We're just over a month into 2018, but it's a wonderful time to share my thoughts on what we're doing presently to move Alpha Omega forward while respecting our past and planning for our future. This includes work at both the chapter level and international level, involving students, young dentists, and older/veteran alumni.
On the student level at the Fort Lauderdale convention, we celebrated successful programs at Nova Southeastern Dental School in Florida and young leaders like Judy Naziri at USC with our first annual student awards, with gifts of $500 to the winners sponsored by various chapters and members. We also recognized three new chapters begun in the past year, at Western in California, Touro College of Dental Medicine in New York, and at the University of Monterrey in Mexico. Many of student chapters are increasing in numbers and are helping in their area; chapters at the University of Louisville and Nova have been active in their surrounding communities. Additionally, many schools are helping to teach skills to the dental students while also helping with the Henry Schein - AO Holocaust Survivor Program. The student chapter presidents have their own Facebook page to share activities and "best practices" and have also had group phone calls led by the new ISRs Jeet Solanki and Daniel Adelpour.
Young alumni dentists are playing active roles in chapters like Philadelphia, London, and Cleveland and are being closely followed by Sara Bustard at AO Headquarters, being coached by Executive Director Heidi Weber. Atlanta chapter president Michael Friedman is their representative on the board, and he is encouraging students to keep in touch with headquarters as they graduate, letting us know where they are and how we can reach them. With Sara and Dr. Andrea Heckler's help, these younger members are also planning to use the AO externship program to gain valuable experience.
In many of our cities, Alpha Omega has been fortunate to have some very dedicated Alumni members who work hard to keep their chapters going, while looking for younger members to follow them in leadership roles. While this can be a challenge, cities like Dallas have found members like Dr. Mariya Barnett to take on the presidency from dedicated people like Dr. Howard Kessner, who has served as her AO mentor. Importantly, AO leadership has begun to reach out and call each of our over 100 chapters so that the local organizations recognize that the international group is there to help them!
At the AO leadership level, we're quite fortunate to have a wonderful and dedicated administration and board, including Treasurer Alan Moltz and Secretary Gail Schupak. International President-elect Steve Spitz and communications director Ivan Moldauer are working to enhance our association with companies like Aegis Publications (Compendium), while also looking for sponsorship for our various meetings and projects; Steve and Ivan, along with our headquarters staff, are also working to make our website, AO.org, more informative and user-friendly. Foundations in both Canada and London continue to give grants to very worthwhile causes. The U.S. Foundation, led by Alan Ressler and assisted by Marc Rothman, continues their support and has begun its work on a large dental project for the future which may help to bring all our foundations closer together and give the entire Alpha Omega organization another major accomplishment.
With all of this going on, we look forward to AO "get-togethers" in Chicago at the mid-Winter this month, the London Annenberg charity lecture in April, and in Toronto in May for the dedication of the AO Baycrest Dental Clinic - while we continue to plan for the annual convention in New Orleans this December. Please join us when you can; we'd love to be with you!
Steve Marsh, DDS
International President 2018