Dear NESO Members,
As your representative on the AAO’s Council on New and Younger Members (CONYM), I am happy to provide the NESO membership with an update on the discussions that were had at CONYM’s latest meeting which took place on February 4th. It is an honor and privilege to represent NESO’s New and Younger members, and I am always available to our membership for discussion, suggestions, or questions.
Who are the ’New and Younger’ members (NYM)? Today, 32% of all active AAO members are within 10 years of graduation, making up the largest cohort of AAO members. This equates to 2750 NYM. Diving into demographics further, 68% of this NYM work in a solo/group practice while 12% are employed with a DSO and 8% are employed with an OSO. There is a total of 9640 AAO members practicing in the United States, which equates to 86.5% of all orthodontists in the country. Further, 90% of new and younger members within 4 years of graduation are members of the AAO which is promising for the future of our profession! It is imperative that new and younger members are engaged with the AAO so that we can provide the best resources for our new and younger members as our careers progress.
During our February meeting, a variety of agenda items were discussed. Notably, the Wharton School of Business program through the AAO, “Mastering the Business of Orthodontics” has received tremendously positive reviews. I am happy to report that I took this online course in the Summer of 2022, and it was one of the best investments I made for myself as a solo practice owner who recently started my own practice. I highly recommend it to any new and younger members looking to build on their business acumen.
TechSelect is a newly developed program from the AAO that allows AAO members to learn about in-house aligners, retainers, digital indirect bonding, and custom brackets. This truly is a wonderful resource and is available to all registered members of the AAO. The AAO has designed this program with some of the very best orthodontists providing educational components on in-house aligner fabrication. This can be accessed through the AAO website, and I encourage everyone to have a look.
There is also a new AAO phone app that is in development. I am happy to report that CONYM will have a large influence on the app’s features as we strive to make this new app an easy-to-use and informative resource for all members of the AAO. The app is in its early stages of development, and as such, I welcome all suggestions from our NESO membership on what features you would like to see!
The AAO is aware of the labor shortage of orthodontic auxiliaries that the orthodontic field is facing (much like other industries in today’s economy). As such, the AAO is working on a “Consumer and High School Counsellor Campaign” to increase awareness for careers in orthodontic practices among potential students. This will target junior colleges and high school counselors so that awareness can be brought to potential students looking for a career in the orthodontic field.
AAO Connections is another great resource that allows mentors and mentees to get together over a phone call or zoom call that allows new and younger members to receive wisdom and advice from established orthodontists who are willing to pass down their knowledge. Please visit the AAO website to learn more if you are interested in either receiving or providing advice on a variety of orthodontic topics. I have utilized AAO Connections and am thankful to Dr. Neal Kravitz (mentor) for providing me with great advice prior to my opening my start-up practice. To my fellow new and younger members, this is a great resource to please register. To other NESO members who may feel they have expertise in a certain topic, I also encourage you to register as a mentor.
Regarding future meetings following the AAO’s Scientific Session in Chicago, GORP will take place this year in St. Louis on the weekend of July 20-22nd, and NESO’s meeting will take place in Montreal, Canada (Go Habs Go!) from October 20-21, and the AAO’s 2024 Winter Meeting will take place in San Antonio, Texas from January 26-28 focusing on ‘orthodontic finishing’.
I wish everyone a great month ahead with the hope that Spring is soon on its way. I look forward to seeing you all at a variety of conferences and as always am here for our new and younger members.
Dr. Christos Papadopoulos