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RDH Under One Roof -- Chicago 2008

April 1, 2008
Naomi Rhode, RDH, is the keynote speaker for the 2008 RDH Under One Roof conference.
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We Proudly Introduce ...
Naomi Rhode, RDH, is the keynote speaker for the 2008 RDH Under One Roof conference. The title of her presentation is, "Reviving Your Passion for Your Personal and Professional Life." She is co-founder of the SmartPractice dental company, and a recipient of the National Speakers Association"s most sought-after award, the Cavett Award. Her course description states what the keynote address will accomplish: "You will be challenged to introspectively examine ‘The Privilege of Your Many Life Platforms." You will leave with a revived commitment and passion for your personal life choices and professional path."

Naomi Rhode, RDH
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The best place to check for course topics and additions to the course lineup (particularly workshops, which require pre-registration) is the conference"s Web site,

RDH magazine, of course, encourages readers to listen to their favorite authors at UOR. RDH columnists speaking at the 2008 conference include Nancy Burkhart, Dianne Glasscoe, Anne Guignon, Noel Kelsch, Lory Laughter, and Lynne Slim.

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Other authors who have recently contributed articles and will be speaking at UOR include Margaret Fehrenbach, Shirley Gutkowski, Kristine Hodsdon, Kelli Swanson Jaecks, Amy Nieves, Cathy Seckman, Cheryl Thomas, Diane Thomas, and Bethany Valachi.

Pillow Talk

Like the Omni Shoreham of last year's RDH Under One Roof, the Hilton Chicago is not modest about its rich history. The Shoreham placed little cards on the pillows of guests, providng a little snippet about a celebrity guest from the past.

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The Hilton places a card titled, "A hotel fit for a queen," on its pillows. Guests learn that Queen Elizabeth II was there in 1958, and that LBJ announced he would not seek a second term while staying there.

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"We are honored to add your name to our distinguished guest list," the card concludes.

Actually, the hotel has its own history book: "Chicago"s Grand Hotel," written by Robert Allegrini and Geraldine Hempel Davis. For more insight on the hotel's history, see the "Our Favorite Movie" section of this article.

The 1,544 guest rooms in the hotel (many overlook downtown Chicago's Grant Park) are offered for the rates of $186 (single) and $206 (double), which translates to about $215 to $235 a night with taxes. The nearby Palmer House Hilton, which has hosted three RDH Under One Roof conferences, also has rooms available at the same rates.

Roommates for the conference can be found at, which has an e-mail list for dental hygienists. A neat thing about this hotel is the large foyers by the elevators. In the old days, guests checked in at the foyer on the floor where the room was. Nowadays, these foyers are good for telling your roommate to take the 2 a.m. cell phone conversation "out there." It's actually very nice — lots of sofas, lamps, and comfortable chairs.

UOR has a housing application at, as well as other travel information. For example, the information advises you to plan on at least $45 for cab fares from the airport to the hotel. The airport shuttles, though, cost about half the fares charged by cabs.

Pillow Talk II: Going for Free

Does all the talk above about room rates and cab fares sound expensive? Most dental conventions and vacations are. But we're going to argue that RDH Under One Roof is a dental show just for you, a practicing hygienist, and you should do something for yourself (see Anne Guignon"s blog about the conference at

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But there's a contest you should enter. How does a free trip to RDH Under One Roof sound?

Zenith Dental is generously paying for airfare, tuition, and hotel for two UOR attendees. Be sure to register at Zenith's Web site at for a chance to win. The deadline for entries is May 30.

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But go ahead and register for UOR anyway. If you're one of the winners, you can cancel your UOR registration without penalty up until July 3. And you receive the UOR photo album and luggage tag for early registration, as well as first dibs on workshop seminars.

Take A Left, Then A Right

If you're a veteran of RDH Under Roof conferences, then you know they typically take place in older, classic hotels, such as the Palmer House down the street. The Hilton Chicago is no exception, and the meeting places often seem to be on different floors in confusing locations — just like finding a butler's vanity instead of a restroom in an old house that"s now a tourist attraction.

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First all, if you"re lost, stop someone wearing a PennWell (the owner of RDH magazine and the UOR conference) shirt and ask for directions.

