You might ask, “why the Foundation?”…..
I participated in outreach programs as a dental student and GPR resident, but I could not say I felt passion or purpose. There was no REACH committee, or a presence of the Foundation in my endodontic residency at Harvard. There were no opportunities to perform endodontic treatment in places like Jamaica or Project Home in Philadelphia. What I did know was if an endodontist donated $2000 to the Foundation, Dr. Torabinejad would give a vial of MTA. I was unaware that Dr. Torabinejad was in the process of reimagining our Foundation, which would allow our specialty to perpetuate excellence in endodontics and be deeply rooted in science.
I could not say the Foundation played any role in my first few years as an endodontist. I thought I just needed to make money and pay down my student loans. As a new endodontist in a large urban endodontic practice, I was told by Dr. Jay Goldberg, senior partner of the practice, that I was going to join the PDA’s New Dentist Committee. I was certain that I did not have the time, talent, money, or interest, but Dr. Goldberg thought otherwise. So, I went. I quickly realized that Dr. Goldberg was correct. This volunteer committee revealed how involvement in my community, professional or personal, would allow me to grow.
Yet, I have not answered the question of “why the Foundation?” I was approximately four years out of my residency and just opened my own practice when I received a call from a former teacher and mentor, Dr. Shep Goldstein. He asked me why I had not pledged to the Foundation. I did not have an answer and was embarrassed to admit that I knew little about the Foundation. He told me I must pledge $2,000 to the Foundation to support our specialty. He reassured me that I could afford $500 a year, though I was not so sure. Out of respect for Dr. Goldstein, I gave. This was the beginning of my passion for the Foundation.
The New Dentist Committee and giving to the Foundation gave me the opportunity to go down a different path than I had envisioned as a thirty-year-old finishing my endodontic residency. What Drs. Goldberg and Goldstein did for me was inspire me to give my time, talent, and money back to my profession. They made me realize that I had those things to give, not just to the Foundation, but also to other important aspects of my life, such as church, community, and my children’s school and activities. I realized that we, as endodontists, are blessed with many talents, excellent time management, and more money than most. I learned saying “yes” leads to lifelong relationships and growth as a person.
When I was nominated as a trustee for the Foundation, I was confident of my path to support our specialty. Mentors such as Drs. Spatafore and Rossman inspired and supported me. They showed me how the Foundation allows our specialty to thrive by affecting endodontic research and education and reaching out to underserved patients.
I am blessed to work with many special people involved with the Foundation, which includes clinical and educator endodontists, corporate partners, and our terrific Foundation team. I continue to learn it takes a village to cultivate our specialty, but more importantly, our person. I am certain that the Foundation has made me a better endodontist and person.