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News & Press: CSPD Bulletin

Executive Director's Message - Summer 2015

Tuesday, August 18, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: CSPD
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For more than a month, I struggled to come up with a topic for my Executive Director’s message. Not that I’m a prolific writer; it’s just rare that I experience significant writer’s block. Having a few brief undedicated moments last weekend, my clinical instincts took over. After careful evaluation of my symptoms, I came to the self-diagnosis that I am suffering from chronic hyper-volunteerism (CHV). In case you are not familiar with that syndrome, it is characterized by the inability to say no, periodic feelings that you have no personal time and a constant focus on details without creative thinking. So with that “aha” moment, it only makes sense for me to give you my insights regarding volunteering.

Given my background, it’s not surprising I have CHV. There are both genetic and environmental factors involved in my affliction. Being a third generation dentist with numerous family members involved in organized dentistry, there must be a familial gene contributing to this affliction. The environment I was raised in as a baby boomer was one where we were taught to lead by example. Finally, as the oldest of four children (something only other “oldests” can understand), my fate was sealed.

CHV is also partially responsible for my current position with CSPD. The persistence of your current president, Dr. Sharine Thenard, and my inability to say no were significant factors leading me to apply for this position. Many years ago, I choose to proceed down the leadership pathway through CDA. I felt that I would have a greater ability to represent the interests of pediatric dentistry in that arena. During that period, many of your past leaders brought to CSPD the leadership skills and processes they had experienced during the service with CDA. The result is what we see today – by far the most significant and effective specialty association in California (and probably nationally as well).  It is humbling (and challenging) to be asked to continue that tradition and bring CSPD to an even higher level.

Besides my private practice and service to CSPD, I am still active with both the CDA and ADA. For two more years, I will be the 13th District (CA) representative for the Council on Access, Prevention and Inter-professional Relations (CAPIR) for the ADA. My activities for CDA are as the Chair of the Management Committee for CDA Cares and as a member of the CalDPAC Board. These are not random positions, but rather those in which many of the areas of focus have some relationship to children. For CAPIR, I chair the Access and Advocacy Subcommittee where we focus on Medicaid, access to care and perinatal oral health. I look forward to sharing ideas where CSPD can help promote these national initiatives in California. CDA Cares, known as Missions of Mercy in many other states, offers free dental care to all-comers at two events annually. While far from perfect, our safety net for children, Denti-Cal, offers an underutilized avenue of access for children in California. As a result, most of the care at the CDA Cares events is for adults. Though the primary activity is to provide dental care, CDA leverages the event to demonstrate to our legislative leaders the problems with the Denti-Cal system in general. CalDPAC benefits children’s issues by supporting candidates who understand the issues related to access to care by supporting their campaigns with the hope they will become our champions once elected.

If you’ve gotten this far into my message, I’m sure many (and probably most) of you are saying, “he is crazy”. And you aren’t incorrect in your assessment. But remember, as a victim of CHV, this is my fate. But the good news is that you, the 99.9 percent who aren’t afflicted with CHV, have an opportunity to support those of us with this affliction. For many years, the CSPD Foundation has supported two CSPD leadership development programs – the Warren Brandli Internship (WBI) and the Santos Cortez Graduate Student Legislative Advocacy (GSLA) program. These are for residents and recent graduates who have an interest in becoming the leaders of tomorrow. Participants are provided experiences attending CSPD Board meetings and/or participating in legislative advocacy events in Washington, DC and Sacramento. Funds to support these activities are generously donated annually by the CSPD Foundation. So if you are fortunate to not be affected by CHV, please consider supporting these programs and others by contributing to the CSPD Foundation. You can log on to cspd.org for more information regarding these excellent opportunities for our future leaders. While there, please consider financially supporting these programs by following the link to the CSPD Foundation. I, and your fellow volunteers afflicted with CHV, thank you in advance for your support.

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