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President’s Message February 2017

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President’s Message January 2017

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Giving Thanks

As we move past the Holiday Season, I think it’s important for us to pause and appreciate all that we have.  While there are many differences between our members (which is part of what makes our Society so strong), there are some universal influences that we all share:

Our Families – We all have people in our lives that share our blood and are the foundation for everything we do.  Through all of the hustle and bustle of professional life, let’s all remember that when it’s all said and done, these are the people who matter the most.

Our Friends – While we all love our families, our friends are the balancing influence that keeps us grounded.  We lean on them, laugh with them, and share countless memories with them.  Without our friends, our lives would be incomplete.

Our Home – We are so fortunate to be living in a city like Austin.  This place is so physically, culturally, and financially healthy.  Most of us are also very proud to be Texan, and of course we are blessed to live in the greatest country on the planet (despite the recent political circus!).

Our Practice – Whatever model you work in, the opportunity to be a healer every day is so fulfilling.  We are so fortunate to be practicing in a field that allows us so much reward, and yet also gives us the time to be with friends and family.

Our Staff – These people are the engine that keeps us moving.  They enable us to practice in this incredible field, and without them we would not be able to treat our patients.  Remember to tell your staff how much they are appreciated (frequently!).

Our Mentors – We have all gone in many different directions within dentistry, but certainly all have those who have significantly influenced the way we practice.  Let these people know how much they have meant to you and your career.

Our Patients – This may be the most unique relationship we have with anyone in our lives.  In the words of our friend and fellow Austinite Dr. Simon Garza, “this relationship should be cherished”.  Our patients are our lifeblood, and it is such a privilege to be caring for them.  I hope we all work hard to develop this relationship into one based on trust and honesty, and thank them regularly for the opportunity to be their doctor.

From all of us at the Capital Area Dental Society, thank you all for being a part of our organization.  Here’s to a fantastic New Year!

By Matthew J. Heck, DDS
CADS President, 2016-2017

 

 

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President’s Message November 2016

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President’s Message October 2016

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Our Study Club

 

In this summer’s messages, I attempted to frame the current challenges and virtues of organized dentistry, and briefly described the efforts we are making at the local level to respond to these issues.  In this month’s issue, I would like to formally introduce one of our new initiatives: the CADS Study Club.

 

Study Clubs are a fantastic way to broaden our knowledge of the dental field, and enable us to learn from each other’s failures and successes.  They are also a great way for us to connect with each other and build a referral network with those we know are trying their best to care for their patients.  However, many study clubs are very expensive, exclusive to a small group, and even difficult to attend due to location.  We have decided to start our own Study Clubs at CADS, with intention of them being affordable, open to all CADS members, and offered at multiple locations within the Capital Area.

 

This year, we are starting a single pilot club to optimize our process, and then intend on opening multiple clubs next year.  Our first session will be held on Saturday November 19th, with a guest lecture from Dr. Bill Robbins, which will focus on taking proper records (models/photos/etc.) On Saturday December 10, Dr. Robbins will return to discuss global diagnosis and treatment planning.  We believe that these first two sessions will serve as a foundation for the third and fourth sessions, to be held in February and June of 2017, allowing all Study Club members to share their own cases and discuss the challenges and successes they have had with them.

 

We will be holding the Study Club at the Heritage Plaza Building (centrally located at Mopac/Spicewood Springs), and will have lunch provided at each session.  Our intention is to have the first two sessions more structured with lecture, and then let the group lead us in a more informal discussion as to the direction/focus of the spring sessions.  Additionally, the total fee for club membership will only be $150 per CADS member for the entire year, which is dramatically lower than the cost for any other study club offered in the Capital Area.  Please save these dates in your calendars if you are interested in joining, and look for electronic communication coming soon for registration details!

 

By Matthew J. Heck, DDS
CADS President, 2016-2017

 

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President’s Message September 2016

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Kickoff!

September brings new beginnings for many of us.  Students return to school, the next round of new dentists enter the workforce, and many of us get to catch our breath after busy summers at work.  Fall activities get underway in many organizations, including our own, as we build new relationships and discover new ideas in various seminars and conferences.

If you’re a sports nut like I am, however, it also means the start of football season.  It is a time when hope springs eternal and everyone has a chance.  There is optimism and excitement among the teams and their fans, no matter what happened the year before.  Of course, reality checks us all throughout the season, but the excitement and thrill of our uniquely American sport is without equal.

