The History of the Central Florida District Dental Association
The Central Florida District Dental Association was organized by A. B. Whitman of Orlando, J. E. Chace of Ocala and C. W. Fain of Daytona. The Orange County Dental Society (now the Dental Society of Greater Orlando), which had been organized in January of 1922 was host to the organizational meeting on May 11, 1922. The group’s President. A. B. Whitman acted as chairman and 37 dentists were present.
The group adopted the state’s Constitution and Bylaws and agreed to meet twice a year. Dues were set at $10.00 per year with $6.00 going to the national and state organizations and $4.00 to the District. The Central District history actually goes all the way back to the end of the Civil War, when James Chace, became one of the first dentists in the state and resided in the Ocala area. In 1884, James Chace founded the Florida State Dental Society; the group now known as the Florida Dental Association.
James Edward Chace was the next dentist in the family and one of the founding members of CFDDA. He was the first dentist in Florida to use an X-ray for examining teeth. After that came James Edward Chace's son, Richard Chace, who also became a dentist and helped start the University Of Florida College Of Dentistry in the 1970s. His son Richard, Jr., is a practicing periodontist in Winter Park.
Prior to moving to the present offices on Mills Avenue, the CFDDA was housed in the Chace dental office on Morse Avenue in Winter Park. The office was staffed by Ms. Polly Podmore, who was the original Executive Director before retiring and turning the reigns over to Ms. Linda Lowell, who recently retired after 25 years of service.
The membership is broad and diverse and includes about 1500 dentists from an area that stretches from Alachua in the north to Brevard in the south. The principle cities are Orlando, Daytona Beach, Melbourne, Ocala, and Gainesville. There are many other smaller towns and large rural areas within the District. The largest concentration of dentists are in Orlando, with over 650 dentists in the Greater Orlando area.
In spite of the large geographic area of the District, with dentists widely dispersed, there seems to be an camaraderie between members. There is a ready willingness to help each other and to volunteer to help the public and needy individuals in every locale. The leadership of the District has always shown a great sense of professional cooperation both among the Board and the Officers and within the six affiliate societies. There is also a large group of new young dentists, both men and women who are stepping into leadership roles and are role models in their communities.