The Perspective written by Heidi Emmerling Jones, "To make your colleagues a little more tasty, add a dash of salt and a clove of garlic," in the August 1996 issue is seriously flawed, both in lack of accurate information and in lack of professionalism.
As a member of the Colorado Dental Association, I have served with great pride as a voting delegate for two years in the CDA House of Delegates, along with dental assistants, dental laboratory technicians, and dental office staff members (who are also voting delegates). Your attitude that their presence "robs dental hygienists of our distinct identity as the preventive professional" is reprehensible. What do you mean by "the" preventive professional? Your statement that "some dental hygienists become members of the ADA without their knowledge" is completely irresponsible on your part.
All Allied Dental Team Members sign individual membership applications when joining their state dental associations. You may be enlightened to know that my affiliation with the Metropolitan Denver Dental Society for the past eight years (having been invited for five of those years to lecture for their Midwinter Meeting as a dental hygienist experienced in periodontics, to proudly host speakers two additional years, and my affiliation with the Colorado Dental Association for the past four years as a member, by invitation, serving on the Interprofessional Relations Committee) have been among the most rewarding experiences of my career.
Your statement that "dental hygienists who view their chosen profession as a career rather than just a job need to belong to their own professional organization" is extremely passé. Have you ever heard of the South Carolina Concerned Committee for Dental Hygiene? In addition, one of their founding member dental hygienists was elected, by the state`s licensed dental hygienists, in a landslide victory to the state board of dental examiners two years ago.
The formula by which Allied Dental Team Members are represented in Colorado as voting delegates to the CDA House of Delegates is one member delegate for every 25 members, or portion thereof, and can actually give us more representation than some of the smaller dental components. Your statements that the ADA "targets" non-ADHA members is completely without foundation.
Additionally, our benefits are not "cheap and limited" as you so boldly announce, nor are they "so-called benefits" as you flippantly refer to them. They are, in fact, far too numerous to list here, and I invite you to contact the Colorado Dental Association to inform yourself correctly as to what our wonderful benefits are. In addition, the Colorado Dental Association is currently defining the framework for the opportunity for Allied Dental Team Members to be represented on the Board of Trustees of the Colorado association in the near future.
Your blatant insult to the ADA in laughing at them as a source of career advice serves as another revelation of your obvious fear of participating in a team of professionals and is highly insulting to me, as a dental hygienist of 30 years, as a clinician, lecturer, and team player.
Myra Louise Bender, RDH