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President’s Message: Membership

“I believe we accelerate our acumen, performance, and success by leveraging our associations and spending time with people better than us”—Robin S Sharma 

“Every man owes a part of his time and money to the business or industry in which he is engaged. No man has a moral right to withhold his support from an organization that is striving to improve conditions within his sphere—Theodore Roosevelt (in response to the value of belonging to a professional organization) 

A professional association can be defined as an organization of individuals who come together to expand their own knowledge of their profession and guidelines under which they operate. To some, this definition may seem cliché, nebulous, esoteric, or even self-serving. Most of us belong to multiple professional associations covering multiple facets of our professional careers or personal interests. Our expectations are that our memberships will have a direct effect on the way we practice and perhaps our personal success. Each year we are faced with the proposition of membership renewal, and we invariably ask ourselves the questions—what does this organization do for me, and what is the value of my continued membership. These are certainly pertinent and legitimate questions. But introspective as we may be, they are often difficult to answer. 

The current renewal period for your AAE membership is now underway, and you have been asked to rejoin our amazing association. You may have recently returned from AAE22 in Phoenix where you had a memorable experience filled with education, networking, and fun and comradery with your friends, endodontic colleagues, mentors, and vendors. Or you may be a monthly reader or contributor to the Journal of Endodontics which is now ranked sixth out of 109 journals of dentistry, and which offers high quality and innovative research which supports and advances the specialty of endodontics. Research tells us that these are consistently our most coveted and valued membership benefits, and certainly alone worth the cost of membership. But the American Association of Endodontists is more than just a meeting or a journal—it is the shaper of the future of endodontics and your outlet to our beloved specialty of endodontics. 

Our association and its leadership are cognizant of the changing landscape of dentistry and endodontics. Through constant surveying of our membership, the dental environment, and the dental profession, we acknowledge the valid concerns that endodontists have regarding a wide range of issues which may affect the future of our specialty, and we listen and act. As an example, our Advocacy Department rose to action quickly and responsively with resources during COVID-19 to aid our members in navigating the crisis. It continues to formulate guidelines and position statements which define the specialty of endodontics and its standards of practice and education, and to assure that the dental profession is paying attention to its messages. The department also collaborates with insurance companies to advocate for new endodontic codes and the benefits of endodontics performed by endodontist. And when our specialty is threatened by the misinformed or by inaccurate research, our advocacy unit responds to the public and the dental community to dispel the myths which undermine our specialty. These are all important measures which strengthen and support our specialty and members in a significant way. 

Our Marketing and Communications Department is constantly developing and implementing new and innovative strategies and tactics to promote the value of saving the natural dentition to the public and the dental profession, and the advanced expertise endodontists possess in accomplishing this goal—and it is working. We have reached millions of people with our messages through print media, satellite media interviews, and through social media. Our research shows that they have made an enormous difference. Patient usage of our portal has grown exponentially over the last several years as patients seek endodontists to fulfill their endodontic needs. In addition, research, and editorials in various dental journals outside of endodontics have begun to advocate for the retention of teeth through endodontic therapy and question the removal of otherwise savable teeth, a refreshing change from the not-so-distant past. Going forward, the AAE’s marketing efforts will increase and reach even more people as we strive to accomplish our strategic goal that the public will value saving their natural teeth and seek endodontists for their care.  

AAE Connection has given our members an outlet to communicate daily on a wide range of topics which are important to them. Sharing of clinical cases, techniques, technology, and philosophies has drawn our membership closer, more informed, and more “connected.” Soon there will be a forum for endodontic educators to collaborate on issues important to dental education. Our “Endo Voices” podcasts, webinars, and Endo on Demand platforms have afforded all members access to high quality, informative, and topical educational opportunities daily. And our Career Center (a highly utilized benefit) continues to help members make online employment connections and explore endodontic practices for sale. 

Advocacy, marketing, education, collaboration—all for the cost of membership. And there is much, much more. The value of an AAE Membership cannot be overstated or underestimated, and we value your participation and dedication to our profession, our specialty, and our association. We thank you for your support.