The AAE Board of Directors held its Interim Meeting on September 5-6, 2019, in conjunction with the American Dental Association and FDI (World Dental Federation) World Dental Congress in San Francisco.
The first day of the meeting was dedicated to assessing progress on the AAE’s strategic plan. The Board considered environmental factors relating to demographics, politics and social values, technology and science, legislation and regulation, and business and economy. The Board discussed trends in technology, use of social media, cost of practice, practice models, and health care, and how such factors impact the AAE’s strategic direction.
Goal 1: The public will value saving their natural teeth and seek endodontists – the specialists in saving teeth – for their care.
The AAE’s public awareness campaign, Worth Saving, has been in market for eight months and has made significant strides in that time, including launch of a reimagined Root Canal Awareness Month in 2019. In addition, the AAE has expanded public outreach via a root canal safety initiative, debunking myths about root canal treatment and providing timely patient education.
The Worth Saving campaign has achieved or exceeded all metrics to date, and is on track to reach goals for the coming year. The AAE will continue to engage its target audience, the informed patient, through a continuation of the Landmarks Worth Saving contest, development of new patient-facing videos on saving the natural tooth, and new content around “Savers” interviews. For a closer look on campaign activities to date, please visit our web page at aae.org/worthsaving.
Goal 2: The dental profession will value endodontists as partners with advanced expertise in restoring oral health
Goal two of the strategic plan guided the development of an advocacy roadmap focused on six enduring key issue areas: empowering the specialty, excellence in endodontic care, payment for care, professional choice and autonomy, regulatory compliance, and public health beyond endodontics. AAE’s first priority in advocating on these issues will be to establish a base of foundational resources, including data and policies. Progress has already been made by updating existing guidelines and position statements, packaging an executive summary of the AAE’s white papers on competency and treatment standards for use with the insurance industry, and reformatting the Case Difficulty Assessment Form, geared at generalists, as a mobile application.
A key part of the advocacy roadmap includes engagement and involvement of the AAE’s greatest resource: its members. To this end, the AAE has launched two new member-facing resources:
The Advocate newsletter and a new online Advocacy Action Center. Additionally, development of a mobile Case Difficulty Assessment application geared towards dental students and general practitioners is underway.
Goal 3: AAE and its members will be recognized as the global leaders in advocating the value and quality of endodontics
AAE’s international membership outreach plan was developed based upon results of an international membership survey. Related efforts include provision of digital membership certificates to international members, promotion of AAE meetings to international non-members, translation of treatment brochures to other languages, and exploration of sponsorship opportunities at international meetings.
In terms of strengthening domestic membership, new marketing and outreach initiatives resulted with record high membership for the AAE’s 2018-2019 membership year. A full-scale member needs survey launched in September 2019 and will guide the AAE’s efforts to continually enhance the value of membership.
A third focus in this area is cultivation of engagement and leadership opportunities for members. A reimagined Leadership Development Program and a volunteer opportunities web page were launched in March of 2019.
In addition to a future- focused strategy session, the Board reviewed the results of the June 30, 2019 audit. The AAE’s independent auditor reported that the AAE received a clean audit with no deficiencies identified, indicating that the AAE’s financial reports are in compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
While in San Francisco, the AAE actively participated in every available avenue to advocate in the best interest of the specialty and its patients. AAE officers attended a meeting of dental specialty organization leaders to discuss issues of mutual interest which would be voted upon by the ADA House of Delegates. Additionally, the AAE Board hosted a luncheon for AAE members who serve as Delegates and Alternates within the ADA House of Delegates. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Mark B. Desrosiers of Glastonbury, Connecticut. The annual luncheon provides a unique opportunity for delegates across ADA’s 17 districts to meet with the specific intention of reviewing House resolutions impacting the specialty of endodontics and to be informed of the AAE’s position on specific resolutions. AAE’s advocacy continued with Dr. Desrosiers and AAE President Keith V. Krell presenting testimony at Reference Committee Hearings. As a result of these efforts, two of AAE’s recommended amendments to resolutions were ultimately adopted by the House. The AAE will become only more impactful in these arenas in future years as its foundational advocacy resources are further established.