Spring finally did arrive, and with it came another passing of the MDA’s Star of the North Meeting. With more than 8,700 in attendance this April, our meeting is one of the best in the country. In fact, among state dental associations, we rank in the top five in attendance nationwide. The Star of the North is a great venue for dental professionals from throughout Minnesota and beyond to come together for fellowship and education. The hard work of the Scientific Session Committee is evident through the quality speakers and a top notch exhibit floor showcasing vendors of interest to dental professionals.
Our show is also an opportunity to highlight the MDA’s award winners. This year’s honorees are:
• Thomas McCarter, Guest of Honor
• Laura Eng, Outstanding Service Award
• Kimberly Rauk, New Dentist Leadership Award
• John Conry, Humanitarian Service Award
• Jack Churchill, President’s Award
These honorees were hosted at the President’s Reception during the meeting.
Over the course of the SON, I was given the opportunity to address the Minnesota Dental Hygienist Association’s House of Delegates, bringing greetings from the MDA. This opportunity is another example of the MDA’s continued efforts to foster and build relationships with stakeholders.
I would like to personally thank our 3,400-plus members for renewing their dues. Without that support, organized dentistry could not do the good work that it does. I know firsthand the ADA is very much concerned with membership and the declining share of dentists willing to join organized dentistry. This past year the MDA experienced an increase in the number of members year over year, but like most other state dental associations, saw a slight tick downward in market share. Despite this downward tick, as of March 2013, the MDA maintains a 72.1% market share, second in similar-sized dental associations, and 12th across all state dental associations. ADA market share is 52.2%. State dental associations range from a low of 1.1% to 90.4%. Although we expect our numbers and the corresponding market share to reach 76%, keeping pace with previous years, we must fully recognize that membership is of the utmost importance in maintaining a strong voice. Please urge any colleague who is not a member to come be a part of organized dentistry and help make the MDA a premier organization.
We have had a very aggressive legislative session. The countless meetings with key legislators supported by reports from the Office of the Legislative Auditor and the Minnesota Department of Public Health have helped us educate policy makers on the pressing issues impacting dentistry. Yes, the legislature failed to fully embrace
proposed solutions; solutions that if implemented would without question address any barriers to care that may exist. But our fight is not over. With your support we will continue to make our position known, louder and clearer than ever before … of that I am certain.
Not only are we engaged at the state level, but the MDA is very much engaged at the federal level. In May, President-Elect Mike Perpich, ADA 10th District Trustee Jim Zenk, MDA Executive Director Carmelo Cinqueonce, and I attended the ADA Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. Together we visited the office of every member of Congress to highlight those issues important to organized dentistry.
As we move toward summer, the MDA and the Minnesota Dental Foundation (MDF), along with countless volunteers, are gearing up for the second Minnesota Mission of Mercy event. This year’s event is scheduled for June 14 and 15 in Bemidji. More information on this tremendous program is available on the MDA website www.mndental .org. I invite you all to make a commitment to this year’s event. I know it will be a rewarding experience.
As you can imagine, the MDA has had a busy spring (prolonged winter). Whether working on legislative and regulatory matters, putting on a premier annual session, or working on member recruitment and retention efforts, the MDA is your organization, and I am proud to be serving as your president.
*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 email@example.com.