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400 explore leadership, CE at 24th New Dentist Conference

Registrants at the 24th ADA New Dentist Conference learn about Ongoing Changes in Dentistry
Registrants at the 24th ADA New Dentist Conference learn about Ongoing Changes in Dentistry. Photo by Steve Horne
San Diego—Aspiring leaders in their communities and profession, new dentists are increasingly seeking more leadership training opportunities.

That was evident at the 24th ADA New Dentist Conference, as more than 400 gathered June 24-26 for clinical and practice management continuing education and networking. This year's conference featured a bonus day of leadership education.

"I spoke with people at the end of the day—so many found the program inspiring," said Dr. Ruchi K. Sahota, chair of the ADA Committee on the New Dentist. More than 200 conference attendees took part, too; including 80-plus dentists who represented their state or local new dentist committees.

Dr. Ruchi Sahota, chair of the Committee on the New Dentist
Initiative: Dr. Ruchi Sahota, chair of the Committee on the New Dentist, said many of her peers have an interest in becoming more involved with dental societies and community organizations.

"This type of program appealed to dentists and dental students who are looking for ways to become more involved in their dental societies, but also with community organizations," said Dr. Sahota. "I'm on a library commission in my hometown, and this program gave me a lot of good ideas that I can use for planning activities and meetings."

Open to dentists of all ages, the annual conference is designed with new dentists in mind. Attendees enjoyed CE programs from Dr. Gordon Christensen, Dr. Clifford Ruddle, Dr. Greg Psaltis, Dr. Mark Hyman, Bethany Valachi and Lisa Philp.

Dr. Dennis Song of San Francisco participates in a CE program
Gaining an edge: Dr. Dennis Song of San Francisco participates in a CE program.

The conference also offered new dentists opportunities to meet ADA officers and trustees and ask them questions. Topics addressed included workforce, midlevel providers, new dentist leadership and more.

Feedback from past events indicated that many new dentists wanted additional leadership training, so it was leadership they got. Cynthia D'Amour delivered the keynote address, Exceptional Leadership Skills for Your Personal, Professional and Community Life, and an Advanced Leadership Program, Demonstrating Value to the New Dentist. In addition to a new dentist volunteer "how to get involved and stay involved" program, the day featured courses on running an effective meeting, reaching out to dental students and using social media effectively.

Dr. David M. White of Reno, Nev., called leadership day the "highlight" of the conference for him.

Dr. Kendal Allman-Bailey listens to a keynote speaker during the New Dentist Conference
Keys to communication: Dr. Kendal Allman-Bailey listens to a keynote speaker during the New Dentist Conference.

"I was personally impressed with the discussion on social media," said Dr. White. "This new form of communication will revolutionize how we reach out to patients, even beyond the life of Facebook, and the interactive discussion between attendees and the ADA Board of Trustees helped to keep us informed on current issues facing us and what the ADA is doing for its members."

(The ADA annual session is also adding a full day of education and networking this year to provide dentists and their spouses with the tools needed to become effective leaders in organized dentistry and their communities. For more information, visit www.ada.org/news/4426.aspx.)

Dr. Sahota thanked the many sponsors who provided support for and helped promote the New Dentist Conference, including ADA Insurance Plans; American Dental Political Action Committee; California Dental Association; Quintessence Publishing Co.; DENTSPLY Tulsa Dental Specialties; Benco Dental; GlaxoSmith-Kline Consumer Healthcare; Matsco, a Wells Fargo Co.; PracticeWorks Systems LLC; Bien Air USA; CareCredit; Patterson Dental Supply; ADA Business Resources; and the Pennsylvania Dental Association.

In 2011, the ADA New Dentist Conference turns 25 in Chicago. The Committee on the New Dentist celebrates its silver anniversary June 16-18, 2011.

Members of the 2010 ADA Committee on the New Dentist gather outside the Catamaran Resort in San Diego June 25
Leadership: Members of the 2010 ADA Committee on the New Dentist gather outside the Catamaran Resort in San Diego June 25. From left are Dr. Keri Miller, 5th District; Dr. Shamik Vakil, 16th District; Dr. Sarah Tevis Poteet, 15th District; Dr. Robert Leland, 1st District; Dr. Jennifer Jerome, 7th District; Dr. Chris Salierno, 2nd District; Dr. Ruchi Sahota, chair, 13th District; Dr. Eric Unkenholz, 10th District; Dr. Jennifer Enos, 14th District; Dr. Matt Niewald, 6th District; Dr. Stacey Swilling, 12th District; Dr. Eric Kosel, 8th District; Dr. Jennifer Davis, 3rd District; Dr. Garrick Lo, 11th District; Dr. Danielle Ruskin, 9th District; and Dr. Jeremy Albert, 17th District.