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Fellow dental therapists,

 

As we look forward to the year ahead I would like to introduce our new leadership team, highlight some of our accomplishments for the year, and mention our strategic plan for growing and expanding our profession.  Dental therapy started as a grassroots effort, where coalitions gained enough influence to do something about those being left behind.  Can you believe there are now 73 dental therapists and advanced dental therapists licensed in Minnesota!  Many treat the most vulnerable who experience a geographic, language, financial, medical, or cultural barrier to care.   

 

First, I’d like to thank the members that have recently served.  Jodi Hager, Christy Jo Fogarty, Andi Jordan, and Lauren Johnson have done a fantastic job transitioning and growing our organization.  This group landed a large grant from Pew Research which is going to help our profession tremendously.    

 

Next, I’d like to welcome the newest members to the leadership team.  Drew Christianson was elected as Vice President, Karen Bohnen as Secretary, Sheri Solseng-Trif and as Treasurer, and myself as President.  I would like you to consider serving in the future.  This group is working together on their nights, evenings, and weekends to move our cause forward.   I look forward to serving the following year with you.

 

We’re enthusiastic about membership growth from prior years.  Our membership has grown in the past year from 20 to 44 members, an incredible 120% increase.  We have set the goal for our membership to be 80% of the actively practicing therapists.  If you recruit a new member the organization will give you a $20 discount on next year’s membership as an incentive.  

 

With the help of a grant from Pew Research we have been able to launch a fabulous new website.  You can pay dues, post jobs, and more at www.mndta.org.  Another effort is to promote and educate through the lunch and learn project.  We’ve been in the trenches explaining to others in dentistry how dental therapy can really work in clinical practice.  We have completed 11 and more are being scheduled each day, if you’d like to be a presenter contact Karen Bohnen at bohne059@umn.edu.

 

Another portion of our mission is to promote dental therapy outside our State.  Christy Jo Fogarty recently made a trip to speak before the North Dakota Legislature about dental therapy.  We know that legislatures are looking for solutions to make care accessible and affordable and we’re out there promoting our profession every day.   We’re also offering a CE course with some great speakers at Normandale Community College Room A2564 from 1-4 on September 29th.    

 

Finally, my vision for dental therapy is for us to be a key part of the oral health workforce in Minnesota and the United States.  Our profession must be sustainable.  That means that our scope of practice must work in the real world.  We need to be able to legally provide care that patients need, and to be reimbursed in a way that creates good jobs with opportunities for career advancement for dental therapists, and advanced dental therapists.  

 

Let us fight together and make our voice heard!



 

William Heitzman, ADT   

MDTA President