For Immediate Release
Date: Oct 19th, 2012
Contact: Dr. Terry Norris
This has been a fast couple of months. I enjoyed visiting with the component societies in Madisonville and Corbin. Of course, the main topic was HB 1. We did the best we could with the emergency regulations; in fact my medical friends keep asking me how WE dentists were able to get the three day exemption for Schedule III drugs without having to KASPER. There will be town hall meetings before the adoption of the permanent regulations. If you have any concerns please send me an e-mail and I will help you get them addressed. The Board of Dentistry needs to hear from more than Mike Porter, Dr. Ted Logan or me. Suggestions can be written or oral and the Board will act on all communications at a public hearing.
When I think of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s slogan, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”, I see an application for the Kentucky Dental Association. Our 1,600 members can do more together than we could ever do separately. As with all civic and professional organizations, the dilemma is maintaining membership, let alone growing it. What are the barriers to maintaining membership? Immediately the stalled economy comes to mind, “Dues add to overhead decreasing our bottom line”. Some feel that as an organization, “You are not doing enough”. Others may take the stance that “you will provide legislatively for us whether we are members or not”. Younger professionals may say, “There are a lot of grey hairs running the show”. We all know that excuses are endless so I will stop at this point.
Counsellors always advise clients to change what you can and live with what you cannot. Well, we are stuck with the economy so we can cross that one off of the list. Related to the economy is the dues issue. For those who choose, in January we will be starting monthly credit card debits applicable towards the 2014 dues for those who choose. This convenience will surely make budgeting easier. I plan on taking advantage of it and hope you will also. The bottom line is that dues end up costing about $5.00 per working day or the amount of profit from a one surface amalgam per week. That is a small amount when viewed this way. Until I got involved in leadership, I had no idea how much the KDA works for me. Since I am a dues paying member, I want to take “ownership”, as the counsellors put it, of my membership and the KDA. Ownership means taking responsibility. We all have questions about this or that in the KDA and those questions need to be verbalized and answered in a timely and professional matter. The KDA is open to your questions and suggestions. Dave Ramsey says the dumbest question is the one that is not asked. This is not demeaning but simply says ask it, get an answer and do not let it work on you. Please, do not be afraid to dialogue with any of us. I guarantee we will be professional. Our goal is to learn from you. We want to do better.
I am in the grey hair group and understand the importance of energy and knowledge that our younger members can contribute. Our New Leader’s Conference last fall was fantastic. Already some of our young members have been put on workgroups to lend their expertise and fresh ideas. I have a good feeling that this next generation will continue the glory days of dentistry.
The real pearl in increasing membership has to revolve around relationships. This is the crux of Membership Matters. In the past, organizations and churches could literally open their doors and people would come. Today we live in an era where people question everything and are very judicious about how their money is spent. This can be used to our advantage by being transparent with our finances and quick to respond to questions and criticism. Our active members must make a commitment to develop close relationships with inactive members and non-members. Sometimes an invitation to a meeting is enough. Other times offering to pay for that young dentist’s meeting is necessary. The best and most productive way is taking time to mentor and work with a young dentist. I must admit my views have changed in this aspect over the last four years. I was green when I graduated in 1978, and Dr. Henry Smith and Dr. Jon Fisher worked with us newbies, here in Owensboro. It made a difference. Guess what? New dentists are still green when they graduate and they need our support and help. Do not wait for them to ask because often they will not. As we get older our circle of influence must continue to grow or we are not being true to our profession. I know of two dentists, a five-year veteran and a “grey hair”, that had lunch with a new struggling dentist and made a commitment to help. The young dentist is not a KDA member due to a lack of finances, but I am sure that dentist will be a future member due to the relationship that is developing. A follow up conversation indicated he was taken back by the support offered.
A pastor once said, “The chicken was concerned, but the pig was committed”. The chicken’s concern was only an inconvenience in supplying the eggs, while the pig gave his all to provide the bacon. If we are only concerned, this issue will be lunch conversation at the Ham-N-Egg Diner, while our commitment will involve time and energy. In the end our commitment will make us stronger, make for a healthy next generation and make the KDA a stronger organization with a greater circle of influence.
Have a great influential day.
Dr. Terry L. Norris