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But think of the puzzle in this way:

  • The lunches and the product exhibits are in the lower lobby level — in other words, the basement. The floor has four exhibit halls and RDH UOR is in the "Northwest" one, and plenty of signs point to it.
  • The "general sessions" (seminars that do not require you to register in advance or pay an additional fee) are in the Continental ballrooms. These meeting areas are on the lobby level. Picture the reception desk where you checked into the hotel, and walk to the opposite corner of the floor.
  • The "workshops" (the seminars that require registration before the meeting and sometimes involve an additional fee) are primarily on the third floor. As you leave the third floor foyer by the elevators, take a right turn — you'll bump right into the Joliet and Marquette rooms. The oddest location for workshop seminars is the eighth floor. But think of it as going for a swim or a massage. The pool and exercise areas are on the same floor. Signs will guide you the rest of the way. The Lake Erie and Lake Michigan meeting rooms may seem isolated from the rest of UOR, but at least they're quiet, right?

Click here to view General Session Schedule For a complete schedule, featured hands-on and small group workshops, course descriptions, special events, online registration and much more, visit

You Can Skip Lunch And Dinner, But...

The conference feeds you lunch on Friday and Saturday, as well as hors d'oeuvres at the receptions on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

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But breakfast is on your own, and we agree with Mother that you shouldn't skip it. We thought the hotel's breakfast buffet was a little too pricey ($23 per plate). The Eleven City Diner is a popular breakfast place two blocks from the hotel, and the prices are much more reasonable. There are also fast food restaurants on the back side of the hotel on Wabash.

As for dinner on Friday, we really do recommend that you consider joining us at the off-site event at Hu-Friedy. It's going to be quite a birthday party for the dental company. However, if you want to step away from the UOR festivities for an evening, the Tamarind sushi bar is right around the corner on Wabash. But our personal favorites for moderately priced dinners in downtown Chicago are Heaven on Seven (Cajun), Italian Village, Rosebud (Italian), Banderas (roasted chicken), Weber Grill Restaurant (barbecue), and, of course, Chicago-style pizza (pick any of the restaurants). It's about a $10 cab fare to these restaurants that are not within walking distance of the hotel.

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We just dissed the hotel's breakfast option a moment ago. But we give two thumbs-up for the food and atmosphere at Kitty O' Shea's, an Irish-style pub that's on the hotel"s lobby level overlooking Michigan Avenue. It's a good option if you just want to stay in the hotel one night, or to get a quick lunch.

Our Favorite Movie

That's easy for us. The Fugitive. Harrison Ford scrambling all over the Hilton Chicago to confront his colleague, Dr. Nichols. But you may prefer re-visting the scenes shot at the Hilton Chicago for U.S. Marshalls, My Best Friends' Wedding, Home Alone II, Primal Fear, The Package, and Road to Perdition.

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The hotel, which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary, could be the focus of a movie by itself. A 2006 Chicago magazine retrospective described the hotel's birth as, "When the Stevens Hotel (original name for the hotel) opened in 1927, the newspapers wrote of a new Versailles rising on South Michigan Avenue. The colossal building soared 28 stories and occupied an entire city block between Seventh and Eighth streets. With 3,000 guest rooms, it was the biggest hotel in the world — and possibly the most opulent. Its brick-and-limestone walls, decorated inside with hand-painted frescoes, contained fine restaurants, exclusive shops, and vast ballrooms. There was a bowling alley, a hospital, and a special private room for pets. The Stevens could produce 120 gallons of ice cream per hour. On its roof, you could play miniature golf at the High-Ho Club."

And, of course, some dental veterans still remember their history with the hotel, since it hosted the Chicago Midwinter meeting for many years prior to the current location at McCormick Place.

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Something Else To Do
The indoor pool and indoor jogging track are complimentary to guests. An exercise gym is $15 a day, or $35 for a three-day pass. The prices of massages range from $55 to $115.

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But, seriously, the odds for gorgeous weather in downtown Chicago in late July is almost 100 percent. Grant Park is across the street. Shopping at the Magnificent Mile is a $10 cab fare away. The White Sox are on the road, but the Cubs open a three-game homestand against the Pirates in Wrigley Field that weekend.

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The Art Institute, the Outdoor Music Pavillion, and Millennium Park are four blocks away on the most famous street in Chicago in the lingering daylight of a summer evening. At the other end of the park is the natural history museum and aquarium. The downside is that they close at 5 p.m and 6 p.m., respectively, and most UOR seminars conclude around that time. So we recommend strolling north for leisurely exercise.