DENTISTRY. IT’S WORTH THE FIGHT!
by G. Rihl Buckley, DDS
I am truly honored to be the President of the Greater Houston Dental Society and lead this great organization for the next year. We have come to this point by capable leaders and members who have given their time, talent and financial support to uphold the profession from which we all benefit. Dentistry would not be what it is today without their sacrifice. It is up to us to advance the cause of dentistry as a profession.
This year, the Strategic Planning Committee, under the capable direction of Dr. Ron Auvenshine, has updated our Strategic Plan to help guide our Society for the next three years. The foundation of the plan is our mission statement which is built on three pillars:
To respond to the needs and concerns of our membership, a survey was conducted to determine what it is that our GHDS members value most. The survey results are:
· The Star of the South Dental Meeting
· Legislative Advocacy
· Social Engagement/Networking
We will work to continue to provide these valued benefits, but we also must do more to meet the more varie needs of our younger members to strenghten our Society. These are the challenges and needs that have been identified that our younger members are concerned about:
·Student Loan Debt
·Insurance Related Issues
We are working at all levels to solve these problems. At the national level, the ADA is working on a new program called "Mortar" to match senior dentists with younger dentists to assist with practice transitions (sort of a match.com for dentists). The ADA is also working with Congress to repeal the McCarron-Ferguson Act which gives insurance companies an exemption from anti-trust laws. On the state level, the TDA is looking for ways to help dentists alleviate burdensome student debt, working with the State Board regarding corporate-owned dental practices, and working with the State to pass legislation regarding dental insurance that is fair to dentists and patients.
At the local level, the GHDS is committed to providing continuing education through study clubs, general meetings and at the Star of the South Dental Meeting. The GHDS is updating its website this year to be more interactive and mobile-friendly. Also, the GHDS is engaging with the community by putting on events such as Give Kids A Smile Day, Veterans Smile Day and will be partnering with the MOSAIC project to promote diversity through collaborative community service in public health across cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.
These are all achievable goals, which cannot be accomplished by our leadership alone. We must all contribute.
So here are my promises to our membership: I will work tirelessly to promote our goals. I will be accessible and responsive to every member and I will work with our GHDS staff to make sure they are a constant resource for all members.
What I ask in return is for all our members to do at least one of the following:
· Attend the Star of the South Dental Meeting
· Attend one General Meeting
· Donate/Engage in Legislative Advocacy
· Volunteer time at one of these charitable events: Give Kids A Smile Day, Veterans Smile Day or a MOSAIC public health event
To non-members who may be reading this, I ask you to join us and be the voice of dentistry.
Why do we do this? A colleague once told me he didn’t want to get involved in the politics of dentistry; he just wanted to practice. Ultimately, it's not about politics, the GHDS, or membership in any organization. It's about the care that a dentist provides to his patients. It's about giving our patients access to quality and affordable dental care.
If it were only that easy. There are others who believe that they can build a better mouse trap that uses dentists like factory workers on an assembly line. I believe that only we, as dentists, possess the knowledge and skill to provide the care that our patients deserve. But it will require every one of us to advocate for our profession, so we can provide that care. In 1836, Texans banded together to fight for their independence. Let's band together this year and fight for the profession that we love so dearly.
In closing, we may not have all the answers and there are times when you may not feel like it's worth the effort, but I believe that dentistry is worth the fight. I’m open to all ideas. Send me an email
and let’s get the ball over the goal line together.