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We have been fortunate over the 30 years I have known this organization to have benefited from some excellent leadership. Decisions were made over these years which have positioned the specialty of endodontics for success in 2018. I hope to lead our current Board of Directors in a similar forward-looking perspective.

A special thank-you to Dr. Garry Myers for his thoughtful and responsive leadership over the past eight years on the board, and particularly this past year as president. I am most grateful that he will remain on the Board as immediate past president.

Our specialty faces some challenges moving forward: government regulation, stagnant or diminishing reimbursement rates, extraction of savable teeth, and a move to redefine “specialist.” The AAE will continue to fight to promote endodontics in the interest of public health.

I suggest an item for our members that will help move us forward – get involved. Let people know about the value of endodontics, network with your peers to spread the word, and keep up on continuing education to stay on top of the latest innovations in endodontics. Get Board certified.

The specialty needs a voice at all levels, from as many different types of endodontists as possible: private practice, academia, military, institutional and corporate, and others. Stand up for your specialty. Let people know the value of endodontics done well to save teeth. We can be reluctant to demonstrate our bias toward endodontics. Be assured that those who dislike root canal therapy, perhaps offering a competing product, have their biases too, and they are not shy about expressing their view.

Involvement starts at the local level – in private practice this manifests as marketing – getting out and meeting referrers. Selling oneself and promoting the value of endodontics done well.

In the military it is demonstrated in networking. Touting the value of endodontics done well in the overall health of our patient populations. Teaching younger dentists how easy root canal therapy can be, then demonstrating how difficult it is and reinforcing the concept that specialty training is needed to do it well.

Involvement at a community level is joining study clubs, attending your county or state dental association meetings, networking with peers, giving talks on endodontic techniques, teaching at your dental school.

Involvement on a national level is joining the ADA and AAE, attending meetings, lobbying lawmakers and supporting the Foundation for Endodontics.

Please note that I have not asked you to volunteer to be president of the AAE. If you get involved, that may come. I am certainly glad that I did so. The ability of one endodontist to make a difference is small, but not so for thousands of endodontists. If you’re already involved, step it up a notch. If not yet, then get involved! We need you.

Opportunities abound: come to the Word Congress on Dental Traumatology in San Diego in August, to IFEA in Seoul in October, Insight Track at Squaw Valley, Calif., in January and certainly …

Come to AAE19 in Montreal next year: April 10-13.

I am very much looking forward to working for and with you as your president in the coming year.