Last year, we spoke with several ASDA leaders from the Dental College of Georgia who were just beginning their new leadership roles—one year later, we decided to follow up and see what they’ve learned, experienced, and changed since 2017.
This article is a continuation of a piece that appeared in the May 2018 issues of GDA Action.
2017-18 State Association Liaison
I was so proud to see the launch of the GDA-DCG mentorship program after working on it for over a year. When I first suggested the program, there was a bit of hesitation given that similar efforts had struggled in the past. Ultimately, though, there were over 80 student-dentist pairs! I hope that this program continues on and helps to bridge the gap between dental students and real-world dentistry.
I found that as is common, logistics within an institution are always challenging—even more so when trying to connect two large institutions like the GDA and DCG. Despite the fact that both students and dentists expressed interest in a mentor program, implementation took about a year. Fortunately, we had support from leaders in both places to help us overcome red tape and make our dream a reality.
I was, and continue to be, amazed at the amount of time dentists volunteer from their busy schedules to participate in organized dentistry. The GDA as an abstract seems self-sustaining but having had a chance to peer inside the organization it is clearly sustained through passionate individuals.
I gained an appreciation for the camaraderie and creativity that exists in the dental community by serving as GDA liaison. Behind the white coats and suits are passionate, caring and fun-loving people working to improve healthcare for the citizens of Georgia. On a personal note, serving as GDA Liaison has deepened my desire to give back to both the dental community and underserved populations.
Some of the most memorable moments as liaison were from ASDA conferences in Nashville, Orlando and Washington D.C. It was inspiring to see dental students from across the country walking the halls of Washington, unified behind efforts to address student debt and access to care.
Next year, I will be a resident at the Advanced Education in General Dentistry program at the Charlie Norwood VA in Augusta.