CDA’s Women in Oral Health: Better Together
“Better Together” is one of many important messages to come from last month’s California Dental Association’s (CDA) annual meeting focused on inspiring effective leadership in dentistry on Thursday, May twelfth at the Hilton Anaheim. This inaugural meeting laid the groundwork for women leaders from a variety of dental health organizations to network and bond through common goal setting, developing universal leadership strategies, and sharing perspectives from all roles within a dental practice. The event’s theme of Women in Oral Health: Connect, Engage, Inspire, looks to encourage connections of collaborative networking for all leaders in dentistry.
The good news was delivered in opening remarks by Peter Dubois, the Executive Director of the CDA as he continues shaping state and national public policy, that legislation AB 35 is well on its way to becoming law. The legislature unanimously passed this bill which protects against skyrocketing healthcare costs and encourages physicians and patients to have more open conversations thereby contributing to greater patient safety and trust. Connecting to the important theme of improving communication strategies, building leadership skills, and networking, the annual meeting began with this important example of how good things happen when various entities work together.
This year‘s theme of women in oral health was focused on three important goals:
- helping women be heard
- establishing trust in women and their capabilities
- setting an example of how men and women can be allies in collaboration
The introduction of representatives in attendance at this first-of-a-kind meeting from each of the following leading dental organizations: Henry Schein, AADOM, Women in DSO, New York County Dental Association, American Dental Hygienists Association, and the CDA, was presented by David Kochman, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Henry Schein, Inc.
Along with leaders from each of these professional organizations and a variety of dental practice members, including office managers, many of whom are active AADOM members, the following breakout sessions separated by men’s and women’s groups were productive.
Dr. Broderick Sawyer spoke to the men’s workshop about how they can be better allies with women in professional settings while Jackie Miller of Bespoken presented inspirational tips to the women’s workshop on how to use their voices to build trust and use stories to reduce fear.
She then facilitated smaller breakout groups among newly introduced professionals on the following topics:
- What was an unexpected challenge or disappointment in the workplace?
- Did you feel you were supported by your team? Why or why not?
- Discuss a time you used your voice to advocate for someone else at work.
- What, if anything is hindering your ability to effectively collaborate at work?
After each question was discussed by dental professionals, one leader from each table relayed the most interesting commonalities and differences with the larger workshop group. The conversations were lively and encouraging, inspiring bonding and future collaboration. Through this type of continued connection and support, we will not only strengthen our current dental field of women professionals, but we will grow and empower our future leaders, especially since we are better together.
Participants left with enhanced communication skills and new strategies for elevating the voices of their colleagues. After all, if we lift others up, we rise alongside them.