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The Week That Was Blog: January 23-26

By Paul Roberts

January 26, 2024

Open House Provides Formal Launch for the EFDA Training Center

Last night approximately 25 guests ranging from EFDA trainers to MDA Board members to dental supply and construction partners were on hand for a reception celebrating the opening of the EFDA Training Center here at the MDA Headquarters. Guests heard a brief welcome message from MDA Executive DirectorVicki Wilbers, and then enjoyed light refreshments as they checked out the equipment and sterilization area. A brief presentation repeated on the wall-mounted instruction TV that gave thanks to the generous component and individual donors that helped bring this vision to life. I was able to corral a photo with keystone donor MDIS (Dr. JC Standlee and Jerri Wildhaber) plus discount equipment supplier and guru, Chad Wind of Burkhardt Dental and individual donors, Dr. Ron Wilkerson and Dr. Jon Copeland. There was a joyous tone in the air as people visited with one another and imagined all the opportunities this facility will provide. We welcome any member to stop by and check it out. For more information on the entire EFDA program, click here.

Dental School Deans Highlight the Board of Trustees Meeting

Earlier today the MDA Board met and, as is custom for the January meeting, they were joined via Zoom by the deans of Missouri’s three dental schools. Each one provided a brief report on school successes and challenges as well as a preview of upcoming priorities. A common struggle is the faculty shortage. Who will serve to train the next generation? We are unique in a state this size to have three dental schools who by the year 2027 will be graduating close to 250 dentists each year. While maybe only half of these grads will stay in Missouri, there’s a lot of mutual benefit from having a strong working relationship with each school. It’s great to have this dialogue of leaders and we appreciate the time provided by Dr. Jay Haas, UMKC School of DentistryDr. Dwight Mcleod, Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health; and Dr. Linda Niessen, KCU College of Dental Medicine.

There was plenty more to cover at the BOT meeting including a report on Dental Day at the Capitol scheduled for March 6. Join the 60+ attendees who’ve already registered – we still need more. You can register until February 12, which gives us time to plan and make appointments. There was also a sobering challenge to support MODentPACHalie PayneMDA Professional Affairs Director, drove home the importance of in-person attendance on Dental Day and the vital necessity of keeping our PAC well-funded – especially in an election year. Elected official always recall those who support their campaign. This is beneficial as they rise through the ranks and hold influential positions that affect our legislative priorities. I bet each of us squanders a $20 bill monthly on coffee, snacks, lotto tickets and other impulse buys. Just imagine if more members would give $250 a year ($20 x 12) to PAC. It would dramatically increase our efforts and probably not be noticed by you in the big picture. We make it even easier with a monthly auto debit feature. Something to ponder.

Also on the agenda was a legislative report from the MDA Team which includes Jorgen SchlemeierVicki WilbersDr. Ron WilkersonHalie PayneNikki Strong and Grace Riley. The BOT heard from the Rural Initiative Committee which is exploring resources to foster provider growth in places where the previous generation is retiring without anyone to take their practice. The BOT voted on annual awards which will be announced by March 1. And they also started to prepare for the March 6 MDA Leadership Summit by learning more about changes coming at the ADA level and how that may impact changes at MDA in order to remain a powerful voice for the profession and a valuable benefit for members of every age, demographic and practice setting. There’s always a lot going on, so kudos to MDA PresidentDr. Jeremy Bowen for leading the way.

Big Times in St. Louis

Last Saturday I attended the Greater St. Louis Dental Society Installation and Awards Ceremony at swanky Piazza Messina in Cottleville. Not only was it great to see so many great members in their finest duds, but it was also a photo-rich opportunity. With any apologies for unintended oversights, here is a brief recap of the many photos you can peruse. In the awards portion, Dr. Craig Hollander, new president of Give Kids a Smile, provided special recognition to Dr. Tom Flavin for his years of service. Outgoing GSLDS President, Dr. Megan Lenahan, presented the Award of Merit to Dr. Greg Casalone for his work with the Arch Diocese Rural Parish Dental Van. Dr. Casalone was on a cruise around the tip of South America so his colleague, Dr. John Landgraf, accepted on his behalf. Dr. Lenahan also presented the Distinguished Service Award to Dr. Robyn HayesDr. Joe Shea presented the Humanitarian Award to a humble Dr. Herb Silva for his work with veterans. Former MDA President, Dr. Mark Zust, presented the Gold Medal Award to a deserving Dr. Craig Hollander for all he does for children at the local, state and national levels. I know and admire each of these outstanding people and applaud their rightful recognition.

After a nice meal and before the let loose dance party, there was the matter of installing officers. MDA President Elect, Dr. Jon Copeland, did the honors of swearing in Dr. Elizabeth Fassler, Dr. Emily HahnDr. Jennifer Wheeler, and incoming President, Dr. Andrew Bruening. Dr. Copeland also presented Dr. Lenahan a plaque from the MDA commemorating her service to the component. It was a fun time made even more fun by the proud and humorous emcee, Dr. Carissa Bruening, who is both business partner and wife to Andrew. Whew, that’s a lot of names and honors but I’m happy to be included and to share with the wider membership. Kudos to all!

Speaking on Service

I was back in St. Louis on Tuesday at the request of MOSDOH ASDA students who were sponsoring a lunch about dental service opportunities. I was delighted to share with them facts about the current access need in Missouri, detail a variety of existing efforts with different approaches and target audiences and challenge them to think of all that goes into providing charitable dental service. It’s more than just desire. In fact, the MDA Foundation is currently tossing this same idea around as we try to leverage our resources wisely. I enjoyed it and I appreciate the kindness of being invited. I hope it sparked some motivation among the students.

The Week Ahead

Don’t look now, but we will already be in February by next Friday. There are no travel items on the calendar so a blog entry may be skipped. No one likes to read about Zoom meetings, right?

Quote of the Week

“Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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