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WIC Outreach

Posted by Paul on 10/20/2014 8:18:00 AM

Today I was in Columbia to witness part of the 40th annual Missouri Women, Infants, Children (WIC) Association statewide meeting. MDA was exhibiting as part of our continued collaborative effort with the MO DHSS Oral Health Program initiative to deliver oral health education under a maternal/child oral health grant. The MDA used grant money from DHSS to execute a plan to develop and distribute oral health materials to the front line WIC educators who help new moms in all counties of the state.
The materials used were part of a national effort from the Alliance of the ADA, Healthy Smiles from the Start. With permission from the Alliance to use their materials in this effort, the MDA staff worked with state WIC and DHSS staff to coordinate a plan of action. At the end of September, a DVD and brochures were distributed to about 240 WIC clinic locations across the state.
The webpage Healthy Smiles from the Start was created to provide additional resources and support for this campaign. Next year, we will continue to offer materials at no charge, but plan to bolster the education effort by having pediatric dentists provide CE on prenatal and children's oral health topics for these local WIC educators who have relationship and influence in the lives of these Missouri mothers.
As you can tell from the photos, the conference was well attended with good exhibits and of course the mandatory raffle. Kudos to colleague, Melissa Albertson, for her leadership on this project.  

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Eldon Outreach

Posted by Paul on 10/15/2014 1:41:00 PM


Today’s blog features a guest contributor: Melissa Albertson, MDA Communications Director.

My husband and I live just outside the small town of Eldon, Mo. which is where my children attend school. Many Missourians probably recognize the town name as a stopping off point before their final destination of the Lake of the Ozarks.

Last year, my son and I were asked to be part of newly formed school wellness committee, one of which would exist for each of the school campuses (lower and upper elementary, middle and high schools). The Committees are comprised of school faculty, parents and student representatives.

All of this wellness business is brand new in the community and its schools. In 2013, the school district received a $100,000 grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health to address wellness, specifically reducing childhood obesity in the community through improved education and awareness, and eventually, changed habits. The grant is renewable each year for five years. In addition, the community applied for a sister grant to address wellness issues outside the school, which has resulted in things like a cleaned and updated community park with new equipment and plans for a more permanent, inviting home for the local farmers’ market to encourage more and local produce consumption.  

Some of the fruits of the school grant include new and better playground equipment, the introduction of salad bars in both lower and upper elementary schools, a more robust Walk to School day, a recently held “Zombie Run” to encourage physical activity, and “Wellness Week” at each of the schools, which is the impetus of this guest blog.

During Wellness Week, the wellness coordinator invites members of the community involved in health and wellness related careers to speak to the kids about healthy habits during their lunches. Because I’m on the committee and they know where I work, I was asked to present as a dental guest speaker at the lunches of both lower (pre-K through grade 3) and upper elementary (grades 4 through 6) for one of the days of Wellness Week.

For each day, my 10-15 minute presentation focused on food choices, specifically candy—and especially sour candy—and soda and sports drinks. I finished up the presentation with oral hygiene, reminding them about “2 Min2x” and a fun flossing skit I happened to find with a Google search. It’s always better when you can have a couple audience volunteers!

We teach and preach about good oral health care and healthy choices … in fact, we’re so mired in it day in and day out, we think “surely everyone knows this … surely parents are talking to their kids about this.” But, there still is the need for education—for kids to continue to hear this message—and from people other than their parents.

Sure, I know I am not going to get them to quit drinking all the bad stuff or eating candy (after all, Halloween is just a few days away), but hopefully they’ll eventually think about it being a sometimes treat and not an everyday occurrence. Mostly, it’s just about being there and being involved. They feel their day has been made more special because they had someone come to visit them from the community. It’s a joy to be with young children who love to show their missing teeth, or confess they’ve had a cavity (I reassure them it happens, but if they take good care of their teeth they can prevent future ones) or boast they get to drink soda as a treat only—or may not even like it!

