A Message from 2020-2021 CFDDA President
Dr. Suzi Thiems-Heflin

For those of you who may not be aware, Dr. Jerry Bird, who is now the FDA 2nd Vice President, (our CFDDA representative who will become our FDA president), was in a “freak” bicycle accident on September 1, and was seriously injured including head trauma and broken bones. At present, he has undergone several surgeries, is responsive, and seems to be recovering, but he and his family need our thoughts and prayers. Please contact me or Marlinda (cfdental@cfdda.org) for more information regarding his status. There is also a website called CaringBridge.org that Jerilyn Bird or a family member updates regularly, so please check that for Jerry’s status.

We also need to keep Dr. Jay (Drew) Johnson, who is Dr. Bird’s partner in their Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery practice, in our thoughts and prayers as he is trying to manage their practice without his partner.

Besides his position as 2nd Vice President of the FDA, Dr. Bird is extremely active in our Political Action Committees, both at the FDA and the ADA level, and in our legislative endeavors, at state, federal and local levels. He is a tireless advocate for dentistry. Dr. Johnson is also involved in all levels of our dental organizations, and is chair of the FDA’s Committee on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs (CEBJA), and is on the Council on Ethics, Bylaws, and Judicial Affairs at the ADA. They are both invaluable to our dental organizations.

So please keep all in your prayers and wish all involved the strength to get them through this ordeal.

We have all been through a very trying period with the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we are not completely out of the “danger zone” yet, the limitations put on our profession seems to be lessening as long as we are following the safety protocols, as we have always done. It is still incumbent on us to relay to our patients and the public that we are practicing completely within those guidelines, and it is safe to be seen in our offices.

It is likewise important to remember how much organized dentistry did to reinstate our practices, to help us with toolkits for reopening our offices, and other important information.

We are still in election season, and we need to remember to contribute to our political action committees, the FDAPAC and ADPAC. We were very fortunate that we had representation from both the national and state levels legislatively to get our practices open again, and to keep us apprised of the financial assistance that was available to us through the Payroll Protection Program and the Emergency Injury Disaster Loans. The FDA kept us up to date with new information as soon as it was released.

Our dues statements will be coming out before the next CFDDA Newsletter (Winter 2021), so please don’t overlook it; the FDA has several options on how to remit payment, so be looking for that, too.

And included in the dues statement will be options for the FDA Foundation which is the philanthropic and charitable organization for the FDA; also FDAPAC which is the political action committee that was so instrumental in helping us with Governor DeSantis and the regulations he had put into effect for dentistry. There is an option to help fund the Alliance of the Florida Dental Association which is comprised of the dental family, which also advocates for the dental profession and engages in community health projects for the welfare of the public and the dental profession. These are all worthwhile components of the FDA and definitely worth supporting; please don’t forget them when you pay your 2021 dues!

The combined ADA/FDC meeting is virtual this year, so no one has to travel. If you have not registered yet, you can still do so. Just go to the ADA.org website and you can either register for an All-Access pass, or a limited pass which allows access to the exhibit hall and the opening ceremony. If there is a workshop you would like to attend, you have to be registered for the All Access pass before you can also register for the workshop which is a separate fee.

And don’t forget to contact FDA Services (FDAS) before you buy. FDAS is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Florida Dental Association. Revenue from insurance sales goes directly toward helping FDA programs and lobbying efforts that are important to members; and keeping dues at their lowest possible level. Besides insurance they offer many other services that are of benefit to our practices and us, like Crown Savings which includes discounted dental supplies, credit card processing, CareCredit, all the way to reduced prices on Mercedes Benz!

Even in these difficult times, we need to be mindful of how much organized dentistry does for us, in advocacy, updates in dentistry, camaraderie, continuing education, and keeping dentistry an autonomous, and cohesive organization dedicated to maintaining and improving the oral health of our communities.