In my practice, I use football analogies constantly.  While this undoubtedly is influenced by my own affection for the sport, it is also because there are many applications to the values learned and organizational structure of the team.  Here are few that you may find useful in your day to day conversation with your patients or staff:

  1. “I’m like the quarterback, and our specialists are the receivers.”  I use this often to help patients understand that our goal is to get them healthy (in the end zone), and this often cannot be accomplished without the help of a talented team.  Of course, in this analogy, the patient is the football!
  2. “Football is a game of inches, and dentistry is a game of microns.”  Patients sometimes have a hard time understanding why a small open margin could mean failure of a restoration, or how a tiny radiolucency can turn into an ER visit if not attended to.  This helps me put our small world into perspective for my patients.
  3. “We’re going to have to call an audible here.”  This can be helpful when explaining to a patient that treatment will have to be changed mid-procedure.  There are many variables in dentistry, some out of our control, which can require the plan to be altered at a moment’s notice in order to achieve the desired result.
  4. “I’m the head coach, and ultimately the one who is responsible.”  I find this to be very helpful with patients and staff.  When a case is not going as planned or there is a failure in systems, I think it is important for the patient to know that as the leader of the practice it is on me to take ownership of the problem, and take the steps necessary to fix it.  The same goes for missed assignments or mistakes made by the staff – although everyone may know who did it, I make a point to never single out the individual, and try to use it as an opportunity for the team to learn together.  As a football fan, there is nothing more aggravating than watching a coach throw one of their players under the bus for making crucial errors in a game.  As the leader, the onus of responsibility lies with us to get the job done.

I hope some of you can find use in these few examples in your daily practice, and of course, here’s to a great football season!

Ability is what you’re capable of doing.  Motivation determines what you do. 

Attitude determines how well you do it.”   –Lou Holtz

By Matthew J. Heck, DDS
CADS President, 2016-2017

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President’s Message August 2016

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Leading the Way

As I have become more active in organized dentistry, the one thing I continue to hear is: “How does CADS continue to have such great success?” To be honest, the Capital Area Dental Society is looked upon as a component society to emulate across the country. Our leadership across the Board is innovative and energetic, and it shows in every function they execute. Between the networking events put on by the Membership Committee, socials organized by the New Dentist Committee, regulatory efforts of the Legislative Committee, excellent speakers brought in for the General Meetings, and the incredible work done by CADF, our local society is truly leading the way as a grassroots organization. However, as I wrote in the July STAR article, the key to long-term success in any association is keeping a healthy balance of dedication of current best practices, and staying open to new ideas.
I would argue that the city of Austin reflects that concept perfectly. The core of what makes Austin, live music, valuing small businesses, progressive attitudes, keeping it weird, healthy living, excellent higher education – all of these are still alive and well as they have been for many decades. Our city has also been at the forefront of new technology, startup businesses, and growth of many industries that have kept it relevant and healthy. We believe that if CADS is going to continue to lead the way as a strong Society, we need to imitate this same balance. Our leadership is committed to maintaining the practices that has kept CADS a vibrant organization, but is also aware that members are looking for more value in today’s changing landscape.
After extensive effort and research, CADS has come to the conclusion that there are two areas our members would like to see more from us: mentorship and education. Of course, there are many opportunities currently in place for our members to network, but there are admittedly limited venues provided by CADS to foster mentoring relationships. Our focus this year will be to grow a program that facilitates these connections, primarily through forums on the CADS website and by enhancing our networking events. We all know that one of the most important benefits of membership in our organization is in the friendships we make here, and that includes those that are based on the sharing of experienced knowledge with those who are eager to learn.
The other area that we will focus on strengthening this year is in the education program. While CADS currently offers world class lectures at our General Meetings, these are short programs that are limited in their content due to time constraints and format. The response to this challenge will be twofold: implementation of CADS Study Clubs, and establishing an annual CE Meeting for the Capital Area. While there are some excellent study clubs across the Austin area, many of our members stated that the cost and location of these clubs were prohibitive. Our goal is to establish multiple, regional study clubs that are offered at a low cost to CADS members. We believe that this will offer a unique opportunity for members to collaborate and learn with each other, in a convenient and affordable venue.
We are all aware of the excellent Continuing Education Conferences held in San Antonio (TDA), Dallas (Southwest Dental Conference), and Houston (Star of the South). As Austin continues to grow rapidly, the need for a similar event is becoming more apparent. Our intent is to create a program that centers on a singular topic, and focuses on attracting high profile speakers. We anticipate that this conference, as well as the Study Clubs, become annual events that our members can count on every year.

Look to our various media outlets for further details on these new programs in the coming months. Thank you all for your continued support!

