A dentist is a leader not only in her field, but also in her community. In preparing to become a dentist, it is important to consider the position that a professional holds within the community and the responsibilities that come with it. As a predental student, there are countless opportunities to get involved early and gain leadership experience both within school and your community. Based on my experiences, these opportunities are best broken down in three categories: volunteer opportunities, leadership positions in school organizations and leadership development through ASDA.
Near my university in Ann Arbor, Michigan, there is a community clinic known as Hope Clinic, which provides free medical and dental care for underprivileged populations. A group of undergraduate predental students, myself included, volunteer at the front desk every month. Over time, we’ve been able to get more involved and contribute to initiatives to improve the scheduling software and in-house technology for the clinic. For example, one predental volunteer helped research grants and gather data for a proposal. Through this grant, Hope Clinic was able to adopt advanced scheduling software which is much more efficient and reliable than traditional manual book scheduling. Getting to help out on a new initiative may not happen on your first day, but getting a foot in the door at any community organization is already a step in the right direction.
There are also many ways to get involved in the community through student organizations, such as your local predental association. The club at my university plans several volunteering events each semester, which gives member the opportunity to give back to the community off-campus. For example, we have organized tutoring sessions at local elementary and middle schools and have also worked with food banks in the Ann Arbor area. Events like these encourage members to take the initiative to positively impact the community around them, which is a valuable experience for any student who hopes to become a dentist in the future.
Another way to get involved, specifically in the dental community, and to develop valuable leadership skills is by joining ASDA. This organization provides undergraduate students with opportunities to play a role in the dental community that they would not normally have. Through ASDA, students are able to serve on local, district or national committees to plan initiatives that benefit predental students. Members of ASDA also have the opportunity to attend conferences, where they can meet leaders in the dental community, learn about important issues and get advice for their own future.
~Sid Archana, member, Predental Advisory Committee
Join ASDA predental chapters and clubs nationwide in celebrating National Predental Week, Oct. 2-8, 2016! This week, ASDA will be promoting resources and events for predental members. Predentals that join ASDA during Predental Week will be eligible for prizes and special incentives. Click here to find out more and to participate in the Instagram challenge.
2016 Predental Week is sponsored by: