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The Week That Was: February 26-March 1

By Paul Roberts

March 1, 2024

MU Pre-Dental Club – A Taste for the Future

This past Tuesday, I took with me Devin Jungmeyer, MDA’s new digital content manager, to MU where we met Columbia dentist and MDA Board Trustee, Dr. Phil Batson, for a dual presentation about the MDA and a first-hand look at going through the dental career journey. We were invited by the club president, Jackson McFadden, who graduates this spring and is one of at least four students we met who will enroll at UMKC SOD this summer. In total, about 20 students were present as I started with an overview of what the MDA does and why they should care. Then Dr. Batson shared his journey and perspectives and gave a great, real-life endorsement for the role MDA has played in his career. We answered some good questions and enjoyed chatting with the next wave. When you consider the workforce issues, it’s good that we are making some connections with these feeder groups before dental school. I think Dr. Jackie Miller, State Dental Director, is also addressing more avenues to present high school students with the many career options available in dentistry. Those on this side of the age divide already know what a great field it is. Now we need to give the Johnny Appleseed treatment to the younger side of the divide so the workforce stays healthy and vibrant.

Drop and Gimme 20!

I’m no drill sergeant, but here’s a great drill to encourage you. The ADA recently dropped these 20 Great Wins from 2023. When I look at them, I’m impressed by the wide reach of the ADA. They are pulling wins across the entire dental landscape. Which one are you most proud of? And this is just the beginning. From a staff perspective, a lot of 2023 was a year of planning and 2024 will be a year of implementation. Just wait to see new value, better experiences and deeper connections as the ADA and the MDA, for that matter, continue to work and improve on our mission to help all members succeed.

A Massive Week Ahead

Not all weeks are created equal and next week is a prime example. You’ve been hearing about it for some time and now it’s here, Dental Day at the Capitol is set for Wednesday, March 6. We have a large number of members and students (more than 80 registered) coming to help us tell our issues direct from dentist to legislator. That is HUGE! Last night there was an orientation online to get all attendees up to speed on talking points. Kudos to Halie Payne and many others on the legislative and communication teams for bringing all this together.

Later that afternoon, more than 40 leaders across the state and from the ADA will gather back at the MDA building for a Leadership Summit to get a deeper look at coming changes and the data and trends that make it necessary to evolve.

Then the week ends up with the Missouri Coalition for Oral Health Annual ConferenceVicki Wilbers and Halie Payne will go from this office and join several other MDA members and partners to discuss an agenda that includes access issues, disability issues and key updates on HRSA, Medicaid, the Office of Dental Health and more. You can expect a good overview with lots of photos in next week’s blog.

Quote of the Week

“Today’s accomplishments were yesterday’s impossibilities.” – Robert Schuller