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ADAA: Why is ADAA important to you?

Fox: I first heard of the American Dental Assistant Association as a dental assisting student from my instructors in 1977. My instructors told me of the many benefits and that it was important to be a member of the professional organization for dental assistants. They encouraged us to continue our membership after graduation in order to learn and grow and become involved as members. They informed us that having membership in the ADAA would add to our professional resume and would be impressive to a potential employer, along with any additional titles and memberships that would help us stand out in the hiring process. Our instructors relayed the importance of the ADAA liability insurance, the free continuing education, life insurance option, and the ability to network and learn from other dental assistants across the U.S. I joined as a student member and achieved my Life Membership status several years ago, which I am very proud of. I feel it has helped me advance my career and contributed to me being appointed by three different Tennessee Governors to serve as the Dental Assistant Board Member to the Tennessee Board of Dentistry from 2000-2012.

ADAA: What motivated you to become actively involved in ADAA as an officer?

Fox: I was very fortunate to be mentored by some very special dental assisting friends who were very encouraging and supporting throughout my career. My dental assisting instructors, Mary Ellen Vaughn and Imogene Myers, were the first ones to get me involved on the local level, by asking me to serve on the local Ways and Means Committee. I felt it was an honor and I was proud to serve. From that original involvement, I worked hard, did what I was asked to do, and was willing to serve. I then began attending state meetings. After a couple of years attending state meetings, I began attending ADAA National Meetings, serving as a delegate for several years. When our former Fourth District Trustee, Nanette Hill, told us she was not going to run for a second term, I told her I would be interested in serving as trustee, so I served as Fourth District Trustee from 2014-2017. Nanette is a wonderful person and was so kind to help me during my term along with many other wonderful former trustees, such as Claudia Gauthier, Judy Anoff, Sue Camizzi, Carol Walsh and Jan DeBell. At my first trustees meeting, I was very nervous and a little overwhelmed, but I was so fortunate to make such wonderful friendships with these lovely ladies. They welcomed me in with open arms and made me feel comfortable. Even though we no longer serve together on the ADAA Board of Trustees, I will cherish their friendships forever!

ADAA: What inspires or motivates you about dentistry?

Fox: I have an unusual story about how I became a dental assistant. I graduated from high school many years ago and was not financially able to attend college. I was working at a fast food chain, when a friend asked me to go to a dental assisting school orientation with her. I told her I would accompany her, but I didn't want to look in people's mouths all day long! Well, I ended up enrolling in the dental assisting program and she ended up moving away. That was in 1977 and after all of these years, I am still as passionate about dentistry and dental assisting now as I was then. I spent my last 17 years working in oral surgery, which gave me insight into an even more advanced field of dentistry with osteotomy cases, implants, and hospital reconstructive trauma cases. Seeing the before and after cases of patients young and old was amazing; it changes their personalities once they gain self-confidence after surgery.

ADAA: What advice or insight would you give an ADAA member who is contemplating running for office?

Fox: Growing our professional organization often begins on the local level with our dental assisting students becoming members and getting them initially involved there. I would encourage all dental assistants to contact their local organization, if there is one, but if not, maybe they could be the one who takes the initiative to charter a local or student organization. They can check with the ADAA Office to learn who their local and state officers are and to express an interest in becoming an officer and learning how the organization works. Serving as a delegate or alternate to the ADAA Annual Session is an excellent way to become involved on the national level as is volunteering to serve on a council. I personally feel that it takes a few years to become familiar with the dynamics of the association. The more you do, the more you will learn and feel comfortable in running for a national office. Look for a seasoned member to mentor you and don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it, because you can!

ADAA: Do you feel as an officer you were able to achieve the changes you envisioned when you originally ran for office?

