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Looking towards the future: incoming President Angela M. Swatts considers the challenges that lie ahead.

I am extremely honored to be serving as the President of the American Dental Assistants Association. It is with great appreciation that I thank the presidents who have come before me as they have paved the way for this great association. They were the leaders who had the foresight and determination to bring the ADAA and dental assisting forward 85 years to where it is today. If not for them and the passion and drive of their peers, I would not have the privilege of addressing the dedicated professionals we are today.

As I begin my term as your President, my challenge to you is to keep an open mind as we explore the profession of dental assisting and our commitment to the ADAA.

Our times are changing and changing fast. I see it all around us with the expanded use of the Internet, Facebook, Twitter and online education. We now learn and communicate in a different manner than we did 85 years ago when Juliet Southard founded the ADAA. In fact, we learn and communicate differently than we did just five years ago.

As an association, are we ready for this? Are we prepared to meet the needs of all dental assistants, in all capacities? We cannot simply tread water and expect to adequately meet the needs of our profession.

I implore you to think outside the box. Look beyond your comfort zone for ways to reach out to dental assistants throughout the United States and perhaps even throughout the world. While there is nothing wrong with the way our founders did things, we are facing different obstacles than our predecessors, such as competitive continuing education online, new classifications of dental assistants, fierce legislative issues regarding dental assisting duties, and the fast-paced development of product and equipment technology.

After 20 years of membership, I myself still enjoy attending my local, state and national meetings for education, fellowship and networking. However, there is another generation who views thing differently. We must be proactive and connect with all these dental assistants who are currently not being provided for. We are the best of the best when it comes to the profession of dental assisting.

So, I ask you, how can we be better? How can we provide for those of us who still like the personal interaction and are the foundation of what we stand for while meeting the needs of the future generations that will carry this association into another 85 years?

Our goals remain the same as they have always been: education, membership, legislation and mandatory credentialing. My challenge is to determine the best way we can apply these principles in today's ever-changing environment.

We cannot be left behind. As your President, I am committed to lead the ADAA on this quest of adapting to a changing generation of membership needs, in order to guarantee our place as the one and only association dedicated to the advancement of the profession of dental assisting, PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE!

Angela M. Swatts

ADAA President, 2009-2010

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Title Annotation:American Dental Assistants Association
Author:Swatts, Angela M.
Publication:The Dental Assistant
Article Type:Viewpoint essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2009
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