I’m pretty excited for and proud of my small town for making these strides toward improved wellness—it’s a topic I myself have been passionate about for years. But even without a wellness grant, participating in school education is a delight, and I encourage you to reach out, if the school hasn’t reached out to you yet. If you haven’t already, contact your school about speaking to the students. You don’t have to have a grant to encourage a Wellness Week. There are lots of resources online to help get one started, like this, this, this or this. Any effort you make provides another great way for them to have a positive interaction and message about oral health and to see what an important part of the community—and their total health—the dentist is.   

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Welcome Cassi!

Posted by Paul on 10/6/2014 11:02:00 AM

The volume of projects and events and programs that the MDA staff work on is growing every day. While it is awesome to deliver benefits to our members, it can be difficult at times to keep up with all the day to day administrative details of an office our size and the blitz of additional details as certain projects approach (think MOMOM). So we are thrilled to announce a new team member, Cassi Kelley. That's her on the left getting some training from Stacey Kloeppel, MDA Membership Manager.
Cassi will be part time 8-12 each morning and will answer the phones, handle the mail and banking, and support all the other staff in their projects. She lives in New Bloomfield with her husband Kevin, her three step daughters, and her 3 year old son. Cassi has a diverse work background including working with an accounting company. Her skills and attitude look to be a perfect fit for the MDA.
Please welcome Cassi when you call or visit the MDA. You can reach her at cassi@modentalmail.org.  

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Special Olympics - Fall Games

Posted by Paul on 10/4/2014 10:48:00 AM

Today was another heat warmer as a handful of dental volunteers helped deliver Special Smiles in Jefferson City. The Special Olympic Fall Games feature athletes in sports like golf, softball, and flag football. As part of the Healthy Athletes initiative, our team provided dental screenings for 88 athletes. I think we were the lucky ones as we got to interact and assist this optimistic audience. 
I'd like to thank my volunteers who gave up hours on a beautiful fall Saturday to serve the needs of others. That's Dr. Lori Henderson helping an athlete understand proper mouth guard protection. Dr. Dana Deardeuff gets a participant to open wide. And hygienist, Leslie Samford, teaches proper brushing using our fun puppets. Also serving were Drs. Robert Jones and Dr. Nabil Beaini and assistants Taylor, Tawney, and Lauren. Plus me and my helpful bride Leah. 
Please watch for further Special Olympic events and sign up to help us. 

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An Appeal to Future Members

Posted by Paul on 10/3/2014 9:36:00 AM

We always want to put our best foot forward when reaching out to potential members and touting the benefits of association membership. I can't think of a better way to be appealing than to share a copy of the MDA's Focus magazine. It's an informative and well designed update on all things related to the dental profession.
This most recent issue had a special wraparound cover that we sent free of charge to prospective members across the state. The cover included an invitation to join from MDA President, Dr. Nunemaker; a highlight of recent successes; a capsule of top offerings from the MDA and an explanation of how the Power of 3 (local, state, and national) makes membership stronger and more beneficial.
We worked with the components to help them develop a plan to follow up with the prospects in their area that will receive this special edition. It's always the personal touch that makes the most difference. I think this is a wonderful way to give current members an icebreaker topic to begin a discussion on why they belong to the MDA and why others should join. I'm not naive enough to think that every "non-member" will join the MDA. Instead I think of how we can engage our current members and use our best features like the Focus to woo and win over the "yet to be members".
Kudos to everyone involved in producing the Focus and working on this effort! 

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Give and WIN!

Posted by Paul on 9/30/2014 10:20:00 AM

Who would like a week in the tropics at a hilltop villa in St John's? Or maybe a St Louis Shopping Spree with hotel and dinner thrown in. Or a year's worth of family fun at attractions across Missouri. Or a tour of your favorite sports teams and sporting activities. It's enough to boggle your mind. And better yet your raffle ticket purchase supports three great dental charities. Discover all the details and buy tickets today at 
This fundraiser replaces the Mouse Race event we did the last two years at Mid-Continent Dental Congress. We feel like this offers more opportunity and appeal for more people. Plus it's less of a time commitment and you don't need to be present to win. You just have to buy a ticket and that's easy to do online or on site. It's just $50 for a chance at the villa and only $5 for a crack at any of the other prize palooza packages.
 See me with questions or sponsor opportunities. This is our one public fundraiser for the year and it will help finance the big plans we have for both the MDA Foundation and the Dental Well being Foundation. Thank you!