By Matthew J. Heck, DDS

CADS President, 2016-2017

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President’s Message July 2016

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Exploration vs. Exploitation

Dr. James Mach, former professor of the Stanford Graduate School of Education, is best known for his work in organizational decision making.  His theory focuses on the notion that true success in any organization lies in a balance between exploration of new ideas and exploitation of proven principles.  Too much or little of either, he argues, can be catastrophic for a business or association.  When a group engages in exploration, there is an element of risk, but ultimately of high long-term reward if that effort is fruitful.  Conversely, exploitation of established practices can lead to increased short-term efficiency and better execution, but without adequate innovation there is the potential to become stagnant and therefore irrelevant.  Examples of companies that have thrived in this balance are Apple and Amazon, both of which have maintained their core identity but have embraced change to remain at the forefront of their respective markets.

This idea can clearly be applied to our clinical practices.  There are established principles in dentistry that must be adhered to within any case, including healthy joints, good occlusion, elimination of disease, proven materials, and sound technique.  Most would agree that those goals are essential to long-term clinical success, and have been established for decades.  What is not agreed upon, however, is how to achieve those goals.  There are many schools of thought regarding the best methods to achieve stable joints, what designates a solid occlusal scheme, how to eradicate periodontal pathology and caries, and of course what materials and methods are used to accomplish them.

If Dr. Mach was to analyze our practices, I believe he would suggest that we attempt to find equilibrium between the core tenants of traditional dentistry, and the many incredible advancements that are being made in dental materials and technology.  Too much reliance on the past can lead to a lack of efficiency and limit services we can offer to our patients, but many of those established principles are still crucial and cannot be ignored.  Excessive dependence on new products and techniques can lead to a sacrifice in quality in the name of innovation, but with proper utilization they can also provide drastic increases in clinical competence and productivity.

This theory of organizational decision making is also essential to our Association.  The ADA has devoted substantial resources to maintaining the relevance and vitality of the Association.  Much effort has been focused on membership value, which at the national and state levels is mostly manifested through policy.  It is crucial that our leadership at the ADA and TDA continue to fight for the integrity of our profession, as they have for many years, but it is also critical that those same leaders are advocates for those affected by new challenges that we are all aware of in our field.  The hope is that these continued efforts will not only give a voice to our members, but also allow them to provide the best care possible in an optimal environment for their patients.

At the local level, we at CADS are also working diligently to support our professional community and improve our own component organization.  This Dental Society has been in place for decades, and has always been looked upon as one of the best in the country.  The experience and knowledge at CADS is phenomenal, which has allowed us to provide sustainable benefits to our members that they can regularly experience.  However, we also have had an influx of new leaders and ideas, increasing our opportunities for member networking, continuing education, technological advancement, and charitable dentistry.  The CADS Board is committed to standing by the principles & practices that have made our Society so strong, and promise to be proactive in response to the needs of our members.  Thank you all for your support, and enjoy your summer!

By Matthew J. Heck, DDS

CADS President, 2016-2017

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President’s Message June 2016

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State of the Union 

“Organized Dentistry.”  What does that idea mean to you?  Why do we need it?  What value does it bring to our profession?

Those are the questions that every dentist faces when posed with the choice of staying involved, or leaving the organization.  Most of you reading this newsletter likely have, at least to this point, decided that it is still worth staying involved.  However, the data shows that the trend is not positive for Organized Dentistry: we are losing membership.  Not just in percentage of total doctors, but for the first time in Texas this past year, we are declining in numbers.  Although the total number of members continued to climb until 2015, which was primarily due to the large increase in population, the percentage was steadily declining.  Now, the data is sobering: we are at 57% market share, with the percentage & total number of members gradually declining despite the influx of new dentists to Texas.

This is an incredibly alarming trend for those of us who feel that it is critical for us to stick together and stay organized in the face of many growing challenges to the integrity and autonomy of our profession.  It is my firm belief that if the organization we belong to becomes insignificant, we will lose control of the way we practice dentistry.  Look at the current trends in medicine: managed care companies dominate reimbursements and dictate treatments, physicians are severely overworked and unable to give personal attention to their patients, and yet despite recent federal efforts there is still a severe lack of access to care.  Now let’s examine the trends in Organized Medicine: In the 1950’s, the percentage of physicians that were active members of the AMA was at 75%.  Now, it has dropped to a meager 15%.  Most agree that their lack of cohesive voice has contributed to recent trends in medical practice.

So why does this drop-off continue to occur in dentistry, despite the correlation between lack of organization and decline in successful outcomes as we see in other health professions?  The answer given in most surveys: lack of perceived personal value.  Potential members look at that renewal form, and think:  “Why am I doing this?  What tangible benefit does this really bring to me?”  Sure, most dentists appreciate the advocacy and programs made possible by the ADA, but many know that this effort will continue (at least for now) without their membership.  It is no longer a given that most of our doctors contribute to our cause, in fact the fight for their support is harder now than ever.

