As you will see on pages within this issue of the “ODA Today,” ODA members continue to play important leadership roles at the American Dental Association.

Dr. Mark Bronson, a general dentist from Cincinnati, just concluded serving a two-year term as a vice president of the ADA. In that role, among many other responsibilities, Bronson led the ADA’s priority efforts on reforming the dental Medicaid system and eliminating barriers to ADA membership for underrepresented minorities.

Last year, when the ADA decided to revamp its governance structure in order to make the organization nimbler and more responsive to the member dentists’ needs, it created a new Strategic Forecasting Committee and asked Dr. Ron Lemmo, a general dentist from Cleveland and past ADA treasurer, to be the chair of this newly formed governance body. Dr. Tom Paumier, a general dentist from Canton, was also selected to serve on the ADA’s SFC.

Several years ago, Lemmo and Paumier were critical in developing the ODA’s long-term strategic planning process, tying the plan to the ODA’s budget, and measuring outcomes of every program to ensure the ODA is directing its resources to the members’ priorities in an effective and efficient manner. Accordingly, it is not surprising that the ADA has turned to Lemmo and Paumier to assist in revitalizing the ADA’s business model and strategic forecasting process.

Dental licensure reform has long been a goal for organized dentistry, and great progress has been made. Many states, including Ohio, have gone away from live patient clinical licensing exams in favor of using manikins. Alternative pathways to licensure, including completing an accredited post graduate residency program (PGY1) have been recognized in many states, including Ohio. The development and acceptance of Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE) that focus on requiring candidates to use their clinical skills to successfully complete dental problem-solving tasks have accelerated in recent years.

Most recently, the ADA has partnered with other entities, including the Council of State Governments, the American Dental Hygienists Association and the U.S. Department of Defense, to support the mobility of licensed dentists and dental hygienists through the development of a new interstate licensure compact. This compact will create reciprocity among participant states and reduce the barriers to license portability. The ODA is supporting Senate Bill 40 at the Ohio Statehouse, which would add Ohio as one of the states participating in this new dentist and dental hygienist licensure compact.

All of these efforts are being advanced at the national level by the Coalition for Modernization of Dental Licensure, which is a coalition of 128 national and state organizations, institutions and programs representing dentistry, dental education, dental specialties, dental hygiene and nonprofit groups working to improve public access to oral health care and increase licensure portability to allow for professional mobility. The coalition’s chair is Dr. Joe Crowley, a general dentist from Cincinnati and past ADA president. Crowley has been a passionate advocate for licensure reform for more than two decades here in Ohio and is now leading the efforts at the national level.

It is not surprising that ODA members continue to serve in leadership capacities at the national level. All four – Bronson, Lemmo, Paumier and Crowley – have long histories of serving in leadership roles within organized dentistry including here at the ODA. All four are past ODA presidents and have chaired multiple councils and committees during their time leading the ODA.

And the pipeline of leadership from Ohio remains strong. Many ODA leaders are now serving on ADA councils and committees, and several have recently risen into leadership ranks. For example, ODA President Dr. Manish Chopra, a prosthodontist from Cincinnati, just concluded a term as chair of the ADA’s Council on Dental Practice. He will become the ADA Seventh District trustee next October. Dr. Najia Usman, an endodontist from Medina and past ODA secretary, is the new chair of the ADA Council on Dental Education and Licensure. Dr. Purnima Kumar, a periodontist and past member of the ODA’s Council on Dental Care Programs and Dental Practice, is the new chair of the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs. Dr. Kelly Roth, a general dentist from Canton who serves as the ODA’s speaker of the House, is also the new vice chair of the ADA’s Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs (CEBJA).

When the CEBJA launched its new national podcast last year called “Dental Dilemmas” to shine a spotlight on ethics in dentistry, the ADA asked Dr. Alex Mellion, an orthodontist from Akron and a member of the ADA’s New Dentist Committee, to be the host for the first season.

Not only are ODA members active at the ADA but they also serve at other national organizations. For example, ODA’s Secretary Dr. Roderick Adams, who is a general dentist from Cleveland, serves as vice speaker for the National Dental Association, and Dr. Hans Guter, a general dentist from Circleville, who has served on various ODA councils and committees, is currently the president of the Academy of General Dentistry.

As you can see, Ohio continues its long history of national leadership within the dental profession. Paumier points out that this impressive history is because the ODA does an excellent job preparing leaders. Paumier recently told me that “dental leaders from Ohio understand the dedication, hard work and commitment to accountability necessary to make our professional association successful because we learned that at the ODA.”