What do the words leadership, fellowship, and mentorship have in common?
These words represent the motto of the American Academy of Dental Hygiene. The AADH is an organization for dental hygienists dedicated to professional growth through leadership, fellowship and mentorship. Membership is granted to hygienists with at least 75 hours of continuing education over a five year period and 750 hours of clinical or professionally related experience within the past five to eight years.
In addition, Fellowship is granted to members who maintain membership within the organization for three years, have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, and fulfill certain criteria such as community service volunteer, public and continuing education presenter, or holding office in the association.
AADH is also an accrediting body for continuing education for dental hygienists modeled on the American Academy of Periodontology’s accrediting guidelines. AADH is the dental hygiene equivalent to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) for dentists. Continuing education programs approved by AADH meet high standards of academic and professional criteria.
In 2005, the AADH held its annual business meeting at PennWell and RDH magazine’s RDH Under One Roof Conference (UOR) held in Chicago. It became an instant success and the membership of AADH decided to continue to hold its annual meeting in conjunction with UOR. For 2006, UOR was hosted in Las Vegas at the Rio Hotel and Casino from July 26-28. More than 900 dental hygiene professionals attended the 2006 UOR! From the keynote address by Dianne Glasscoe, to dozens of individual course presentations, to the Power Hours, and finale at the Masquerade Lounge, UOR was an extraordinary event.
Each year PennWell and RDH strive to provide exceptional continuing education programs for dental hygienists just in the same manner as AADH. In fact, the courses presented at UOR are approved by AADH for continuing education credit.
The 2006 AADH annual business and continuing education meeting offered a mix of history and glimpse of the future. Christel Koppel Autuori, RDH, BS, is a graduate of the Forsyth School for Dental Hygienists and currently is a practicing hygienist. She is a former instructor at the Fones School of Dental Hygiene and a participant in the Forsyth Rotunda Project, an experiment in the 1970s that trained dental hygienists in the expanded functions of restorative dentistry. Christel shared her experiences of the project, including a perspective by one of the remaining dentists that participated in the project who was in attendance, Dr. Lloyd Nolan. She equated the Rotunda Project and its outcomes to the proposed Advanced Dental Hygiene Practitioner (ADHP), which is in the developmental stages at the ADHA. Hygienists who were involved in the project provided exceptional restorative care to the patients involved. This provides implications for advancement of access to care for all Americans.
The business meeting of AADH introduced new members Autuori and Millie Thaw, along with the presentation of Fellowships to Winnie Furnari in Forensics and Ann-Marie DePalma in Education. Other Fellows of the Academy include: Linda Bohacek, Ann Kosznesoff, and Joyce Turcotte. The latter Fellowships were given without specialties, while the new candidates for Fellowship can declare a specialty within dental hygiene.
New business included maintaining the relationship with UOR and PennWell for the Academy’s annual meeting. Other academy business included acknowledgement of Patti DiGangi and Harriet Ludjin for their excellent work in bringing the AADH newsletter, Academy Times, to a higher standard for members, the creation of the Academy’s own website, www.americanacademyofdentalhygiene.org. Furthermore, recognition was given to the development of a tabletop display with graphics and pictures by Leslie Andrews, which was on display in the exhibit halls.
The new executive officers and governing council for the 2006-7 were inducted:
• Officers - president, Mary Calka (CT); president elect, Tricia Osuna (CA); immediate past president, Joyce Turcotte (CT); secretary, Lois Sobel (MA); and treasurer, Judith Nist (RI).
The executive director is Nancy Barnes (NC). The AADH governing council consists of Kim Benkert, Diane B. Thomas, Patti DiGangi, Winnie Furnari, Ann Kosznesoff, and Wanda Nelson.
UOR is a wonderful educational and networking opportunity for hygienists. The continuing education courses, the corporate exhibitors, the social events all combine to promote the professionalism of dental hygiene. If you are a hygienist who is looking for more for yourself, your employer, and, most importantly, your patients, plan to be at RDH Under One Roof on Aug. 2-4, 2007 in Washington, D.C.
Ann-Marie C. DePalma, RDH, BS, FAADH, is currently a faculty member at Mt. Ida College’s dental hygiene program after spending more than 25 years in private practice. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Dental Hygiene and is also pursuing a master’s degree in education in instructional design. Ann-Marie has written numerous articles and provides continuing education programs for dental hygienists and dental team members. She can be reached at [email protected].