Have you ever driven from Dallas through rural Louisiana in the middle of the night? My husband and I had the honor of such an excursion when our connection into New Orleans was cancelled late in the evening on our way to the ADA New Dentist Conference. However, such a disturbance could not prevent us from renting a car and driving eight hours to reach our destination*. We were headed to the Big Easy: a city of history, culture, rebirth, and about 150 new dentists looking for some education and entertainment.
The 22nd ADA New Dentist Conference was held June 26-28 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Conference attendees came from nearly every state, though there was a large contingency from the southern United States. Other MDA members in attendance included Laura Beth Menser and Ryan Clouse. Our Hilton Riverside was nicely situated on the Mississippi River just two blocks from the famous French Quarter; an ideal spot for hosting a conference with a location that allowed for easy exploration.
The Keynote address was delivered by Dr. Eric Hovland, Dean of the LSU School of Dentistry. He described the destruction and rebirth of the LSU School of Dentistry since the landing of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The school was temporarily moved into an abandoned biomedical research center in Baton Rouge until its reopening two years later. Students and staff were housed nearby on a docked Baltic cruise ship and in FEMA trailers, and utilized dental equipment generously sponsored by the dental industry. The LSU tale is of triumph and ingenuity in the face of adversity.
Continuing education courses were provided for all in attendance. All three MDA members enrolled in the ADA-Pankey sponsored courses led by Drs. LeeAnn Bradley and Steve Ratcliff of the Pankey Institute. Topics covered in the two-day course included comprehensive case sequencing and treatment planning, as well as predictable restorative dentistry. The courses were well presented with an interactive lecture format. Recordings of all the lectures are available at ADA.org.
Of course, there was fun to be had after conference hours. The ADA sponsored an evening outing on the Steamboat Natchez for cocktails, Cajun dinner, and entertainment. Other highlights included a late night trip to Café Du Monde for beignets and coffee, walking Bourbon Street on a late Saturday night, the explosive afternoon thunderstorms that paralyze all movement in the city, the city’s restored cemeteries, seeing alligators on a Honey Island swamp tour, and fine Creole dining. More sobering was a tour of the city with a local resident, revealing that most of the city still stands derelict and abandoned. The spirit of New Orleans’ residents keeps this special city alive, vibrant, and welcoming to all those who visit.
The New Dentist Committee hopes that you will consider attending next year’s 23rd Annual New Dentist Conference in Miami, Florida, from April 30 to May 2, 2009.
*Dr. Clouse is a general dentist in private practice in New Brighton, Minnesota. E-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.