At January’s Installation Dinner, Dr. Kirk Gleason mentioned that our Fourth District Dental Society has been in existence for 145 years. Wow, that’s a long legacy that has spanned many generations of dentists! Since that evening, I’ve been pondering what has made the organization withstand the test of time. What features of our society have kept members active and engaged in the organization? Will the Fourth District Dental Society continue to be relevant to new and younger dentists, or will the technological, cultural, and societal changes that are affecting all of our lives also have a negative impact on our membership?
There are several key reasons that generations of our colleagues have chosen to be actively involved in organized dentistry on the district level. These include obvious benefits such as continuing education, access to publications and journals, peer-review and the political power that stems from unity. There is, however, another very important benefit that comes with active membership and participation: camaraderie and opportunity for social exchange. I’ve recently spent time “interviewing” some of our more senior members who have been involved in organized dentistry for over 30 years. The message has come across loud and clear: Their social interaction with colleagues has been a deeply rewarding and extremely meaningful aspect of their professional career. It has given member-dentists an informal opportunity to exchange ideas, troubleshoot problems….as well as just plain have FUN! We need to make sure that the evolutions in the practice of dentistry, such as legislative mandates and electronic communication, do not keep us from being personally engaged with other members of our profession.
I look forward to the changes and challenges that await us in 2014. I urge you all to attend the Saratoga Dental Congress in May. We have some variations in the venue that I hope will be both interesting and entertaining (the fun part) to attendees. In June, the New York State Dental Foundation will be embarking upon a new journey, and hosting a Mission of Mercy. I hope that many of our members will consider participating in this worthwhile event. Of course, attending county meetings and district-sponsored CE courses are a great way to get involved. I personally look forward to serving as your president and to meeting and interacting with as many members as possible in the coming year. My goal is to hold on to those traditions that have made the Fourth District Dental Society so very successful for 145 years, while trying to develop some new and innovative ways to get new members involved and keep current members engaged. I welcome your input and suggestions and look forward to seeing you soon!
Loren C. Baim, DDS