four years he has devoted to being our trustee! During his term he spent countless hours attending meetings, traveling,  researching, studying, and communicating the thousands of issues needing attention during his tenure. Ed has been an excellent mentor, and I will do my best to follow up on all the “heavy  lifting” he has accomplished.
 
Throughout this past year, since my nomination, the ADA has been preparing me on the current issues and decisions so I can hit the ground running. As you have followed in Dr. Vigna’s ADA reports in Northwest Dentistry, many important issues have been addressed this past year by the ADA Board of Trustees. The establishment of a new strategic plan and goals for the ADA, an  improved budgeting process, the prioritization of issues, governance studies, advocacy, workforce, and how to interpret the new Alternative Care Act for health care reform are just a few of  the big issues the leadership of the ADA have had on their collective plate.
 
The ADA House of Delegates (HOD) met in San Francisco October 19 through 23. A big “thank you” goes to our ADA 10th District delegation from Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, North  Dakota, and Nebraska for the tremendous amount of preparation that was needed for this meeting. Our Minnesota contingent consisted of nine delegates: Drs. Michelle Bergsrud, Tim Flor, Michael Flynn, Michael Perpich, Dan Rose, Roger Sjulson, Howard Taylor, Bruce Templeton, and Michael Zakula. There were also four alternate delegates: Drs. Julie Clouse, Patrick Foy, Travis  Schmitt, and myself. Attending his first ADA Annual meeting and HOD, our MDA Executive Director Mr. Carmelo Cinqueonce was fantastic at communicating our crazy schedules and keeping  us on track.  To complete the 10th District delegation, we had five delegates and five alternate delegates, the Executive Director of the Iowa Dental Association, three delegates and three  alternate delegates and the Executive Director from Nebraska, two delegates and one alternate delegate and the Executive Director from North Dakota, and two delegates and two alternate  delegates from South Dakota.
 
Hundreds of resolutions and reports had to be discussed and debated in caucus, reference committees, and on the floor of the HOD. Some of the main decisions debated and passed at the  HOD had to do with the following: governance of the ADA, the budget, evaluation of ADA properties, workforce and the ADA Community Dental Health Coordinator (CDHC) program, public relations programs to enhance the image and advance the reputation and brand of the ADA, dental education and student debt, licensure exams, criteria used for application of a dental specialty, strategizing on advocacy of third party issues, review of ADA bylaws, and, after many hours of debate, a modest $10 dues increase. 
 
This was the first ADA HOD that was supposed to be totally electronic using ADA Connect. In the transition, it was still possible to request the HOD manual and complete book of policy and  resolutions in the written form. For completeness in preparation for my new trustee position, I ordered the written form in support of my efforts at mastering the manipulations of the  electronic information. We could access all the resolutions and information from our computers, i-pads, or even our smart phones. There are still many “bugs” to be worked out to be totally  electronic for next year, but all in all it worked well versus carrying around a 20-pound notebook.
 
Our new ADA president for 2012-13 is Dr. Robert Faiella. Dr. Faiella is a periodontist from Osterville, Massachusetts. Elections were held for our new ADA president-elect, Speaker of the HOD, and ADA Treasurer. They are Dr. Charles Norman, Greeensboro, North Carolina, president-elect; Dr. Glen Hall, Abilene, Texas, Speaker of the House; and Dr. Ronald Lemmo, Willoughby Hills,  Ohio, Treasurer.  Please check out your last issues of the ADA News for their complete biographies.
 
My first Board of Trustees meeting followed the last meeting of the HOD on October 23. At this meeting I was introduced to the other five new trustees, the 12 existing trustees, our new  officers, our ADA Executive Director Dr. Kathleen O’Loughlin, and many ADA staff members. The main discussion at this meeting was Dr. Faiella making his assignments for liaisons to the 11  ADA councils, the standing committees of the Board of Trustees, and several other committee assignments. To refresh your memory of all the ADA officers, trustees, councils, committees,  their members and chairpersons, and ADA staff, I direct you to the opening pages of every JADA and to our website. If you have an interest in serving on an ADA council or committee in the future, please let me know so that I can place your name for consideration when selections are made. 
 
ADA Annual Sessions are not just all work for your officers and delegates. The Distinguished Speaker Series, this year featuring Robert Reich and George F. Will, gave an excellent and colorful  review of the U.S. political climate. Time spent at the convention exhibit hall with the other 35,000 convention attendees made the more than 500 vendor booths happy. New technology was  featured, and the ability to try everything displayed made it easy to add it to your shopping bag. 
 
Health screenings, hundreds of CE classes to choose from, along with sightseeing tours and plenty of social time with friends made for a memorable week. If you have never been to an ADA  Annual Session, I invite you to join me next October in New Orleans. 
 
I look forward to representing you as our 10th District ADA trustee, and am excited for this four-year journey. I welcome your suggestions, concerns, and help. Thank you for your support. 
 
 
*Dr. Zenk is the Trustee to the Tenth District of the American Dental Association, representing Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. He is a general dentist in  Montevideo, Minnesota. Email is zenkj@ada.org