Benefits to Dentists at all Career Stages
Narpat S. Jain, DMD, MAGD
NJAGD Vice President
One of the common questions we receive as NJAGD Board Members from prospective or non-members is “Why join the AGD?”
My introduction to the Academy of General Dentistry came from Dr. Joseph Battaglia while still matriculated at New Jersey Dental School in 1995. Throughout my career, my reasons for being a member have changed based on where I was professionally, but each stage has brought its own unique and important rewards.
As dentists, most of us are usually in the isolated cocoons of our offices. The world of dentistry is changing at a lightening pace – material science, HR, practice management, techniques and technology. Staying abreast of the latest is always a challenge. The AGD provides a support system and network for the general dentist exclusively.
As a young dentist, what was important to me was learning the most sophisticated procedures that would help grow my practice, and how to build my personal brand. The AGD did that from the onset by encouraging a dedication to quality continuing education and excellence, and the first tangible result from my involvement in the AGD was my achievement of Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry. The Fellowship sets you apart from other general practitioners, and shares your dedication to quality and continued education to colleagues and patients alike. Personally, and most importantly, it is a badge of honor to the hard work, hours of continuing education, knowledge, and my family’s sacrifices that allowed me the opportunity to attain my goal.
As my career progressed, my personal goal was elevated to achieving a Mastership in the Academy of General Dentistry. Taking participation courses in various disciplines enhanced my knowledge base and broadened my horizons.
Matriculating in the mastership courses through the NJAGD’s Advance into Mastership (AIM) program gave me the opportunity to meet fantastic, like-minded, progressive dentists who I now consider good friends! The camaraderie gained benefitted me on a personal and professional level. One of these dentists, Dr. Brett Druger of Westfield, NJ, was initially mentored by me on implants, practice setup and continuing education. Over the years, the roles were reversed, and he mentored me in office efficiency and applying technology.
Another dentist who I saw regularly at AGD courses was Dr. V. Selvan (former NJAGD president). My story with Selvan spans many years. Both of us had a lot in common. We are both originally from India, love our profession, have a thirst for knowledge, and want to be the very best we can be personally and professionally.
The icing on the cake on my mastership journey was to receive my Mastership the same day as Selvan was to receive his LLSR (Life Long Learning & Service award) in Boston in 2016. It was great for us to have friends, family, staff and colleagues cheering us on during the awards ceremony. They shared that journey of hours of continuing education, studying, taking time away from our practices for self-improvement and sacrifice to be the best we can be!
The most recent stage in my journey with the AGD started on 8/21/2014 when I received an email invitation for “Leaders Wanted” from the NJAGD soliciting dentists interested in becoming involved in leadership of the organization. With my children in college, my practice doing well, it was time for me to “give back” to my chosen profession. My first board meeting was on 9/15/2015. Much to my surprise, among the existing board members was my friend Dr. V. Selvan! With Selvan’s guidance and mentorship, my involvement in the NJAGD and appreciation of organized dentistry has grown.
As volunteers on the board we get a chance to really influence the direction of our association and serve our fellow dentists and profession. Earlier this year, I participated in my first ever “AGD Hill Day” event. It was a great opportunity to spend time with fellow NJ dentists – Dr. Manuel Cordero (current AGD President), Dr. Joseph Battaglia (Chair-Legislative Government Affairs Council), & Dr. Elizabeth Clemente (Division Coordinator / Budget and Finance Committee), and to meet other concerned dentists from all over the country. We lobbied our Senators and Congressional Representatives on issues important to our profession such as student debt refinancing and ending antitrust exemption for insurance companies.
So, to answer, “Why join the AGD?” … My answer is: “To help you to be the best you can be, and to be associated with quality people with the highest dedication to our profession.”