7th District Delegates to the ADA

Delegates from the 7th District, which is made up of Ohio and Indiana, met in Houston for the American Dental Association House of Delegates meeting in October.

As I write this column, I have just returned to Ohio from the ADA’s annual meeting (SmileCon) in Houston. During that meeting, the ADA’s House of Delegates (HOD) met to chart the course of the ADA for the coming year. This year was different from past years in that one of the most significant changes in the ADA’s governance was proposed for the HOD to consider.

Earlier in 2022, ADA President Dr. Cesar Sabates from Florida appointed a special task force charged with evaluating the ADA’s existing business model and determining how best to improve the ADA’s processes to enable innovation, speed and transparency within an ever-evolving health care landscape. The Task Force was chaired by Dr. Ron Lemmo, who is a past president of the ODA and past treasurer of the ADA. Dr. Tom Paumier, another past ODA president, also served on the task force. Lemmo and Paumier were instrumental in developing a new strategic forecasting plan for the ADA that will make the ADA a more nimble, agile and accountable organization. The HOD overwhelmingly passed the ADA’s strategic forecasting plan and several delegates told me how appreciative they were for Lemmo and Paumier’s leadership on this issue. They both played key roles in developing the plan and educating members of the HOD on its merits.

Lemmo and Paumier were not the only Ohio Dental Association leaders who shined during the ADA HOD meeting. Dr. Najia Usman, who is a past ODA officer, chaired the ADA Reference Committee on Dental Benefits, Practice and Related Matters. She shepherded an important resolution through the HOD revising the ADA’s policy opposing insurance company ratings of dentists that are based on cost or non-validated utilization patterns because they are inherently flawed, unreliable and potentially misleading to the public.

Dr. Matt Messina, who is the ODA’s executive editor, chaired the ADA’s Reference Committee on Legislative, Health, Governance and Related Matters. Messina spearheaded resolutions that update the ADA’s policies on several matters, including efforts to stop the unlicensed practice of dentistry and dental hygiene, supporting research, collaboration and appropriate discussions between dentists and other health care providers to help identify systemic diseases that are strongly suspected to have a direct relationship to a patient’s oral health, and encouraging the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to require each state Medicaid agency to monitor the dental loss ratio of dental Medicaid managed care entities.

ODA leaders do not just shine during the ADA HOD meetings. Dr. Mark Bronson, who is an ODA past president, is currently serving a two-year term as ADA vice president. His service follows closely on the heels of Dr. Joe Crowley, another past ODA president, who served as ADA president in 2018. Bronson serves as chair of the ADA Medicaid Task Force which issued a report calling for significant reforms of dental Medicaid in America. Bronson will continue his important work on Medicaid reform as well as diversity and inclusion, budget matters and governance issues during the rest of 2022 and 2023.

ODA leaders also shine in leadership capacities on ADA councils and committees. Dr. Najia Usman is currently serving as vice chair of the ADA Council on Dental Education and Licensure. ODA President-Elect Dr. Manish Chopra is currently serving as vice chair of the ADA Council on Dental Practice. ODA Treasurer Dr. Kyle Bogan just concluded his year as chair of the ADA Council on Membership. Past ODA president Dr. Kim Gardner just completed his term on the ADPAC Board of Directors, while Dr. Purnima Kumar is serving on the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs; Dr. Alex Mellion from the Akron Dental Society is serving on the ADA New Dentist Committee; Dr. Rod Adams from the Greater Cleveland Dental Society is serving on the ADA Council on Dental Benefit Programs; Dr. Nan Tertel from the Toledo Dental Society is serving on the ADA Advisory Committee on Annual Meetings; ODA Speaker of the House Dr. Kelly Roth is serving on the ADA Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs; and past ODA officer Dr. Bert Jacob and Dr. James Male from the Columbus Dental Society are serving on the ADA Council on Members Insurance and Retirement Programs.

In addition to these leaders who are currently serving, there is a long list of other ODA members who have served in various leadership capacities at the national level including as council and committee chairs, on ADA reference committees, and in other capacities in recent years.

It is truly astonishing how many ODA leaders thrive as leaders at the ADA. Dr. Tom Paumier recently told me that ODA members do such a great job at the ADA because the ODA consciously works to develop our members’ leadership skills, so they are well prepared to be leaders at every level of organized dentistry. He is right.

One of our main leadership development programs is the ODA’s annual Leadership Institute, which is open to all ODA members. This innovative two-day leadership development program features speakers and sessions that are designed to help make dentists better leaders not just within organized dentistry but also in dentists’ dental practices and in their communities. The next Leadership Institute is scheduled to be held in Columbus at the Hilton at Easton on Friday and Saturday, March 24-25. More information will be forthcoming in a future issue of the “ODA Today.” In the meantime, please mark your calendar and plan to attend.