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The Week That Was Blog: October 16-20

By Paul Roberts

October 20, 2023

866 Highway Miles

Not all travel weeks are created equal, and this one was quite unusual. I started to feel like Carmen Sandiego, “Where in the world am I?” It was a lot of windshield time, but also a great week with members on a variety of fronts.

UMKC Scholarship Dinner

The week started Monday in Kansas City for the annual UMKC SOD Scholarship Dinner. This year, MDA Foundation Vice Chair, Dr. Kirk Opdahl, joined me at our table along with three of our 2023-2024 winners: Shonte Reed, Shreya Patel and Nik Wickerhauser. We had a good time getting to visit on a personal level and also played some UMKC trivia. Thankfully, Dr. Ed Kavanaugh (57 years in ortho practice and still going strong) and his daughter, Dr. Kirby Kavanaugh, were at our table. They were able to provide some insight into the way back trivia questions. Each year it’s impressive to see the money raised through the Rinehart Foundation to help dental students. Plus, I was excited to see a brand new scholarship offered this year from an MDA member and past president: The Dr. Prabu Raman and Moon Wi Raman Scholarship.

Jot Down to Joplin

I made a late night drive to Joplin so I could play a round of golf the next morning  with 50-year member, Dr. Mike Fitterling. He brought along some regular playing partners, and we all enjoyed a beautiful day on the course. I like seeing members outside their practice. Plus it’s good to get a feel for what all has changed in 50 years. After golf, Margie Fitterling, joined us for lunch. She was an awesome hospitality chair at MOMOM 2017. We had lots to talk about from tornado recovery, to kids, to Barry Manilow.

Later that evening I joined nine Southwest Dental Society New Dentists for a social gathering. It’s neat to see so may younger docs making connections and learning more about involvement in the MDA. They seemed excited about future potential and events. Plus almost everyone won a prize. I guess it’s good news when they leave asking when is the next event. Thanks to Dr. Conner Paustian for leading this effort. And a shout out to all who attended in the group photo: Drs. Erinne Kennedy, Ricardo Lemus, Sofyan Sayfo, Jay Brown, Conner Paustian, Parth Patel, Blake Roberts, and Trey Kalbaugh.

NDN Takes On Wellness

I drove home Wednesday to catch up and jump on the New Dentist Network Zoom call. This was an inaugural effort to share some content and get some feedback. Our topics were recent updates from MDA President Elect, Dr. Jon Copeland, and Wellness from Ms. Rebecca Mowen, LSCW, who runs point for our Voluntary Wellness Program. She shared some useful stress tips and listened to group feedback on how to continue raising awareness within the dental community so people feel free and safe to seek help at any point in their journey.

UMKC FFT and Vendor Fair

Thursday morning, it was back on the road with Jerri Wildhaber from MDIS as we hosted a Food for the Thought at the UMKC SOD. Over 110 students piled in for some good Chick-fil-A and a personal presentation from Dr. Richard Campos. He fielded a number of questions about his passions for public health and his knowledge on student loan repayment programs.

Later that afternoon, we exhibited at the Vendor Fair and saw many familiar friends who make up the larger dental family in Missouri. Plus a ton of students came by to say hello, learn about opportunities and snag some swag.

After a yummy Lidia’s dinner with MedPro and some awesome oral surgeon residents, we headed home.

It was quite a week, but it demonstrated the full range of membership from students to retirees. We have a great MDA family!

The Week Ahead

After a little breather to start the week and get caught up, we head to St. Louis for a FFT with ATSU students and then a stop at Greater St. Louis Dental Society for their awesome Mid Continent Dental Congress. I’m sure we will see and interact with many members there. Then the week ends with many MDA reps attending the Missouri Dental Board meeting where the newest EFDA curriculum will be reviewed. It marks a deadline after many long days and collaborative efforts from a lot of people. Excited to see how it goes!

Also don’t miss the chance to vote for not one but two Missouri member offices that have been selected as finalists in the ADA’s Design Innovation Awards: Bennett Family Dentistry (Dr. Ross Bennett), Cape Girardeau (new build-out) and North Kansas City Dental (Drs. Bill Busch, Tucker VanYperen, Caitlyn Hall, Vince Riggio, Anna Everson and Jimmy Dixon), North Kansas City (remodel). Missouri members often shine at the national level, and it’s neat to see these members’ practices given a nod in this contest. It’s no small feat to build new and remodel old offices, so congrats to them no matter how it goes down, but you can help them win a thousand bucks and some good media coverage if you take just a minute to vote. Voting ends October 31.

Quote of the Week

Roads were made for journeys, not destinations.” — Confucius