The Strategic Environment

The Strategic Environment

James K. Zenk, D.D.S.*:
One of my passions in March is following college basketball. I enjoy the skill level and team play that makes one team more successful than another. The fundamentals of the game of  basketball stay constant, but the plays, strategies, and plan of attack are constantly changing.
 
I can relate this passion to the ADA. The fundamentals — our core values — don’t change, but our plan of attack — our strategic plan — needs to change as our environment changes. We are constantly trying to make our association better and make our members more successful.
 
Core Values
These past several months, the leadership of the ADA has been trying to put our core values to paper and give them definitions. The five core values that are constant and by which  we need to live as officers, leaders, staff, and members of the ADA are as follow: 
1. Commitment to Members: The ADA is dedicated to meeting the needs of a diverse and professional membership by providing highly responsive service that supports the success of  the member throughout his or her career.
2. Integrity: The ADA adheres to the highest ethical standards of conduct in leading the profession, serving our members, and advancing the oral health of the public. 
3. Excellence: The ADA demands excellence in all we do by striving for continuous improvement, preserving an educated profession, and offering the highest quality products and  services. 
4. Commitment to the Public: The ADA is dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and wellness of the public through the prevention of disease, the provision of the highest  quality care, and advocating for optimal oral health for all. 
5. Science/Evidence-Based: The ADA believes in knowledge-based decision making driven by the best understanding of the science and evidence available. From these fundamental  beliefs we can evaluate our current strategic plan, which was designed to carry us through 2014. It is now our charge to begin planning for an updated strategic plan that will lead us to the next decade. Over the next year, watch for information gathering from our membership and our external environment as our Strategic Plan Committee develops a new plan to  be implemented in 2015. Our world is ever changing, and we need to be nimble and ahead of these changes.
 
Some of the key issues the ADA has been involved with since my last article are as follow: 
PR in Place
After an in-depth review process, the ADA has selected the firm of Fleishman-Hillard as the national public relations agency to help meet the public affairs, and communications needs  of the Association to enhance the image and advance the brand of the ADA. We need to continue to communicate the ADA’s vision of being the recognized leader on oral health. 
 
One Hundred Years of Excellence
This year marks the 100th year of publication of the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA). To commemorate its centennial, JADA is revisiting landmark articles that have  been published during its 100-year history. Each month, JADA will publish these historical articles in their entirety, along with a newly written commentary about the article. Watch for  and enjoy these pieces of dental history.
 
United Nations Mercury Treaty
The ADA is very pleased by the agreed-upon provision related to dental amalgam included in the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) proposed mercury treaty. Delegates from  more than 130 countries gathered in Geneva to develop the global treaty aimed at limiting emissions. Dental office best management practices established by the ADA can prevent up  to 99% of waste amalgam from entering the environment. Caries, the disease that causes tooth decay, afflicts 90% of the world’s population, making this a global public health issue.  The ADA is gratified that the treaty conditions pertaining to dental amalgam protect this important treatment option without restrictions for our patients while balancing the need to  protect the environment. Many dentists have made the individual choice to not offer amalgam as a restorative material, but our science still tells us that amalgam is a safe, durable,  and affordable treatment for tooth decay and needs to be available for people throughout the world. 
 
The ADA is also delighted that the proposed treaty recognizes the need for national programs to prevent oral disease, and calls for more research into developing new treatment  options. Long term, it is critically important to raise global awareness of the importance of oral health for overall health, including how to prevent dental diseases. Doing so decreases  the need for all cavityfilling and other restorative materials, including dental amalgam.
 
Give Kids a Smile 2013
We are also celebrating another successful Give Kids a Smile for 2013. The 11th year for the program found dental professionals throughout the country volunteering their time and talents and demonstrating once again their genuine compassion and concern for children in need. Please mark your calendars for the 2013 ADA Foundation Give Kids a Smile Gala to celebrate the success of this national event. The GKAS Gala will be held November 1 at the ADA Annual meeting in New Orleans. 
 
ADA Annual Session 2013
Speaking of the ADA Annual Session, please plan on attending! It would be great to spend Halloween with you in New Orleans at this year’s Annual Meeting. The ADA Annual Session  exhibit hall will be open Thursday, October 31, through Saturday, November 2. If you have never been to an ADA Annual Session, this year would be a great meeting to attend. The  ADA “Member-Get-a-Member” campaign kicked off in January. As ADA members, we know the value of our membership in helping us achieve career success and in strengthening our  profession. To keep our ADA strong and vital, we need to continually grow our membership. For more information, please check out www.ADA.org. If you recruit a non-member to join the  MDA/ADA, you will receive a $100 American Express gift card. This program will run until September.
 
New Growth on the Horizon
I am excited about spring, not just for March Madness and basketball tournaments but also for all the upcoming meetings. The Washington Leadership Conference will bring dental  leaders from the country to the U.S. Capitol to talk to our representatives and senators about our dental legislation. I will also be able to attend the annual meetings of Nebraska,  Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota. I am anxious to hear from dentists in our Tenth District and learn about all the successes they have been contributing. 
 
Thank you for allowing me to be your ADA Tenth District Trustee.  
 
 
 
*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.