As I posted earlier, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a breakfast with A
DA President, Dr. Gist. He was in Minneapolis for a few days to attend the Class of 2011’s Senior Banquet and to speak at their commencement ceremony on Friday, May 13th.
Dr. Gist discussed with us issues that we should be aware about now as students and new dentists. This included talk about Medicare, the opening of new dental schools and increased dental workforce, student debt and cost of tuition, as well as the continued importance of dental research.
Michigan addresses some of the barriers to dental care for children in its state through their “Healthy Kids Dental” program. Dr. Gist explained this successful model from his home state with us and suggested a similar model could potentially be used nationwide. Check out the link for more information.
New dental schools were also a hot topic. There are three opening this year and Dr. Gist said there is the potential for twenty new schools to open by 2020. This will significantly increase the number of new dentists graduating each year. There is also the necessity to provide quality education at these new schools.
Research is and will continue to be crucial to the development of dentistry. Research is how we can progress and get better with new technology and new materials.
Finally, we talked a little about student debt. Everyone knows it is a lot and this makes it hard to go into anything other than private practice upon graduation. Dr. Gist said they are continually looking into ways to make alternatives to private practice more feasible for new graduates.
We asked him, “What can we do now for the future of our careers and our profession?”. Dr. Gist responded that we need to continue to advocate for dentistry and continue to be involved in organized dentistry, like the ADA. With increased membership our message will only become louder and clearer.
My breakfast with Dr. Gist, my schoolmates and the Minnesota Dental Association was very enjoyable and educational. Dr. Gist had many words of wisdom and it was wonderful to be able to meet with him.
~Katie Divine, Minnesota ’13, Contributing Editor