President's Message

 

Dr. Alyson Buchalter    

Dear Colleagues:

 

It is an honor and privilege to be your president this year. On January 6, 2019 close to 200 of you spent a fun afternoon at The Liberty Warehouse. At that event our officers for 2019 were installed and awards were given to those whose efforts on behalf of the Second District Dental Society (SDDS) in 2018 stood out. Congratulations to all of them.

 

Becoming your president means that I get to work even more closely with dedicated colleagues and the best staff in organized dentistry. I have seen how much time and energy goes into making our great organization run smoothly. For that reason, I have so many of you to thank.

 

The members of our Board of Trustees, the officers of our Society and most importantly, the many volunteers who are on our committees, work hard to make this an effective organization. There’s a special place in heaven for those who give selflessly and these dentists give in excess. In advance, I thank all of you for your help this year.

 

Of course, heartfelt thanks go to our executive director, Mr. Bernard Hackett, and our SDDS staff, Veronica Molina and Shayo Farinre. With their help, the SDDS has become, in my totally unbiased opinion, the best local component in the ADA.

 

Since 1982, I have been a member of SDDS. But like many of you, I was reticent about becoming involved with the running of our dental society. I had many reasons and you may have a few more. It was for specialists, it was for our older and more experienced colleagues, you had to be asked, it is too time consuming, etc. All are inaccurate misconceptions. The truth is this is your (our) dental society and for it to do all the things we hope it accomplishes, you and I are needed.

 

There are many ways to become more involved. A great way to start is to come to the general membership meetings. There you will meet your colleagues, as well as members of your Board of Trustees, members of various committees, Second District’s officers and more. All these people want to talk to you and hear what is on your mind.

 

Volunteering for one of our many standing committees is an option open to all of you. Crises such as fires, floods and hurricanes (remember Sandy?) have affected our members on numerous occasions. Both the SDDS’s Benevolent Fund Committee and District Relief Committee investigate and act upon applications for aid. They have made contributions and temporary financial assistance where needed. Many of our members have benefited both financially and emotionally when faced with personal or natural disasters as their dental family stood by them.

 

Will Medicare add dental benefits? What will that entail and how will it affect our membership? Your Governmental Affairs and Dental Benefits Programs Committees are actively involved in the debate. The Governmental Affairs Committee monitors pending and passed legislation that affects our practice of dentistry. The Dental Benefits Programs Committee assists our members with all thirdparty dental insurance programs issues.

 

For our Society to remain relevant and grow, we need to attract the next generation of dentists. To that end our New Dentist Committee identifies the special needs of the new dentist and recent graduates. It develops programs to meet those needs. The Membership and Communications Committee is responsible for recruitment and retention of qualified dentists as members, the development of programs to implement these responsibilities and the assurance of favorable public and professional relations.

 

Unfortunately, from time to time some of our members find themselves in difficult situations. Malpractice claims, OPD and ethical complaints can arise even in the best-intentioned practices. SDDS has several committees designed to help our members when faced with difficult circumstances. The members of the Peer Review and Quality Assurance, District Claims, and Ethics Committees work to help our members and the public obtain fair and reasonable outcomes.

 

As a recent graduate of the Greater New York Dental Meeting Organization Committee, I believe a crown jewel of our Society is the Greater New York Dental Meeting (GNYDM). Together with our partners at the New York County Dental Society, the Organization Committee plans, develops and runs the annual Meeting. The income from that Meeting allows us to have the financial flexibility to provide all the exceptional services for which SDDS is known. This includes our Dental School Loan Forgiveness Program for new dentists, our many Children's Dental Health Month activities, member support for drug and alcohol problems, your yearly free CE voucher and the best general membership meetings in organized dentistry (free food, drink and CE for SDDS members).

 

So why should you volunteer? Perhaps you want to give back to dentistry or the public. You can do both by joining the Oral Health Committee or the Dental Health Planning and Hospital Dentistry Committee. Or perhaps you hope to find an opportunity to develop new skills or build on your existing experience and knowledge. The Second District’s Continuing Education Committee, Friday Morning Seminars Committee and the Program Committee arrange our amazing CE programs each year.

 

These are just a sample of the opportunities for volunteers at SDDS. I want to encourage any of you who are not yet involved to do so. Contact me or call SDDS Headquarters at (718) 522-3939. There is a place for everyone who wants to help in large or small ways, on any level.

 

I look forward to seeing/meeting each of you at our next general membership meeting, which will be held on Thursday, March 14 at the Dyker Beach Golf Course in Brooklyn.

 

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you, the Second District Dental Society. And, lest I forget, happy New Year! I hope it will be a productive and healthy one for us all. 

 

 

Alyson K. Buchalter, DMD

2019 President of Second District Dental Society