membership about the decision that is ahead for the MDA. We apprised the 2019 MDA House of Delegates about this resolution that was passed by the ADA and that it would have implications for our Association dues structure, as well.

Note that I stated we “may not” be fac- ing all the same challenges of the ADA, at least when you look at or state membership numbers. The MDA enjoyed a 68.1 percent market share of active licensed dentists at the end of 2018. In 2019, that same EOY market share decreased to 66.1 percent. Those num- bers still seem pretty good when the national share has been 62.9 percent and 62.4 percent in the past two years, respectively. Addition- ally, the MDA has been very successful in recent years with its New Dentist market share—78.6 percent EOY 2018 and 74.9 per- cent EOY 2019. We’ve intentionally focused on this category and it has been effective, as these high market share numbers show.

Yet, percentages don’t paint the entire picture. Just as in most states, the MDA forecasted projections indicate that there is dissonance between membership growth and sustainable dues revenue. Even with mem- bership gains, dues revenue is declining.

In forecasts created for the MDA, by mak- ing the same changes the ADA is planning, membership counts drop through 2023 and income decreases by about .3 percent (from 2019-2023). If the MDA does not adopt the same dues structure as the ADA, we will need to average between 19-31 additional new members/year to account for the lost income. One area the MDA will need to contemplate beyond the numbers is the importance of parallel dues structure changes across the tripartite (national, state and local). In the past several years especially, we have been trying to “clean up” our bylaws when we are not aligned with ADA dues structure. Some- times these changes are eventual and not immediate, but always they are done with the membership in mind: to make the dues process easier, or to ensure certain discounts for certain categories, or any other number of dues-relates processes where being of “one mind” with the ADA (and Components) makes us stronger and more unified.


At the MDA Board’s April meeting, Trustees will consider two options: taking a similar/ parallel approach to dues streamlining or no change at all. Ultimately, like the ADA, any dues changes recommended by our Board must be approved by the MDA House of Delegates, whose members represent you, the dues-paying member. Therefore, it’s important each member become informed, speak to their Trustees, ask questions, seek to understand and give feedback.

We don’t want to be like the Chiefs and have a 50-year drought of success because we weren’t considering the organizational changes that may be needed to ensure the future stability and growth of the tripartite. Your MDA Board, House and staff would not be exhibiting leadership if it wasn’t tackling and talking about these real issues we’re facing.

We look forward to continuing to provide information and education, and hearing from you, our valued members. The side column at right shares comments from MDA Delegates (two new dentists, one active and two active life) who participated in the 2019 ADA House where the aforementioned dues changes were passed. We share these to express that we know members opinions on this topic will be varied, but are needed to make decisions moving forward.

In the end, regardless of changes, we must continue to ensure members know and value the benefits of belonging to their national, state and local organizations. We want you to feel loyal and committed to the collective success of the MDA and thus, willing to pay dues to ensure the continuation of organized dentistry and its contributions to the dental profession. f

Beginning this year, the “Association Insights” column will alternate between the authors of the current MDA President and MDA Executive Director. Last issue featured Dr. Mike Berry and this one Vicki Wilbers. The goal is to bring you different voices on different subjects, but always

providing insight into topics occurring within the MDA. Contact Vicki Wilbers at or 800- 688-1907.

DR. AMANDA FITZPATRICK (2009 UMKC Graduate) MDA Delegate to the ADA, Active Member // There were many points brought forth both for and against the new dues structure. The largest concern voiced was a potential loss of membership due to these increases for the New Dentist and the Active Life members. With the change in the discounts for the members in the New dentist categories, the membership has a duty to engage these members during the first two years so they are able to see the benefits of organized dentistry and continue to be an involved lifetime member. The change for the Active Life members will bring a more emotional response, with dedicated members having a dues reduction taken away to help balance the budget. My hope is that these dedicated members will see that for the organization to continue to succeed moving forward their help is still needed.

DR. PRABU RAMAN (1983 UMKC Graduate) MDA Delegate to the ADA, Active Life Member // I spoke against the resolution and for an amendment (to phase in this change) to lessen the potential loss of active life members, both their dues dollars and involvement and support. My opposition did not mean I would quit membership; I realize we have the time and resources to volunteer for the ADA unlike when we were early in our careers. But by eliminating the Active Life discount, what is the ADA saying to these members who’ve supported the ADA over decades? Will members feel there is no incentive for loyalty; that you are no different (more valued) from the member who joined yesterday? I hope that the MDA Board and House look for non-dues revenue to make up for the lost dues revenue from active life members. If they decide to eliminate this category of dues, phase it in over time.

DR. EMILY MATTINGLY (2012 UMKC Graduate) ADA New Dentist Committee Chair & 6th District Representative // The ADA New Dentist Committee, as an advisory committee to the Board of Trustees, was supportive of the dues streamlining changes. Looking to the future, the Committee saw the importance of having a strong and financially sustainable organization and testified as such. I personally think that simplifying the dues structure is very relevant for new dentists as we are the future of the ADA. While we know there may be some drop off in membership, we want to focus on adding value for new dentist members, so they continue to join and stay. I feel we should continue to simplify dues in the future to make membership and joining clearer for dentists across the country.

DR. JOE SOKOLOWSKI (1982 UMKC Graduate) Member, ADA Council on Members Insurance and Retirement Programs // I was opposed to these changes at the House and remain so now. I don’t think the ADA budget problem is caused by a shortage of revenue, but by an excess of spending. These measures, especially the new graduate dues restructuring, seem to have substantial possible downsides, but only modest (at best) upsides.

DR. DANIELLE RIORDAN (2010 UMKC Graduate) Member, ADA Council on Membership // As the 6th District representative to the Council on Membership, I was happy to see these changes and was able to hear firsthand reports of the revenue projections that showed real concern about the financial stability of the Association moving forward if changes weren’t implemented. Although to some it may have felt like an emotional decision, it wasn’t; it was merely a business decision for the Association, and I believe a good one because the changes bring greater financial stability to the Association. I personally like to think of my membership as an investment in the future of our profession, and when it came down to the numbers, these changes just made the most sense in securing that investment for generations to come.

ISSUE 2 | MAR/APR 2020 | focus 9

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