An Oklahoma HELLO

As I sit on this short Delta airlines flight from Oklahoma City to Atlanta, GA, I am truly reeling from my experience in speaking for the Oklahoma Dental Hygienists’ Association.

The last time I was in Oklahoma was when I danced and choreographed a local community theatre production of Oklahoma for Mesa Encore Theatre in 2013, and let me tell you: while much has changed from the 1800’s Oklahoma I danced in to the 2019 Oklahoma City I delivered my course content in, there are still many things that remain the same.

Katrina as a featured dancer in Mesa Encore Theatre’s Oklahoma

In true Oklahoma fashion, I was greeted with incredible kindness and an “Oklahoma Hello” as I was welcomed to their annual session.  They celebrated “moving forward together” and the room of hundreds of dental professionals truly demonstrated the spirit of coming together.  While I am used to delivering course content for dental hygiene state associations to primarily hygienists, I was delighted to meet several dentists who had chosen to attend the annual session alongside their dental hygienist in an effort to come together, so to speak.  The curiosity, innovation and true dedication to elevated patient care was clearly evident as I delivered my content.

Even more so, I was impressed to see that ADHA President Matt Crespin, RDH had recorded an address that was delivered to the audience.  It was in that moment that I truly realized: we are moving forward together in so many unique ways! For the first time in history, a male dental hygienist is serving as our ADHA President, and with this comes beautiful change.  Matt spoke about the futuristic ways his reign is reaching the community, educating them and instilling great value in the immense work dental hygienists do. I was impressed to learn about the strategic partnerships he has already created and the campaigns he is working to create on social media platforms.  As an ADHA member, I was proud to see the ways in which the association is growing, and as a dental hygienist, I was truly humbled to see the ways in which our leadership is taking charge and truly creating an opportunity for growth.

As Matt’s address broadcast across the screen, I noticed the hotel staff frantically hauling carts of chairs.  In the frenzy, I scurried out of the way, and noted that countless chairs were being added to the back of the room.

As the size of the audience swelled, I was off, delivering one of my favorite courses on Local Anesthesia Techniques, Trends and Troubleshooting.  Through laughter and collaboration, we unpacked some unique ideas around troubleshooting and improving techniques on common injections while also discussing alternative injection techniques.  It was clear that these hygienists were hungry for knowledge in brushing up on common skills while also exploring greater depths of anesthesia (pun intended).

We broke for a lunch break and between smiles and giggles, the participants shared how delighted they were to receive such valuable course content while also being entertained.  Afterall: if you’re going to dedicate your Friday morning to a CE course on local anesthesia delivered by a Midwest Ginger, you might as well enjoy it, right?

After chugging a protein shake and packing my bags to ensure I could book it out of the conference center at the conclusion of my afternoon session, I opened my second session with my course Cracking Periodontal Codes with Class: Diagnostic Decisions.

With all of the new information surrounding the 2017-2018 American Academy of Periodontology classifications, I always find that dental hygienists appreciate content that outlines the newest research regarding our diagnostic decisions.  Although this room held several hundred people, it felt intimate and conversational, and THAT is how CE should be. As I concluded my second talk of the day and prepared to zip off to the airport to catch my next flight I realized: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, Oklahoma!  Today, you MOVED FORWARD TOGETHER in a huge way, and I am so very humbled to have been witness to it.

Oklahoma Dental Hygienists’ Association member Anglea Craig drove me to the airport, and as we cruised through the winding roads from Edmond to Oklahoma City, I was delighted by her smarts and passion for dental hygiene.  As I admired the beautiful gifted bracelet I received from the ODHA, we discussed some of the unique challenges the Oklahoma Dental Hygienists’ Association has previously experienced. Angela shared: “In years past, our state association has struggled to fill seats for our annual session.  Once we shared that YOU would be presenting this year, we oversold our enrollment and we were so overbooked that we had to add extra chairs in the back of the room!” She went on to remind me: “people were even sitting on the floor just to get a chance to see you speak!” Not only was I grateful to have been part of this event, Angela shared how incredibly pleased they were to have an oversold event.

Well, Oklahoma, the pleasure has been all mine! 

This has been an incredible trip and one I am so very grateful for.  What’s more: I was able to represent Dentsply Sirona as they Platinum sponsored this event while supporting my mission for excellence amongst the dental hygiene community.  It is truly the collaboration of great & curious minds and innovative corporations that will propel our industry forward and, essentially, ensure we MOVE FORWARD TOGETHER.

Cheers!

This blog post was written in honor of Cyndy Vogler-Henry, Oklahoma Dental Hygienists’ Association Treasurer, whose dedication and devout energy to the Board of Dentistry is awe-inspiring.  Cyndy served as President twice, numerous times as ADHA Delegate, received the ADHA Distinguished Service Award, served as Legislative Chair for 17 years and is an ODHA Life Member. May the dynamic nature of her spirited service continue to inspire the dental hygiene community as we move forward together.

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