At the first CADS Board meeting of each fiscal year, we are always excited when we have new faces step into CADS leadership roles, and I personally enjoy hearing the journey that led them to get involved. My path actually began with the charitable arm of CADS, the Capital Area Dental Foundation (CADF). As a young dentist, new to Austin, I was unaware of this incredible program that brings dental care to the underserved in our community. When I was approached with the opportunity to serve on the gala fundraising committee, I learned about the many programs that CADF has developed that allows dentists to share their gifts with those who need it most. Since then, CADF has continued to evolve and is now stronger than ever – there are numerous ways to get involved. CADS member involvement with CADF continues to be a core value of the society, and increasing awareness and participation in our charitable sector is an important goal of this year’s Board.
During the early years, all CADF programs involved bringing a patient into your office and providing comprehensive dental care to improve his or her health and self-confidence. Some of the care is 100% donated, while some programs provide partial reimbursement. Either way, the system is well organized and allows the providers to focus on the care of the patient while the CADF team takes care of the rest. My personal experience in these programs has been far more rewarding than I thought possible. Until you experience it yourself, the relationship established with these patients is one that is difficult to describe; your heart is so full. That being said, the CADF Board quickly realized that there were many dentists who wanted to participate but weren’t in a position to bring a patient into their office. Two years ago, CADF joined forces with Dentists with a Heart to launch Community Dental Days. There are now multiple events per year that allow you to use a volunteer dentist’s practice to provide care to the community. Keep an eye on your email and the Capital Star for an announcement of the date of the next event.
So, how successful are these programs? Last year, there were over 2000 patient referrals and over 300 patients served at Community Dental Day events. This allowed CADF providers to perform over $500,000 in charitable care to our own community. I don’t know about you, but that makes me proud of what we do and who we are as a dental society. Are you ready to get involved?
Next month is the annual fundraising golf tournament, the CADF Golf Classic. Whether you are a highly skilled golfer or spend more time in the sand than on the green, it’s a fun day for a good cause (and they even have an award for the last place team!) Not a golfer? Neither am I, so join me at the 19th Hole After Party for lunch, the awards ceremony, and an opportunity to donate to the CADF Programs in their raffle. It’s a wonderful afternoon of camaraderie with your dental colleagues as well as the supportive companies you work with every day. The event will be held on Friday, November 1st at the Golf Club at Star Ranch. The deadline to register is October 23rd, so don’t miss your chance to participate! Go to www.capitalareadentalfoundation.com to register.
As dental providers, we share a unique skill plus an innate desire to help others. Oral health is something many take for granted, but it’s a debilitating disease for so many others in our own community. I encourage you to get involved with CADF. I promise you won’t regret it.
Trisha Kimes, DDS, FAGD
CADS President 2019-2020