Linda K. Himmelberger, DMD
My involvement in organized dentistry began simply enough. I had been in private practice only a few years when the government proposed what was to be the first of many increasingly onerous regulations. I don’t remember which initiative it was at the time, only that I was fired up. I approached our local president at one of our general meetings and said, “The dental society has to do something about this!” Without missing a beat, he responded “YOU are the dental society; if you think something needs to be done, then get involved and make it happen!” I took his challenge to heart and have been involved in organized dentistry at all levels in the decades since that fateful exchange, determined to make a difference for our profession.
How organized dentistry can identify and promote those approaches that will help our members succeed has been an on-going interest of mine. One excellent example is the ADA Center for Success. The ADA also had a unique opportunity in 2016 to promote the ADA Code of Ethics, the 150th anniversary of its adoption. Two surveys were done in 2015, one by the ADA and the second one by P&G. Both demonstrated that the ADA brand is strong and well recognized by the public. When asked, the public overwhelming responded that they would select an ADA member dentist, knowing that the ADA has a Code of Ethics.
The lack of busyness, or,” how am I going to make a living in this changing environment?” is the critical issue I see facing the profession. Research conducted by the ADA Health Policy Institute has shown that we are seeing fewer patients and earning less. Established dentists are delaying retirement, reducing job opportunities for new dentists. These trends also impact dentists’ willingness to join organized dentistry, affecting our member market share, ultimately diminishing the organization’s effectiveness with policymakers at all levels of government.
I have been active at all levels of the tripartite. At the PDA, I have served as VP, Secretary, President Elect and President. At the ADA, I have served on the Council on Dental Education and Licensure; the Taskforce on CODA; the Council on Ethics Bylaws and Judicial Affairs, which I chaired; and as a delegate to the ADA House of Delegates. I continue to serve as a consultant to the ADA bylaws task force and am a member of the ADA Foundation Board. In 2015 I was honored to receive the PDA Distinguished Dentist Award.
It would be an honor to serve the dentists of Pennsylvania and the profession as your next ADA Trustee. I respectfully ask for your vote.