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ARCHIVES: May 2012



Joplin - One Year Later

Posted by Paul on 5/22/2012 3:19:00 PM

I had the privilege of being in Joplin on the one year anniversary of the F-5 tornado. It was a gorgeous day with clear blue skies that reflected the hope and future of a town that previously had faced the darkest of skies. My purpose for being in town was to take photos of new dental offices for a special event being held on Thursday, June 7th in Joplin. Luckily, I was able to snap many more photos of commemorative events like the unity walk, the raising of a steeple, and the park ceremony at 5:41 marking the exact time the tornado touched down.
It was somber in some ways but I would call the mood respectful optimism. There were many volunteers and others who, like me, have fallen for this resilient town and it's plucky people. The great weather seemed to point toward better days ahead.
The MDA will host a special anniversary event for the Joplin dental family called "Reflections on a Year of Recovery". Close to 190 people are expected to gather as we pause to consider an unforgettable year. I know wherever you are, you join me in wishing them all the best.

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Heavy Lifting

Posted by Paul on 5/11/2012 9:11:00 AM

The MDA Dental Workforce Committee chaired by Dr. Rolfe McCoy is meeting today at the MDA office. This committee is charged with the heavy lifting of recommending to the MDA Board a plan of action regarding workforce issues. They have beenpouring over tons of written papers, tracking developments in other states, and considering the pros/cons of various models and options.
This is no doubt a big issue for organized dentistry and a hot topic among our members.The landscape ischanging but should we adapt and how dowe adapt whileprotecting the profession you love? It's no easy task with so many voices, complexities,and uncertainties. I get dizzy just keeping up with the various acronyms (DHAT, OPA, Level III, EFDA, etc). So I certainly commend this group for dedicating their time and energy to serve our entire membership this way. Good luck and lift from the knees!

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My Day at the Theater, dear!

Posted by paul on 5/10/2012 8:55:00 AM

Earlier this week, I made my first visit to the Delta Dental Health Theater (DDHT) located inLaclede's Landing right in downtown St Louis in the shadow of the Gateway Arch. Itis very impressive! Shannon Woodcock, executive director for the theater, gave me a quick tour and explained how this small space delivers a big impact. I saw a wide variety of hands-oneducational activities mixed with some hi-tech features. They mingle together to offer something for everyone who stops in. I loved the bright colors and kid friendly seating. And who doesn't like a ceiling with a full set of teeth!
School groups account for many of the visitors to the theaterand I was lucky to witness one live and in person. Raven, a theater major who interns with the theater, can be seen above engaging and educating the kids.
I'm working with Shannon and DDHT on a joint fundraising event called Mouse Races (see my earlier blog post). We are planning a fantastic evening of fun for those attending the Mid Continent Dental Congress in early November and for other supporters and publicin the St Louis area. Keep watching for more details. This will raise much needed support for the MDA Foundation, the Well Being Foundation, and DDHT.
It's been fun to get to know Shannon and see her passion for dental education and growth in opportunities. These types of partnerships make us all stronger. Find out more about DDHT - hours, map, schedule, etc - at www.ddhtstl.org

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And How Was Your Year?

Posted by Paul on 5/4/2012 9:22:00 AM

Do you remember what you were doing about this time last year? Have there been big changes in your practice over the last twelve months? Any unique challenges you've faced personally? What stands out in your mind over the last year?
For me, I was starting my new job with the MDA. Naturally that brings changes and challenges as you leave something familiar and start a fresh adventure. I had to get to know new people, learn new terms, and figure out my new role. It's had some ups and downs but all in all it's been a great year. And it was change that I purposefully chose. However, I'm most struck by a subsegment of our membership who've truly had a year to remember dealing with change that no one signed up for.
We are fast approaching the first anniversary of the Joplin Tornado. Imagine business as usual one day and then waking up to total devastation the next. Your entire office and livelihood obliterated along with much of your home community. This was the case for 25 dentists in Joplin on May 22, 2011. What do you do? How do you overcome shock, grief, anger, and fear? Where do you start? How do you plod through each day? Imagine the myriad of decisions to make, the frustration of uncertain time frames, the waiting for insurance resolution, the concern for patients and staff. I don't presume to fully understand the emotions and difficulties experienced by these folks.
But I did have the privilege of playing a small role, along with many others from the MDA and ADA, in helping our dental family get back on their feet. It's been an honor to witness their resiliency and courage to start over and stay committed to their community. To that end, it seems like this upcoming first anniversary of the tornado deserves some special attention. As such on June 7th, the MDA and the SWDS are hosting a special event, Reflections on a Year of Recovery.
The idea is to bring the SW dental family together again and pause to share with another what this last year hastaught them. We will have some optional tours of new office spaces. We will enjoy a nice reception and meal and we will look back through photos andrecollections from an extraordinary year. Thanks to the generous support of the MDA, the SWDS, and event sponsors, the proceeds will be donated to the local Joplin Clinic. It's a wayfor the dental community to say we took a hard blow, we regrouped and rebuilt, and we're back to serving and giving to our community.
The event is limitedin space and by invitation only but I thought you might want to know about it. With time, days can crawl by and years can fly by. Let's remember and salute our Joplin members for a year they will never forget.
Thanks to Patterson Dental, Benco Dental, Goetze Dental, Carestream Kodak, and Delta Dental for event sponsorship!

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State Champ - Carl Carver!

Posted by Paul on 5/1/2012 9:36:00 AM

Today's travels took me 253 miles one way to Mound City, MO as an ambassador for the MDA Foundation. The experience was worth every mile.
I was there to present the first place award to the winner of the Children's Dental Health Month Art Contest. Carl Carver, a second grade student from Mound City R-2 School, drew the winning entry in the Rock Your Smile theme contest. As a result he won a $100 Wal-Mart gift card. Additionally, his teacher, Mrs. Burge, won $100 for her classroom and the school won $200 as well. Plus I passed out dental goody bags to all 19 students. They loved their"swag"!
It was a festive and fun celebration as I distributed the prizes. I explained that the contest was one way the MDAF promoted good oral health to children and that anybody in the state could enter. When I said the state winner was in their classroom, they sprung up and down, chanting "Carl"! Evidently he's known as quite the artist among his friends. I think Carl's smile grew two sizes when we walked in the room and he saw his mother, Laura Berney, and his grandmother, Lydia Field. Plus the Mound City News was there to cover the big event. It was like Oscar night in Holt County!
I was happy to see such collaboration for this effort. The school nurse, Susan Lentz (in purple above) is a real dental advocate and supports the contest every year. Mrs. Burge (far left) was eager to participate and Cate Kenny (art teacher next to me) really helped fuel the creative process. Rightfully so, the superintendent, Scott Eaton, and the principal, Jan Seitz, were very proud of Carl's' accomplishment and the school's prize load. To cap off the celebration, we all went outside and enjoyed ice cream bars! Congratulations, Carl!!
Mound City is a small community. The school is 275 kids K-12.Mrs. Lentz was kind to drive me over to meet the first dentist they've had in Holt County in a while, MDA member, Dr. Aaron Hiegert. I regret not grabbing a photo but he was very eager to hear of the hoopla. He gives dental checks at the school and even has art in his office made by Cate Kenny's class. A fairly recent UMKC grad, Dr. Hiegert is passionate about addressing the oral needs and challenges in rural Missouri. Good work, Dr. Hiegert!
A special thank you to Adam Johnson and the Mound City News for the photos!

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