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American Association of Women Dentists

January 24, 2012

Conferences and meetings for dental groups can take you globetrotting to exciting destinations such as Rio de Janiero, New York City, San Diego and…..Oklahoma City?

This past June as AAWD president I was fortunate enough to be sponsored by the office of student services to attend AAWD’s 90th Annual Meeting and Conference. The meeting alternates each year between Chicago, the location of AAWD headquarters, and other destinations like Hilton Head, SC and, you guessed it, OKC. After my D1 year I had the company of other AAWD board members on the easy drive to Chicago, but this year I was on my own. I packed up and headed West to Oklahoma City.

Things started looking up as I checked into Oklahoma City’s most beautiful and famous hotel, the Skirvin Hilton and headed to the rooftop kickoff event at the Oklahoma Museum of Art.

The Skirvin Hotel

The next two days were packed with interesting and relevant presentations corresponding with the meeting’s theme “Aging Gracefully”. I learned helpful tips for caring for our aging patients in the “Expert Panel” as well as more colorful topics like a presentation on “Knowing your Personal Brand” from a professional image consultant. The hands-on restorative implants course provided an opportunity to apply what we had just covered that spring in implant lab and to try out another implant system. The event concluded each year with the student session. This year two practice marketing experts presented on buying versus starting up a practice.

In our free time I visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, which honors victims of the April 1995 bombing. The breathtaking outdoor memorial features a chair for every victim and a reflecting pool between two pillars with the time 9:01 and 9:03, the duration of the explosion. Inside, we experienced what it might have been like for victims that day, beginning with a recording of a meeting interrupted by the explosion followed by news footage of the recovery and investigation efforts. I left with an appreciation for a major historical event I was too young to understand when it occurred.

Oklahoma City National Memorial at Night

Oklahoma City National Memorial at Night

Overall, the AAWD meeting was an exciting opportunity to visit a charming city I would not otherwise have seen. Most importantly, through meeting AAWD leaders throughout the country I gained valuable ideas to bring back to our group here at Michigan.

Alexandra Plonka is a D3 and AAWD president.

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