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Sue Ryser to take helm as AADA president


Mrs. Ryser
Cottonwood Heights, Utah—Sue Ryser's passion is to serve her community and make life better for residents in the Salt Lake City area.

Her drive to reach out with dental health education, legislative advocacy and leadership has prepared her to serve as the next president of the Alliance of the American Dental Association.

Mrs. Ryser will be installed Nov. 2 at the New Orleans Downtown Marriott, in a year that the Alliance makes a significant national leadership structure change.

"My favorite part of serving the Alliance is community involvement," Mrs. Ryser said. "I began a program in Salt Lake City that educated seniors about good oral health. The Salt Lake Council on Aging gave me a grant to put together oral hygiene kits for seniors living in senior housing units. Advocacy for oral health is critically important right now. I have found most legislators are poorly informed on oral health issues and appreciate our efforts to provide them with information. Every little bit that we can do through the Alliance helps—even a letter or simple phone call."

Mrs. Ryser graduated from Brigham Young University and worked in employer relations and job development. In addition to her work with the Alliance, she has served as a church youth leader and a Cub Scout leader. She has been involved with community planning for many years. She served as the chair of the Salt Lake County Community Council and as a city planning commissioner. She has also been a member of the Utah State Women's Legislative Council and a committee chair for a national women's conference.

Mrs. Ryser joined the Alliance as soon as her husband, Dr. Ralph Ryser, finished his oral surgery residency.

"At that time, the local Alliance met about eight times a year and was very involved with dental health education in the local schools," she said. "I served on the Dental Health Education Committee for several years and also on several state and local Alliance boards. I organized an Alliance project to donate a tree to the Primary Children's Hospital Festival of Trees, where decorated Christmas trees are auctioned off at a huge four-day festival. Our tree was the second-highest bid tree. I served the following year as the local Alliance president."

Mrs. Ryser also served as chair of the Alliance Council on Government Affairs for four years, serving as the liaison to the ADA Council on Government Affairs. She has also been national vice president and is currently the president-elect.

She said she has seen a lot of changes in the programs and the focus of the organization during her years of service.

"When I first joined the Alliance, the focus was largely on support, education and friendship for spouses," she said. "The community focus centered primarily on teaching oral care in the elementary schools. Our focus now is very outward oriented. Our purpose is to organize spouses and their talents and resources to be advocates for oral health in any way that is needed. We are stressing the importance of legislative advocacy to every member and emphasizing how significant even the little efforts are. We are raising money to fund dental health education projects that will benefit the communities in which we live."

Dr. and Mrs. Ryser have one son and four daughters—all married with children of their own—and 16 grandchildren who are scattered from California to Connecticut. Their son, Mark, is also an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in practice with his father.

Mrs. Ryser said her goal is to reach out to state and local dental associations to help them learn how a strong Alliance can strengthen and support their work.

"There is such a great need for good oral health education, from children, to young mothers to the elderly. Spouses today are very diverse with many talents. As president, it is my desire to better organize that talent to advocate for the profession, and to work for better oral health in this county and our communities."

For more information on the Alliance or its activities, visit the website, allianceada.org.