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MOMOM IV is Officially Announced

Posted by Paul on 9/29/2014 10:01:00 AM

What a joy to blow the trumpet and rally the troops once again for MOMOM IV. Mark your calendars for July 31 - August 1, 2015 at the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse in Columbia, MO
The MDA Foundation approved the date and location last Friday at their board meeting. Dr. Lori Henderson, a pediatric dentist from Columbia, will lead the Central Dental Society team that will serve as host for the event. It was a long search trying to identify the best facility with the best dates for the MDA and the available dates for the American Dentists Care Foundation but we persevered and we are ready to crank up the MOMOM machine with the goal of serving the dire dental needs of the under served in central Missouri and beyond.
Efforts are underway to round out the leadership team, contact donors, negotiate contracts, update promotional pieces, and much more. At the heart of MOMOM is a broad based and generous group of dental professionals and community members who wish to help those in need. We will need all hands on deck again so make plans to serve a shift or two. Volunteer Registration will open in April 2015. Watch www.momom.org for updates.

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Thank you Dr Feagan

Posted by Paul on 9/26/2014 10:40:00 AM

As director of the two foundations associated with the MDA, it is my privilege to work with a strong cast of dedicated board members. Today we said farewell and thank you to Dr. Lonnie Feagan. Dr. Feagan (left above with MDAF President, Dr. Elwood Rice) is stepping down after his three year term. He has been a wonderfully engaging and supportive board member during a three year stint that dealt with the Joplin tornado, the launch of the MOMOM program, and the growth of the scholarship and grant programs.
Thank you for your service! 

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SEDS Installation

Posted by Paul on 9/19/2014 10:33:00 AM

For the non-golfers, there was a day of CE offerings at the Isle of Capri. SEDS kept the fun rolling that night with their installation banquet. It's a family affair and the theme this year was dress as your favorite sports team. I believe Dr. Bob Fox's office won best dressed office. However, everyone looked good. Even me in my Auburn Tiger pullover. It just so happened my Tigers played on TV that night and won. Woot!
There's not much official program but MDA President, Dr. Merle Nunemaker, did present outgoing SEDS President, Dr. Courtney Beussink, with a well deserved plaque commending her for her service. Likewise, Dr. Beussink presented Dr. Michael Bennett with a lifetime member commendation. Dr. Bennett has been an active and engaging member for 35 plus years. Thanks and kudos! Finally, Dr. Nunemaker swore in the new officers. In the photo above from L to R is Dr. Dominique Harter (treasurer), Dr. Trevor Blattner (VP), Dr. Eric Blaich (pres elect) and Dr. Phil Loida (president). Congrats to so many young dentists taking a leadership role.
The rest of the night was merriment and blurry photos. See you next year, SEDS!

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Posted by Paul on 9/19/2014 10:14:00 AM

I'm not gonna lie to you. There's no work involved when I get the opportunity to travel to the South East Dental Society for their golf and installation banquet. The weather is always perfect, the course is fantastic and the members are awesome. This year was no exception.
First, the golf at Dalhousie Golf Club. The setting is spectacular and the layout is challenging.  The one sign above might as well be the answer to "which way did my ball go?". Of course, the best part of golf is hanging with your teammates. This year I was able to play with Dr. Nathan McGuire, Zach Clark of Clark Supply, and Dr. Eric Blaich. We started slowly and then rebounded with 5 birdies to avoid an embarrassing last place finish. That honor went to my travel companion, Dr. Merle Nunemaker. I'm sure he was graciously sandbagging!
I did notice the line for adult beverages in the coolers was longer than the line on the practice range. Needless to say, all had a very good time. A special shout out to MDIS for letting me play on their sponsorship dollar and to Ryan Swift of Patterson Dental who made a hole in one to help propel his team to victory. That's quite a feat and we all enjoyed our "Duck Fart" shots at Ryan's expense. Ryan is also a new board member for the MDA Foundation.
After golf, the SEDS business meeting was conducted over lunch. Dr. Nunemaker, trustee Dr John Freeze, and myself collaborated to give a full report on MDA activities. It's good to see engagement and thoughtfulness from a variety of members at this meeting.
Fore! And where's my ball... 

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