March-April 2014
Volume 93 - Number 2

Find Your Way by the Star of the North

Development of a National TMJ Implant Registry and Repository - NICDR's TIRR

The Thought That Counts

Golden: Recognizing the MDA's 25-Year Members and Retirees


Letters to the Editor


Communications to “Letters to the Editor” are the opinions solely of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Northwest Dentistry, the Minnesota Dental Association, the Publications Committee or Nortwest Dentistry editorial staff. Letters will be accepted by
e-mail at info@mndental.org.



October 23, 2007

To the Editors,

On behalf of head football coach Jim Galvin and myself, thank you for publishing the article “Adolescent Athletes:  Perspectives for Dental Practitioners” in your September-October issue. 

Daily we are made aware of the use of performance enhancing drugs in sports. At the high school level, we are starting to hear more and more of these chemicals. Hopefully we are ahead of the curve in educating our participants prior to having the opportunity for them to use performance enhancing drugs. At the professional and collegiate levels, the educating took place after they realized they were in the middle of an epidemic.

Drug testing is an option that is used in states around the country.  Not without controversy, however.  It is encouraging to learn that we have dentists as a source of information on the dangers involved in performance enhancement drug use. It is also encouraging to know that dentists, as a group of professionals, are monitoring signs of use of these dangerous drugs in adolescents.

Thank you for sharing this article.

Sincerely,

Bob Madison
Activities Director

Mounds View High School
Mounds View, Minnesota

 

 

Editor’s Note: The following was submitted as a personal viewpoint offering. It is presented under the guidelines which govern Letters to
the Editor.

 

October, 2007

To the Editors,

As the MDA Marketplace Committee chair, I am required to attend the House of Delegates session in case questions arise dealing with marketplace related resolutions. So as a proper committee chair, I have attended the last two yearly House of Delegates sessions. I have watched with interest the operation of the House of Delegates, the staff, the election of officers, and the Board of Trustees. Collectively, they, along with their various interactions with the membership and each other, can be called our internal marketplace.

The internal marketplace operates in much the same manner as the external marketplace, with transactions occurring between the members of that marketplace. These transactions are referred to as “exchanges” in the parlance of the business marketing literature. An example of a successful exchange is when I, as a member, phone the executive director for information on an insurance company,and he provides that information to me. An unsuccessful exchange is where I, again as a member, might present a problem to my district trustee, who might act like the request for the solution to the problem is nonsense; however, nonetheless, states that he will “look into it”. The issue does not surface from the trustee again.

Successful exchanges occur in efficient markets. Now, before you doze off, stay tuned for a few more minutes. It occurs to me that our internal marketplace is far from efficient, not because of bad people, but because of antiquated and flawed processes. Why do we care? So what if our internal market (our governance processes) are inefficient? Aren’t they good enough?

The answer to the last question, “Aren’t they good enough?”, depends on your point of view. If our governance processes, our internal marketplace, can be made more efficient, we can perhaps deal more effectively in the external marketplace with managed care, government, economic strife, etc. For that matter, internal marketplace efficiency may help us deal more efficiently with each other within the MDA. To some, an efficient internal marketplace is one that is quiet – no waves. To some of the rest of us, waves once in a while are a good thing. What I am driving at is, perhaps there is a better way for us to pick our leaders and run our organization to promote an improved, and perhaps, more efficient, internal marketplace.

In a phone conversation with our Executive Director, Dick Diercks, on September 21, 2007, I asked Dick how the person who will enter the MDA presidential chairs (Second Vice-President) is chosen. He stated that the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees develops a list of potential candidates, and this list is presented to the Board of Trustees for selection. This person is then added to the slate of candidates already in the chairs for the various offices, and presented to the House of Delegates for a vote. If there were opposition to any of those on the slate, another candidate can be nominated from the floor of the House of Delegates, but that person will need at least two delegates, one to nominate and one to second him or her, to be considered at all. How should that process sit with the rank and file MDA members? The process seems to beg the question, “Isn’t this a set-up for insider/buddy selection?”

The process seems far removed from real grass roots representation. Do any of us really know where the incoming Second Vice-President stands on the issues, or the other officers for that matter? Do the delegates really know? I’ll bet not. Do all of the trustees know? Maybe. Perhaps, the only one who really knows is the executive director. And if he is the only one, is it proper for him to pick our leaders?

Now you ask, why am I picking on Dick? I am not. I am picking on a process. Is it possible that part-time MDA officers would look to a full-time staff leader and say, “Who are we going to get to run for second vice-president this year?” And is it not also possible that the staff leader provides a list of names?

Is it possible that none of the trustees or officers is truly familiar with all the philosophical positions of the various candidates for office? I think so. Do you think they rely on staff for recommendations for the list? Perhaps. Do you think staff will choose candidates who are independent and hard charging, and perhaps prickly, for benefit of the members? Maybe. Or will they choose candidates who do not make waves, and are easy to work with? 

Is it proper for the administrative governing board, our trustees, to choose their successors? Does this action smack of the Ole Boys’ Club and group-think behavior? Should a good leader/officer serve only one year, or should it be possible to re-elect an effective leader? What are the ethical implications that come into play within an organization with a limited governing selection structure?

Lots of questions can be asked about the governance process. The impact of those questions affect that process’ efficiency in that internal marketplace, and it would appear that the governance process should be looked at from time to time to better represent the membership to ultimately provide an efficient advocacy organization. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see the officers, trustees, and senior staff out in the hinterlands to visit with the members about everyday problems and frustrations? I am not talking about visiting at dental meetings. I am talking about visiting the doctor at his office in Luverne, or Ely, or Roseau. The needs of our members in the internal marketplace are different because they reside in different external marketplaces. Do we need to take a look at our internal governance processes with an eye toward internal marketplace efficiency? How about it?

 Sincerely,

 Cameron J. Jayson, D.D.S.
 202 5th Avenue South
 Virginia, Minnesota 55792






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