Serving on the PDA New Dentist Committee: A Look Back
Wade I. Newman
It's time to say farewell to my term with the New Dentist Committee (NDC). I've served for six years, the last two as chair. Being part of this committee has been a great learning experience. I was able not only to see organized dentistry in action, but I was fortunate enough to actively participate. In my final article for the NDC I'd like to share some parting thoughts and concerns.
To start with, I must thank all of those who worked with me through the years. The committee members who have helped, guided and advised me have all been wonderful. The staff at the PDA is top-notch; the quality of our staff is truly remarkable. Jessica Forte is a great asset to our committee, and her ideas and effort have made the NDC a viable and vivacious committee. The NDC's programs and undertakings are helping fulfill PDA's strategic plan and I see bigger and more complex projects for the NDC's future.
Remembering that the future of our organization depends upon the new dentists and the dental students, ensuring that we are bonded together as a single unified voice is vitally important. The trend in our profession is that the senior dentists are vast in numbers and there are not as many younger dentists to fill the upcoming void. That is going to be great for business! What that also means is there are fewer of us to become members and to actively participate in organized dentistry. As our numbers shrink, we must bond together more tightly than before and be willing to volunteer some precious time for the betterment and protection of our profession.
Protection of our profession is currently job number one for PDA. The ordinances that are happening in Philadelphia and the legislation in our state government haven't been favorable. If you are not aware, our profession is under attack. The governing bodies want to mandate that we do things a certain way, not based at all on scientific facts, but emotionally driven fear. Being involved in the conversations with lobbyists and witnessing the give and take that happens in the political arena is a real eye opener. We, as dentists, don't realize how vulnerable our profession is! We must now fight for the freedom to practice without government intrusion. I now know that this fight only happens on our behalf with the participation of active members. Without active members things are going to change for the worse.
After traveling around the state, meeting new dentists through our new dentist receptions and meeting dental students from the different dental schools, I must say that I am encouraged about our future. I think the younger dentists and dental students understand the importance of organized dentistry, and I believe they are willing to volunteer their time and talent when needed. It is important that the NDC continues to spread the message that membership and participation in organized dentistry is extremely important, and it is incumbent on you, the reader, to become part of this effort. If you are not a member, it is time to become one, if you are a member, then it is time to become active in the organization.