President's Message

President's Message

Fall is nearly here, OR, so the calendar tells us! September 22 is the official day; however, Arizona won’t feel like fall until early November. For me, Fall is a reminder that the Members’ General Assembly is right around the corner.

In planning the activities, my thoughts reflect on an important question. Maybe this question is yours too. Why “assemble” the members? As occasionally happens, clarity came in an unexpected way. Indulge me while I share a story from a recent experience.

Labor Day Holiday took me to California for my favorite activity: loving my Grandchildren! On Tuesday, I experienced the joy of walking them to school. They bubbled with excitement - “Mimi” will be there for “assembly”. I expected the ring of an 8 AM bell, followed by boisterous children lining up by grades to walk to class. But the experience was entirely different. Indeed, the 8 AM bell rang. Attentively, a throng of youngsters (grades K-8) ceased their play, and organized in a cluster with their teacher and classmates. Standing in front of them, on a microphone, was an 8th grader who delivered a warm “welcome” to classmates and visitors, then invited everyone to turn to the flag while he led them in the pledge of allegiance. Following “with liberty and justice for all” came an invitation to bow heads for prayer (it’s a parochial school). All 600 students and guests bowed heads in silent response. The student leader prayed, invoking God’s help as students “live” the school’s values: Faith, Excellence, Integrity and Service. After “amen” came a short pause, then the typical school announcements: birthdays to be celebrated that week, a canned food & clothing drive for the victims of Houston’s hurricane and special prayer requests for their safety. Ah ha! NOW, the answer to my question seemed obvious!

Members of our association need to “assemble” for camaraderie, networking, and supporting each other as we individually and collectively transition through professional development. We need to recall our “Oath to the Profession” and be reminded why we practice this chosen profession (beyond the paycheck). We need to celebrate our leaders who have donated countless “volunteer service hours” at the component and state levels, and choose our leaders for the next year. We need to reflect on the previous year and recollect our successes, our shortcomings, and revisit our action plans for future legislative efforts. We need to engage in dialog about how we improve care for our private patients or the public at large, and recognize the enormous potential of our profession. Also, we need to recognize and welcome the student hygienists, modeling for them the power of their professional association.

Assembly is more than “parliamentary process” or revising policy or bylaws that govern the association. I recognize this is one aspect of our “purpose for assembling;” however, it cannot be the primary objective. Our time together is precious, and must be valued as such.

I invite you to reserve the day to gather at our Annual General Assembly. It’s on October 21, 2017 at the Homewood Suites in Phoenix. All members, and student members of ADHA, are welcome. Registration is mandatory – more information is coming to your e-mail, on Face book, and our AzDHA website. If you have any questions, email them to info@azdha.org. You may also call Robin at 602-651-1245.  I’m looking forward to being with you.

Heavy Lifting

It’s 5 p.m. on a Wednesday. As I compose this article, I am toggling back and forth, watching live State Senate hearings online. It’s not exciting - but it is important.

The Arizona Senate Health and Human Services Committee, chaired by Senator Barto, is patiently conducting hearings for sixteen bills - YES, 16! The hearings began at 3:00 p.m. The bill I am interested in, Senate Bill 1362, addresses changes to laws affecting:

  • 1. the Board of Dental Examiners (particularly related to licensing fees and operating budget
  • 2. procedures that dental hygienists are authorized to perform
  • 3. and, eligibility requirements for a dental hygienist to enter into an affiliated practice relationship with a dentist

Each bill is heard and debated by stakeholders, one after another, which consumes between 20 to 45 minutes per each bill. The one I am interested in will be heard at the end of the session. I patiently watch the deliberations, preparing for a long evening.

It’s now 8:45 p.m. Senate Bill 1362 is announced! As I watch the proceedings online, I see our AzDHA Advocacy Committee Chairperson , Deb Kappes, in the hearing room. Both Deb Kappes and our Legislative Lobbyist patiently wait, both prepared to testify if needed. They have been waiting, downtown at the Capital, since 3 p.m.

One by one I listen as stakeholders step up to the podium and present their support, or challenges, to this bill. The Chair and members of the Senate Health Committee occasionally ask for clarifying information. Ultimately, a vote is taken for SB1362 It carries affirmatively!! This means that the bill is approved to move ahead in the legislative process. The session is over. It’s 9:15 p.m.

I write this story to give members and non-members a glimpse of the dedicated service hours volunteered on behalf of our profession. Last December I spent hours at the capital for a similar effort: Sunrise Application Hearings about Dental Therapy. Let me attest that hanging around for hours in a state capital hearing room isn’t fun, and it definitely isn’t glamorous. It’s what I call “HEAVY LIFTING”.

I am often asked, “Why should I pay dues to ADHA – what’s in it for me?” Here is my answer: Tireless promotion of your professional interests at the most influential levels – the Legislature of the Arizona State Senate, and Arizona House of Representatives. Members will argue, “That’s why we pay a Lobbyist”. Let me assure you, paid lobbyists ABOUND at the State Capital. They DO NOT replace voices heard directly from members of the Arizona Dental Hygienists’ Association.

A wise person once said to me, we are what we are because of the hard work, insights, and dedication of countless others.

To Deb, and members of the AzDHA Advocacy Committee: Please accept my gratitude.