When was the last time you read the MDA’s mission statement? For many of you it may have been quite some time. If it has been some time, please allow me to reacquaint you with our mission. It reads as follows: “The MDA is the professional association of dentists committed to serving as a trusted, credible resource to the public and to supporting the profession through innovation, advocacy and education.” I highlight our mission statement to convey to you the two core fundamental reasons the MDA exists. Simply put, the MDA exists to (1) be a resource to the general public, and (2) to support and promote the profession. Every activity the MDA engages in can be traced back to the two core reasons for our existence. Your very dedicated Board of Trustees, coupled with the dedication of the MDA staff, continually strive to advance the mission of the Association.
In my last President’s Message, I highlighted the many positive changes at the MDA, from staff and committee restructuring to improved processes in accounting practices and internal operations. We continue to work hard on implementing changes designed to best utilize the limited resources our organization (or any organization for that matter) has, both human and financial. I am reminded of the old saying, “the only constant is change”. If we as an organization are to remain relevant in the future, we must embrace change and shed any fear of charting new courses. I assure you that your Board of Trustees is focused on being a good fiscal steward of the Association’s resources.
In this edition of Northwest Dentistry, I’d like to update you on a handful of activities the MDA is engaged in on behalf of the profession.
• In October MDA leaders participated in the ADA’s annual House of Delegates in San Francisco. As highlighted in the most recent MDA News, our Minnesota delegation included me along with Drs. Michelle Bergsrud, Tim Flor, Michael Perpich, Dan Rose, Roger Sjulson, Howard Taylor, Bruce Templeton, and Michael Zakula. In addition, we had alternate delegates in Drs. Julie Clouse, Patrick Foy, Travis Schmitt, and James Zenk. With such a fine slate of representatives, the MDA and the 10th District were well represented. Your MDA delegation participated in some of the most highly debated resolutions and worked to ensure that proposed ADA dues increases were as low as possible while being fiscally responsible.
• In November, the MDA participated in the ASDA Student Vendor Fair. MDA President-Elect Michael Perpich, Executive Director Carmelo Cinqueonce, Director of Membership Services Dawn Jensen, and Executive Assistant Linda Fomasina were on hand to speak with students about the importance of membership and organized dentistry. In addition, last month the MDA hosted a “Street of Realities” tour in which students boarded a bus from the MDA headquarters and toured solo and group dental practices in the Rochester area for a firsthand exposure to different practice models. MDA leaders will also be participating in the upcoming ASDA meeting to be held at the MDA headquarters. Events and activities of this nature are an example of the MDA’s continued effort to reach out to students.
• This very publication will have some minor changes. A renewed focus of the Journal will be to better highlight the work of the MDA and its charitable subsidiary, the Minnesota Dental Foundation. See highlights in this issue about 2012 grant recipients and watch for future articles about key charitable dentistry programs supported by the Foundation.
• Our Board of Dentistry task force continues to maintain an impressive presence at all meetings of the Board of Dentistry.
• In 2013 the MDA will become very familiar with Bemidji, which is the site for the 2013 Minnesota Mission of Mercy program in June and the MDA House of Delegates meeting in September. Discussions are underway with the city to ensure that the MDA will be graciously welcomed during the two events and that Bemidji will have the opportunity to showcase its beautiful community to all attendees.
• The Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) continues its work on a report looking at the MA program and dentist participation. The three core questions the report seeks to address are: (1) To what extent do Minnesota dentists participate in the MA program? (2) Does Minnesota’s MA program have reasonable payment rates for dentists? and (3) What has been the impact of payment rates on levels of participation by dentists in the MA program? Many dentists across the state have provided much of the data, and I personally provided information requested by the OLA. We expect the report to be completed in January, 2013.
As you can see, we are off to a busy start with initiatives at the MDA focused on fulfilling our mission and working to ensure the future viability of our profession. I look forward to seeing many of you in the months ahead as I travel throughout the state, and I welcome your feedback on how we are doing. Together we can accomplish great things.
*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.