Fox: Serving as ADAA Vice President is allowing me to gain a broader insight into the daily activities of ADAA Central office, especially the financial side of running a professional organization. This year is preparing me for future years in office by serving as Council on Finance Chairman. The openness and willingness of our current staff to work with the Executive Board to make necessary changes with an expected outcome of growing our membership is part of what I envisioned when I ran for office. All ADAA board members must be willing to accept change and work hard and fulfill their duties as requested by President DeBell who is guiding us through leadership skills.

ADAA: How do you promote ADAA when representing the organization?

Fox: When I am representing ADAA, I try to be friendly, encouraging, uplifting, willing to help others, and receptive to questions. If I don't immediately know the answer to a question, I will try to ask someone who knows the answer and get back to the person with the correct answer. When I am working a membership booth at a meeting, I encourage the dental assistant to take a membership application back to the office and ask their employer dentist to consider paying for their dues especially since it would give them access to continuing education and liability insurance. I share with them that when I am interviewing for a position, I ask for my ADAA membership to be a part of my benefits package. I also try to interject that I use the free ADAA CEs to help me obtain my ADAA Fellowship and that I am currently working on my Mastership, using the free online CEs and webinars.

MEMBER: Helen A. Bergstrom, CDA, FADAA (NC)

ADAA: As a member of ADAA, what changes have you seen over the span of your career as a dental assistant?

Bergstrom: Dentistry is constantly evolving. Over the past ten years we have seen significant changes within the industry; research breakthroughs, technology boom and decline of dental care utilization. We are gaining a better understanding of how oral health issues are related to other diseases and ailments, technology has afforded dentists and auxiliaries the capability to provide better care faster and more precisely, and dental professionals are navigating the choppy waters that dentistry is in fact healthcare sales.

ADAA: How would you encourage a potential member to join ADAA?

Bergstrom: I encourage all non-members to join by sharing my experiences and the benefits I have received as a member and now Fellow of the ADAA.

ADAA: How would you describe the importance of becoming a member of ADAA to a potential member?

Bergstrom: My membership with the ADAA unites me with my peers and potential mentors. When auxiliaries unite, we have a much stronger voice in the political arena on a local, state, and national level.

ADAA: Why is ADAA membership important to you?

Bergstrom: ADAA membership provides me with a competitive advantage because the ADAA keeps me active with CEs and informed on what's going on within the dental industry.

ADAA: When did you choose to join ADAA?

Bergstrom: I chose to join after meeting an ADAA representative at the 2011 Yankee Dental Congress. She was not only informative but her passion for the organization was contagious.

ADAA: What inspires or motivates you about dentistry?

Bergstrom: What fires me up about dentistry is my passion to help patients make financial arraignments to afford their needed care as well as help the practice with coding optimization. These are two very big hurdles that--when done right--make it possible for the patient to receive the necessary dental care without breaking the bank and the dentist is paid in full for the services they have provided.

ADAA: Have you networked with any other dental assistants as a member of ADAA?

Bergstrom: I have had the pleasure of working with several other ADAA members across the years through social media, conferences and annual meetings. The support I get from my fellow ADAA members has aided me through rough waters and pushed me to a higher level of achievement through collaboration.

ADAA: What aspect of patient care do you enjoy?

Bergstrom: I truly enjoy spending time with patients and educating them on the "Why's" and "What's" of the dental care they need but also the "How's" of their care. Many patients get overwhelmed by the type of dental treatment they need and/or the expense of it. I feel that we are only truly successful when we can successfully overcome these obstacles with our patients for them to receive the dental care they need.

ADAA: What would you say to dental assistants whose doctor does not consider ADAA membership important?

Bergstrom: I would advise them to invite their doctor to accompany them to a chapter meeting or engage with an active member. Dentists may not realize that the ADAA offers its members an organization of support, continuing education, and mentorship that is comparable to their own professional organizations.

STUDENT: Logan Moulton (NH)

ADAA: What motivated you, as a student, to become a member of ADAA?

Moulton: I was motivated to become a member of ADAA because continuing my education is an obligation to myself and my future patients. The ADAA makes it simple to stay up to date on new and upcoming movements in clinical dentistry and patient care.

