“A Diverse Mix of Voices Leads to Better Discussions, Decisions, and Outcomes for Everyone”—Sundar Pichai (Google CEO)
For the last several years the American Association of Endodontists has made it a priority to expand its global footprint and to engage international endodontists to become members of our organization. One may ask why an association with the word “American” in its title strives to attract members from other countries and continents. But just as economic globalization and the increasing interdependence of world economies has facilitated the wide and rapid spread of technology and spread of international capital throughout the world, the AAE has come to understand the value of including of our fellow international colleagues to create new, exciting, and diverse opportunities for collaboration and education, and the true advancement of the specialty of endodontics throughout the world.
The AAE currently has 7,713 members representing seventy-three different countries. There are now 1,073 members residing outside of the United States, making up 14% of all AAE membership. The international member category prior to the pandemic was the fastest growing segment of our membership. It continues to grow at a significant rate as International Endodontists, Residents, and those dedicated to endodontic care join our association to access the knowledge, benefits, and comradery the AAE has to offer. This surge in international interest is not serendipitous, as the AAE Strategic Plan has specifically prioritized and focused on the creation of a diverse and wide-reaching membership base.
Last month I had the honor and privilege to attend the PanEndo Endodontic Congress of the Egyptian Association of Endodontists. Along with fellow American educators and AAE members Alan Law, Don Nixdorf, Adham Azim, and Omar Abusteit, I traveled to Cairo Egypt to see other prominent endodontists from Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe speak at a meeting which was rivaled by few others I have ever attended. Aside from what I learned from the world-class educational opportunities, I learned two other particularly important lessons there. First was that the quality and sophistication of endodontic knowledge, research, and education extends well beyond the boundaries of the United States. Secondly is that the world endodontic community has admiration and ultimate respect for the American Association of Endodontists, and relies upon us for guidance, support, and acknowledgement in their own pursuit of endodontic excellence and advancement. The influence of AAE extends well beyond the boundaries of the United States.
Also recently, I had the opportunity to interview candidates for our Endodontic Residency Class of 2025 at the University of Southern California. I spoke with dentists from India, Egypt, Peru, Japan, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, all eager in their pursuit of becoming endodontists at an American based residency, many planning to return to their countries after receiving their advanced endodontic education. A recurring theme in their experiences was their appreciation to be able to attend AAE events, access AAE publications and position statements, to utilize Endo on Demand to gain endodontic knowledge, and to be able to read our world renown Journal of Endodontics which itself has a multitude of international contributors every month. These doctors are indeed the future of our profession and global AAE Ambassadors, and they too respect and depend upon the American Association of Endodontists to play a vital part in shaping their endodontic future.
Later this year I will attend and speak at the IFEA (International Federation of Endodontic Associations) in Santiago, Chile—and association of which the AAE is a member and another chance to collaborate with international endodontists. I recently had a conversation with Dr. Gopi Krisna, a preeminent endodontic practitioner and educator from Chenai India and the IFEA Secretary General. He conveyed to me his appreciation of the AAE’s Worth Saving Campaign, and we chatted about the possibility of having a similar project on a global scale with collaboration with the AAE and other endodontic associations around the world. I was flattered, amazed, and encouraged that the efforts of our association are not only recognized in a country thousands of miles from the United States, but could have an influence on the oral health of people around the world. It was truly a humbling experience.
The American Association of Endodontists casts a wide net of influence over the global endodontic community, and our work is acknowledged and respected on a global level. International membership and collaboration will strengthen us as we strive to improve endodontics and oral health around the world. I am proud of our success in attracting international members, to welcome them, acknowledge the value of their diversity, and to harness their contributions and knowledge of and dedication to our specialty. Together we will help establish world endodontic standards of practice and care.