ODA Annual Session a great place for teams to learn, shop, have fun

Dr. Teresa Martin’s office attends the ODA Annual Session together as a team each year. They like to wear unique matching shirts so that they can stand out to each other in the crowd. This year’s Annual Session will be Sept. 17-20 in Columbus.

For many dental offices, the Ohio Dental Association Annual Session is more than just a CE meeting – it’s a time where teams can get together outside of the office, learn about new techniques and products, plus spend some quality time together having fun.

“Our team attends the Annual Session every year,” said Paula Piatt, office manager at Dr. Kelly Roth’s office in Canton. “It is a great bonding time for all of us.  We each take classes relevant to our specialties and also a team seminar if available.”

This year’s theme – Excellence in Collaboration – highlights the many ways different people within the dental community work together. One of the most important aspects of collaboration among the dental community is within an office among the team members.

Many teams find that by attending Annual Session together, they are able to learn more information to better serve their patients and get the most out of their time.

“We have decided that attending Annual Session as a team helps us all stay on the same page while helping our patients as well as our business side,” said Kellie Bell, group financial coordinator at Dr. Teresa Martin’s office in New Boston. “Dentistry is moving at such a fast technological pace that it would be difficult to keep up without the help of Annual Session and other continuing education. Fortunately, with the variety of personalities in our group we all have different ways of learning. We are all able to absorb the material offered from different perspectives and share our personal views from many other aspects with one another.”

After Annual Session, Bell said their team gets together to go over the information they learned.

“We continue to learn even after Annual Session during our ‘Post Session Debriefing,’” she said. “It is amazing what information is missed when only one or two group members attend as opposed to the mass amount of what you retain when you attend as a group.”

Piatt agreed that meeting together after Annual Session is beneficial, and the team can continue learning together even after the event.

“When we return from ODA, we have a staff meeting to discuss what we learned, products that we were interested in, etc.,” she said.  “It’s like a shopping spree, of sorts, with all sorts of new products and technology available.  Many of us sign up for e-newsletters from speakers so that we can continue to learn about new information throughout the year.”

And for many teams attending Annual Session is more than just a learning experience. Some teams have traditions of wearing matching clothes, going to dinner together, experiencing Columbus and just having fun together.

“As far as group traditions go, we love the cultural changes just two hours north of our small hometown, Portsmouth,” Bell said. “Traditionally, we like to try different cuisine each time we visit. We love to eat so, it is always a treat.  We also wear matching ‘unique’ shirts every year to help us stand out to each other. No one is really sure how the tradition of matching shirts got started, but we aren’t getting any younger, so we need all the help we can get finding each other in a large crowd.”

Piatt said their office has dinner together every evening, and some of the staff members have kids at OSU who meet up with them for dinner as well. They also wear shirts with their office logo on them to show unity.

“We feel this weekend is a ‘sisters’ weekend and we have a great time,” Piatt said.  “In 2013, Dr. Kelly took all of us to the Blake Shelton concert.  We donned our jeans and cowgirl hats and boots for a rip roarin’ good time. We enjoy spending the evenings together; even getting into our jammies, having pizza delivered and watching a movie.”

While some teams have had a long standing tradition of attending Annual Session together, other offices are just starting their tradition.

“This is actually our first year to begin the tradition of attending ODA Annual Session together!  We are looking forward to our first visit as an office,” said Gretchen Adamson, office manager at Drs. Robert Garland and Benjamin Johnson’s office in Kettering. “We started this to have an educational way to spend some out-of-the-office time together.  When we return to the office, we are looking forward to having each team member contribute a new idea or product to implement.  Our favorite part of beginning this tradition is the opportunity to learn new things and keep current on technology as well.  We, as an office, are looking forward to making this a yearly attendance!”

Annual Session has many opportunities for the entire dental team. There are classes geared toward each member of the dental team, plus motivational and educational speakers that will discuss topics relevant to the entire dental team. The Exhibit Hall is a great opportunity for teams to explore new technology and purchase new equipment for the office together. 

“Our favorite part of attending Annual Session as a group is just that. As a group is how we feel that we do our best work,” Bell said. “As a group, we love what we do. We enjoy helping patients and appreciate the opportunities for continuing education that are offered at Annual Session. Dr. Martin has always considered Annual Session to be her ‘Dental Family Reunion.’ We all look forward to attending every year.”

The 2015 ODA Annual Session will be Sept. 17-20 in Columbus. For more information and to register, click here.