ADAA: How did you find out about the Association?

Moulton: I found out about the ADAA through one of my instructors at NHTI, Concorde Community College. Becoming a member is a requirement of our CODA accredited program; our instructors really stress the importance of staying up to date on your education in dental assisting. The ADAA is a great way to do that!

ADAA: What are your expectations of ADAA once you graduate?

Moulton: Once I graduate, I expect the ADAA to continue their tremendous job of aiding dental assistants in post-graduation education. It is a one-stop place to find all of your dental assisting needs; continuing education, updates on dental innovations, conferences, and much more!

ADAA: What benefits will you take advantage of as a member of ADAA?

Moulton: As a member, I will definitely be taking advantage of the free online continuing education classes the ADAA offers. CEUs are so important in advancing and maintaining a career as a certified dental assistant.

ADAA: What inspires or motivates you about dentistry?

Moulton: My true passion is bringing dental care to those who would otherwise not receive any. Sometimes we get so caught up in our modern world that sometimes we forget to look at the big picture (or the small picture). When digging deeper there are many areas of this world that need care, even in tiny New Hampshire. Creating more clinics that can offer services at reduced rates while being sustainable and putting efforts into community outreach and education can make a huge difference in your community. Some can get discouraged at the thought that their single effort isn't going to impact enough to make a difference, but could you imagine if every town or city implemented community outreach efforts? One small community effort multiplied by thousands, means millions are receiving dental care they otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to receive.

NEW MEMBER: Sandy Nicholas, CDA(MS)

ADAA: What inspires or motivates you about dentistry?

Nicholas: My passion is dentistry. I truly wake up every morning with the same motto: today, I will change someone's life! A smile can change a person's life in so many ways. My desire is to greet each person with a genuine smile. Life can beat you down and sometimes you wonder if any one even cares. We do not know what another person is going through. A smile from someone can change your mood, attitude, emotions or you will forget your own problems or struggles for a split second and smile back. A smile can be a life changing experience. Every person wants to feel special, loved and that someone really does care how they feel. We live in a fast-paced society that harps on a person's outer appearance. This is where self-esteem comes into play. Most patients can remember the smile they use to have and just wished they could acquire it again. This is what inspires me to be in dentistry. I want to change one life at a time, either give them a smile to let them know someone cares or help them learn to smile again.

I chose to become a member of the ADAA because I want to keep growing and learning in depth in the dental field. The assistant is the first person the patient sees. An assistant can make or break a practice. A dentist can do the best outstanding work on a patient but the patient is going to remember how they were treated as a person while in the dental chair. I was taught by the second dentist I worked with, the importance of how to make a patient feel like a family member, a friend or how proud we were they chose our dental practice to help them with their dental needs. I worked alongside Dr. Mark Donald for 18 years. He taught me to believe in myself and use my talents to help others. I worked with Dr. Donald 15 years as an assistant, then one day I realized that I wanted to become a Certified Dental Assistant. I have been in the dental field for 25 plus years and each day I learn something from one of my doctors, co-workers, or a patient.

My dad asked me in my early 20s what I thought was my best attribute. I thought about it for several days and went back and said I think it is my smile. He said, 'Then use your gift from God to change the world." I cannot see myself doing anything more rewarding than being in the dental field. I want to mentor the next generation of assistants to be the best they can be. This is a career not just a job.

STUDENT: Jennifer Brock (NC) 2019 Juliette A. Southard & 2019 Merit Scholar Award winner

ADAA: As a student, what motivated you to become a member of the ADAA?

Brock: I became interested in becoming a member of the ADAA to further develop professionalism. It is essential for me to demonstrate a good attitude, morale, and reputation within my dental assisting career.

ADAA: How did you find out about the Association?

Brock: All instructors and leaders within the dental assisting program at Wake Technical Community College strongly recommended becoming an ADAA student member. They provided ample background information about the association and how to join.

ADAA: What are your expectations of the ADAA once you graduate?

