“All future dentists can benefit from leadership development”, stressed Colleen Greene, ASDA President at the 3rd Annual ASDOH Student Leadership Retreat. Greene presented her leadership experiences to nearly 100 students from ASDOH and Midwestern and inspired them to develop their own personal leadership. The day at ASDOH began with team building exercises, and continued with breakout sessions from other student organizations in career development topics ranging from public health, loan repayment, dental ergonomics, legal aspects of associateship, and interview skills. One of the day’s highlights was the keynote address given by Greene. ASDA members listened closely as she explained that our very own, American Student Dental Association can be the path to leadership development via state dental societies, professional associations, as well as our very own communities and practices.
Becoming a national leader allows one to “directly impact the actions and direction of ASDA”. As students listened to Greene describe her path of leadership development they discovered she became a dentist to make a change. She faced the barriers to care in dentistry as a child, and promised to change the system. Today, one way she makes a difference is her role within ASDA. She began her ASDA career on ASDA’s Editorial Board, where she was soon appointed editor-in-chief and also served on various councils and work groups. She also advocates by being a voting delegate in the Massachusetts Dental Society and the ADA.
There are many reasons to get involved in ASDA not only locally, but nationally as well. Working with a board or council allows students to build teamwork and problem solving skills, essential skills used daily as a dentist. Additionally a great benefit to being involved in ASDA is attending meetings all over the nation and networking with a range of other dental students. Greene boasts another benefit of local and national leadership is the ability to “get an insider perspective of organized dentistry and become familiar with issues facing the profession”. One of the greatest opportunities for students as leaders is self-development. Students can develop communication, management and organizational skills, in addition to other crucial skills that will stay with you beyond dental school.
The commitment to leadership can be a great benefit, as you can get as much out of it as you put into the role. As Greene quoted Sir Antony Jay, “The only real training for leadership…is leadership.” This quote truly resonated with the Arizona students in attendance at the Student Leadership Retreat as dentists are natural leaders in their practices and communities. A dentist’s responsibility as a health care provider is to be a positive role model for their community. Whether in a private practice, community health center or even in academia, we are leaders. What better way to develop leadership skills than to get involved in organized dentistry right now? Your next steps can be within your own local chapter of the American Student Dental Association or even nationally!
~Onika Patel, Arizona ’14