Strength in Diversity

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By Dr. Carol Morrow, CDA President
From the Fall 2017 Journal of the Colorado Dental Association

I have just completed my first 100 days as CDA president. I have been lucky to travel through the eastern plains, southern Colorado, and the mountains to discuss many of the programs currently going on throughout the state. I plan to travel to every corner of Colorado this next year to meet with members—be sure to attend your component meetings to receive important updates and join us in conversation.

During my presidential induction speech in June, I noted three things that I wanted to address this year: diversity in leadership, Medicaid enrollment and an insurance forum.

I’m going to address all of these topics throughout the year in articles for the Journal of the Colorado Dental Association, starting with our Diversity in Leadership program. The CDA is basing its program on the American Dental Association’s Institute for Diversity in Leadership that has been in the works since 2003. The ADA’s 2018 class is currently comprised of 20 underrepresented dentists who have been selected this year. Through their participation in the institute, they will not only enhance their leadership skills but also pursue a leadership project on an issue or challenge that affects the dental profession or their community. Colorado has had CDA members graduate from the ADA’s program and I am excited to develop a similar program in Colorado. Through the CDA program, we can offer opportunities for underrepresented dentists to develop their personal leadership style and skills, while creating a diverse pipeline for future talent.

Currently a committee of five dentists has been formed to select the first class of CDA leaders and help develop the program. This program is not about exclusion; it is about creating a platform for all dentists to be included and represented. Personally, I am a woman, a Native American, a (relatively) new dentist, and I practice in a rural area. While I have been extremely lucky and blessed to have my voice heard, this is not the case for everyone. The face of dentistry is changing and we need to change with it by having all of our voices heard. I want anyone who feels like they offer a unique voice to apply to this program—our diversity brought together will result in strength. Having different perspectives will also be critical to the CDA’s future growth.

The CDA Diversity in Leadership program participants will take part in monthly 60-minute conference calls, have an online community classroom, and will develop and execute a leadership project. Additionally, participants will provide mentorship of future class members. I am so excited to get this program going. Look for updates throughout the year on the great things this class will be doing.

If you are interested in applying for this Diversity in Leadership program’s first class, please contact CDA Director of Membership Erica Carvin at erica@cdaonline.org or 303-996-2842.