CDA Benefits

By Diana Heineken

The existence of the tripartite (National/State/Local) dental societies has been an integral part of the success of our dental profession throughout the last century. Organized dentistry continues to be at the forefront of advocacy and member support through the evolutions of our industry- from private practices, group practices, public health, and to large dental service organizations. California Dental Association (CDA) has a myriad of benefits that are below the surface. I am here to lift the veil and help dentists maximize their membership dues. 

In this issue, I’d like to highlight a new outreach arm of CDA: Early Career Dentist Engagement. Dentists who have practiced for less than 10 years are often categorized as New Dentists. The reason is there’s a lot of career development that occurs in the first 10 years of practice- whether it be clinically or professionally. Many milestones occur, such as transitioning from an associate to a private practice owner, student loans and growing families, and even a first encounter with difficult patients or managing new staff. 

No matter when each of these new chapters occurs, it can be jarring when you are left to figure this out on your own. This outreach arm was created to bridge the gap and help guide dentists to the right resources that CDA can offer. 

CDA has launched its first series of “Now + Next in Dentistry.” This new meetup is designed to be more than a meeting, but an opportunity to bring dentists together for learning, support, and conversation in a casual environment. The goal of this format is to touch on hot topic points such as the current state of dentistry, future trends and their effect on the decision of your chosen career path, and how to navigate the financial implications of debt. The first of these meetups occurred here in San Diego on March 25th at Stone Brewing. 

I had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing CDA staff, Katie Fornelli, who organized the event. She was able to provide some insight on how this event is really meant to be a launch point for a more in-depth conversation. You can never truly gain all the insight from a single meeting. But through networking with CDA staff and colleagues, you begin to build a vision of what you hope to see in your career path. Where Katie and her support team will be able to assist is- if upon leaving these events, you are left with specific questions on the next steps, you can schedule a session with her to dive deeper into a particular topic. She is a wealth of information from her 10+ years of experience as a dental practice consultant and she stated that her biggest fear is, “for dentists who have gone through years of rigorous training and not be happy with where they are.”

Katie mentioned a prime example of a missed opportunity in membership benefit is when a new practice owner pays a third-party organization to help them with developing an employee handbook, pre-ownership guidance, or human resource questions on state law. There’s a huge member support team at CDA, at your fingertips, to answer these exact questions. The barrier is- simply knowing where to look and how to tap into this knowledge bank. 

If you have questions on how to schedule a discovery session with Katie Fornelli, please email her

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