Trustee Report: Holiday Edition

Dear Members,

I hope you often have  experiences similar to one that I had recently. A former patient, Tom (not his real name), came into the office and said he had just finished his first semester in an ortho program.  He was beaming and wanted me to know that he was in ortho because of his experiences in our office. Gave me the warm and fuzzies.

He then wanted to ask me a few questions. Tom had been hearing how hard it was now to make a go in orthodontics given the high debt load, general dentists doing ortho, and corporate dentistry. He wanted to know if I thought the “golden age” had passed, and if he  was making the right decision. I guess my gray hair gave me away, but I told him that I had heard we missed the “golden age” at least 4 times over the years. Seems the last decade was always “the best.”

I truly believe that the golden age is still in front of us. With technology improving as it is, and more and more patients becoming aware of our services, our future is bright. However, it is also fraught with some serious speed bumps. Our current speed bumps are significant, but so were those that affected our profession over the last several decades. Our profession has navigated around, over, or even through these bumps and is still considered by many the number one profession to be in. I told Tom that if I had to do it all over again I would do so in a second.

As I told this story to my wife, Elet, that evening I was struck with gratitude for all of you that make our profession great.  My short tenure on the Board of Trustees has given me some insights into what it takes to really advance our members’ success through education, advocacy and research. As others have said, it takes a village.  So for this year’s annual holiday post I want you to know that EVERY DAY I AM GRATEFUL FOR ALL OF YOU.  All the leaders and staff that make our organization tick. All the educators, including the volunteers who take time away from their practices to work with our residents. And, to all our members without whose support we would not be able to speak with meaning in the halls of Washington and state/provincial capitals. It is all of you that make me believe that the golden age of orthodontics is ongoing, and our future is bright. Thank you All.

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season and a prosperous 2019.


Warmest Regards,



John Callahan
Trustee- Northeastern Society of Orthodontists
American Association of Orthodontists

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
Helen Keller (1880-1968), American deafblind author, activist & lecturer