Thousands of New Members Join ADEA During First Month of Open Membership
On January 17, dental, allied dental, and advanced dental education faculty, staff, and students participated in National Join ADEA Day, part of an ADEA-led effort to activate as many new members as possible as a part of ADEA’s new Open Membership system. Open Membership, launched January 2, 2006, allows every faculty and staff member and every student of an ADEA membership institution or program to join ADEA at no cost.
ADEA member institutions found creative ways to engage faculty, students, and staff in this signature day of the Open Membership campaign. Some placed a particular focus on encouraging student participation in ADEA. At the University of Texas Health Science Center Houston Dental Branch Dean Cathy Flaitz worked with Dr. Sheila Koh, associate professor of restorative dentistry and biomaterials (and also vice president of the ADEA Council on Hospitals and Advanced Education Programs), to publicize and promote National Join ADEA Day and Open Membership. Though ADEA supplied them with stickers featuring the ADEA Open Wider logo and “I joined! It’s free!” Koh and Flaitz took it a couple of steps further, creating buttons for those who registered at UT-Houston and providing additional incentive to register as an ADEA member— each person to sign up for ADEA membership was enrolled in a raffle for five $1,000 travel prizes for the 2006 ADEA Annual Session in March.
Dean Flaitz, (pictured center) who activated her membership on National Join ADEA Day, said of the effort, “Open membership is a great opportunity to bring faculty, staff, and students together under this umbrella organization to advance dental education. Leadership, educational research, and networking opportunities for professional development are valuable benefits for those who actively participate. Special buttons, posters, and five raffle prizes to attend the meeting in Orlando have created a sense of healthy competition for a worthwhile goal.”
The dedication to promoting National Join ADEA Day and Open Membership at schools like the University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston Dental Branch has greatly contributed to ADEA’s membership boom. Before Open Membership went into effect, ADEA had approximately 2,500 individual members. Because a new database software was triggered When Open Membership was launched in January, the actual number of ADEA members on January 1 was zero. At about 4 p.m. (Eastern) on January 31, ADEA reached 10,000, including 6,000 first-time members. Not only have membership numbers exploded, but interest in Sections and Special Interest Groups is unprecedented. While the average number of sections or SIGS chosen has been about two per person, many Sections and SIGS have grown as much as ten-fold.
At this time most of the membership is coming from dental schools. ADEA is planning a targeted campaign to invite memberships from nonmember allied programs not affiliated with dental schools to begin in the spring. A campaign targeted at nonmember hospital and advanced education programs will begin in the fall.