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8th District.

Every year, thousands of dental professionals volunteer to provide care, equipment, time, and money for free dental services--both nationally and internationally. As a rule, these individuals not only donate all of this but also pay for their own travel, lodging, and other expenses. These dental professionals take time from their busy lives and work schedules to do this. They are not paid to do it. So why do they?

If you are one of these individuals, you may be able to explain why you do it. Often, it is the desire to give back to society and help those who need your services. The individuals who receive these services come from all walks of life, but have one thing in common: They need dental care.

The dental assistants in the 8th District always step up and provide these services. They volunteer for Missions of Mercy and many other groups such as CHIPS. For example, Mission of Mercy holds events in Kansas (February), Nebraska (April), Missouri (July), and Iowa (October). Student assistants participated in the CHIPS program at the Nebraska State Fair recently. Many other free volunteer programs exist in the district as well. Are you and your states stepping up? Volunteering offers an excellent way to promote the profession of dental assisting and the American Dental Assistants Association.

Volunteering is also a great way to network. When I participated in the Missouri Mission of Mercy, I encouraged dentists from Missouri--who train their own assistants because there are no regulations in the state--to consider paying for their employees' ADAA memberships so they could use the extended library of online education to help educate those individuals. This allows them to do the courses at their own pace and on their own time.

Many local, state, national, and international groups could use your help. Just this summer, I tried, unsuccessfully, to get oral health care information provided in Dallas for the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Conference. These children and adults would benefit greatly from some education on oral health. My 5-year-old grandson was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy as an infant and has been in a wheelchair since he was 14 months old. He can use an electric toothbrush. I have a challenge to the Florida Association: In July 2019, this same group will meet in Orlando. Step up and volunteer to help these individuals. Volunteers would need to learn about the condition, see what kind of treatment patients receive, and speak with professionals about assisted and non-assisted brushing. It could be done at a vender booth or group presentation or some other format. Just handing out toothbrushes at an event would be helpful.

Many groups participate in volunteering events in February for Dental Health Month instead of year round. Volunteering shows the public what we are about; let's get started.

I encourage each District to step up and volunteer. You will never regret the effort you put into it.

The 8th District includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.

Darlene Mundt, CDA

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Title Annotation:TRUSTEE NEWS
Author:Mundt, Darlene
Publication:The Dental Assistant
Date:Sep 1, 2018
Previous Article:3rd District Trustee.
Next Article:9th District.

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