Brock: After graduation I would like to continue my membership with the ADAA as a professional. I am eager to continue to see how the ADAA will promote the profession of dental assisting, in order to better serve our communities.

ADAA: What benefits will you take advantage of as a member of the ADAA?

Brock: As a member of the ADAA I can remain at the forefront of the career by engaging in educational enrichment opportunities offered by the Association. There are numerous continuing education courses offered and resources offered to communicate with other dental assistants.

ADAA: What inspires or motivates you about dentistry?

Brock: To me, dentistry is an avenue in which I can serve my community in a practical way, while also enriching my own life. I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when I can play a part in helping recover the health of one's smile, giving them the confidence they need to live a successful life.

ADAA welcomes the following new members, who joined ADAA in March and April 2019
Ella        Aguilar           VA
Jerry       Aguirre           NE
Karyn       Allred            NV
Amber       Antonowsky        IN
Jennifer    Armstrong         CT
Sarah       Asarnov           FL
Vita        Baranauskas       MA
Isabel      Barragan          CA
Kelly       Bevington         PA
Giulianna   Bogani            IX
Yurika      Boulware          TX
Tamie       Brimeyer          IA
Brandy      Brooks            TX
Jerri       Brown             WA
Laima       Carp              MA
Joycetina   Carpenter         VA
Gnanika     Chandrakumar      IL
Lauren      Cotchen           PA
Barbara     Cox               PA
Lisa        Daniel            SD
Sarah       De Almeida        RI
Kori        Dear              TX
Kevin       Doan              MI
Andrea      Dyson             ND
JoAnn       Eck               PA
Amy         Egli              IN
Catherine   Evenhouse         IN
Yesenia     Favela            IL
Tamra       Floyd             TX
Nancy       Focht             OR
Shikha      Gill              IN
Lou         Grant             NH
Amanda      Grimard           GA
Bridgette   Halloran          MN
Danielle    Hancock           AZ
Samantha    Head              KY
Laura       Hinton            IN
Shannon     Horton            TX
Angelica    Howson            GA
Trinh       Huynh             PA
Savanna     Jabkowski         IN
Christian   Jewett            ME
Lakisha     Johnson           IN
Stephanie   Keen              IA
Teala       Kelley            MA
Bridget     Lanigan           MN
Ashley      Lebel             CT
Mary        Leckrone          TN
Dorothy     Lee               IN
Lauren      Leviner           NC
Jazzmein    Lorenzo           VA
Jacqueline  Lucas             SC
samantha    Maillet           NH
Tina        Maines            WA
Tamara      McBride           NJ
Rebecca     Mccorkle          OK
Tseday      Mekbib            DC
Jecilia     Millanes          CA
Chelsie     Morris            FL
Donna       Myers             TN
Jesenia     Ocampo            IL
Krista      O'Reilly          WY
Dawna       Ortega Gallegos   NM
Renee       Ourada            MN
Amber       Pauley            IN
Melissa     Perkins           RI
Julie       Pickelman         MI
Julie       Ply               IN
Barbara     Powell            TX
Susan       Radzom            MI
Shawnee     Redmon            IN
Amanda      Reynolds          IN
Jessica     Schweikert        NJ
Simone      Seguin            IN
Jeffrey     Sevener           MI
Hollie      Shaw              GA
Jennifer    Shepard           PA
Carolyn     Sigmon            IA
Sheila      Slay              CA
Rhonda      Soberdash         PA
Jennalee    Soltis            OH
Angela      Soto              TX
Efthimios   Taratsas          MN
Shelby      Terry             IN
Rachel      Thorndike         IA
Rita        Tompkins          AL
Brittany    Trumblay          IN
Jami        VanEnkevort       WI
Nicole      Vomhof            MN
Emmie       Wacker            IN
Porsha      Ware              IN
Madison     Wernick           IN
Elizabeth   Yew               CA
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Publication:The Dental Assistant
Date:May 1, 2019
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