With all of that being said, there is still reason for optimism.  The TDA and ADA are hard at work for our profession at the state and federal level, running a multitude of programs that allow us to continue to practice freely and give the best care to our patients.  It is our belief at the Capital Area Dental Society that our role at the local level is to provide more of the personal member value that our current and potential members are looking for.

How are we planning on doing this?  By listening and responding to the requests of our colleagues.  This past year, due to the hard work of the CADS Membership Committee, a survey was conducted to address this topic.  The feedback we received was incredibly valuable, and we plan to use that information to improve many of our current systems, as well as to create a series of new programs that will give our members new opportunities to network and learn with each other.  We believe that these new initiatives will significantly enhance our membership value, and when combined with the many existing functions and programs in place within CADS, we can provide a truly unique experience for our members.  Stay tuned to the August STAR for further information on these exciting new programs!

By Matthew J. Heck, DDS
CADS President, 2016-2017

 

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President’s Message May 2016

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This Is Where We Begin

The end.  This year has been one of incredible growth for me and I have been privileged to serve as your President.  It has been our board’s goal to create a must-have membership for you.  What does that mean?  That we provide you, our amazing dentists, with what you ask for.  In our surveys and speaking to our members we know that opportunities for volunteerism, networking, social events and more local study groups are what you are hungering for.  And we have answered.

Let us reflect on these past 12 months.  We kicked off last summer with the New Dentist annual boat party.  It was a great time that reminded me dentists really know how to have good time.  Other new dentist events such as the pub crawl and UT basketball game are reasons alone to be members of CADS.  It’s not all fun though as we know it is important to help foster young dentists in their career.  The practice management round-table and the Wine and Wisdom events allow younger dentists opportunities to ask questions and develop their resources and network.  We so appreciate our newer members like Dr. Kacie Stair, Dr. Lacey Ferguson, and Dr. Amy Nguyen who are getting involved in our community.

On behalf of our community we fought to keep fluoride in Austin’s water supply.  Thank you Dr. Matt Heck and other supporters for joining me in front of the city council.  It is important to be an activist and to stop being a by-stander.  Change only happens when you make your voice heard!

Other members on our board have had your political backs.  We work with the TDA to give input and advocate on behalf of you and all of our patients so that we can provide the best and safest dental care.  Thank you to Dr. Jeran Hooten, Dr. Mark Peppard, Dr. Alan Moore, Dr. Lance Sanders and Dr. Ensy Atarod for being so active in the legislative process.  It is vital to support DENPAC which advocate on dentists behalf, protecting our freedoms and rights as healthcare providers.  This should be especially important to younger dentists since they have to look at practicing for the next 30 years.  Dr. Kelly Keith and Dr. Jonathon Kimes can help you get involved or simply donate in support of your profession.

Dr. Kent Macaulay and Dr. Kavin Kelp are on the board of the Capital Area Dental Foundation and have worked with CADS in supporting the donated service programs like Goodwill and HAAM.  Fundraising events like the CADF golf classic and the CADF Round Up & Gala are great social events that support these patients in need.  Either volunteering with CADF or just having a wildly good time you too can contribute!

Behind the curtains, our webmaster Dr. Trisha Kimes has spent countless (unpaid) hours further developing our website so that it is user-friendly, esthetic, functional and can support our future endeavors such as a HIPPA compliant chat room where dentists can discuss cases both hypothetical and real.  We have saved you time by now providing on-line registration for meetings and other events!

We appreciate our members and to show that, we organize an annual new member dinner and membership appreciation picnic.  Legacy is important in every culture and this year we honored our members that have been with us for over 50 years.

This 2015-2016 Capital Area Dental Society board has you, our members, in the forefront of our minds.  We give of our time and energy to create a tight-knit dental community that can be the foundation of professional growth by creating opportunities for volunteerism, mentorship, education, advocacy and friendship.  This is our goal.  This is where we begin.

By Elyse Cronin Barron, DDS
CADS President, 2015-2016

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President’s Message April 2016

 

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April is going to be a fantastic month for the Capital Area Dental Society.  You have two opportunities to visit with old friends, forge friendships and expand your circle.

Who is looking forward to the Foundation’s Gala this year?  All of you should be raising your hands wildly. I have a strong suspicion that the “Boots and Bling” will bring some faces and some giving that will top all previous years.  Just yesterday in a Bible study group we were talking about giving.  Looking at what I just wrote this is what our dental society and the foundation is doing for you.  April 16th is the night to give (and have a night out)!

April 23rd is the CADS Membership Appreciation picnic.  It will again be held at the Zilker Polo Picnic Tables with Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ catering the event.  Please bring your families.  It is often challenging to balance work and family life.  There never seems to be enough time in the day.  The kids will have a blast with the jump houses, games and face painting.  Feel free to bring any other activities you would enjoy!

Cheers to reminiscing and cheers to making new memories!