It is an honor and privilege to serve as President of the North Carolina Dental Hygienists’ Association. This year, our theme is the White Oak. White Oaks-one of the most magnificent trees in the eastern states. They can grow tall and wide and live to be over 200 years old. These trees produce a bounty of fruit, though some may think them cumbersome, acorns provide nourishment to so many of our creatures. The wood from these trees is something of a treasure as it is water and rot-resistant, Hello whiskey barrels! These trees are used to make musical instruments-especially banjos. When you see this symbol, you’ll be able to KNOW our mission, your role in that mission and hopefully, help us reach the next level as an Association. 

A White Oak is rooted strongly in rich soil, soil that provides nutrients for growth and maturity. Think of our root system as ADHA. They do a great job providing us with nourishment to help our state and our hygienists succeed. We give time and money to that “root system” because we think it necessary for the health of our organization. 

The trunk…the large, strong trunk…that’s us, NCDHA. We sprout because of our roots in ADHA and we age over the years, graceful of course! We are the base of the rest of our body-or branches. Of course…the branches are…our 12 components. These components play such an integral role-they are WHO WE ARE, what people see. They bear the fruit of all of our work! 

As your President this year, I am inviting you to take this image of a tree to heart and to join in our mission-now more than ever. For my term, I don’t expect any dramatic legislation change-though I welcome it! I do, however, want to get us in a position where we are ready for this kind of change. We are educated enough to have less limitations in our Scope of Practice, allowing us to properly treat patients and to give access to care to so many without. It is my belief that in order to make real change, we need real numbers. As a whole, ADHA’s membership has been on a constant decline. They are working with an outside company to detail why and to detail how to remedy this situation. Our State’s membership has felt the direct hit of this same situation and our membership is low, only 586 hygienists are ADHA members…that’s about 8% of all licensed hygienists in North Carolina. 

If we want to make impact, change in our profession, we need numbers. We need more hygienists in our state to be part of what we are doing. This year, that is my mission. With the help of you, our leaders, I plan to create more opportunities for growth. I plan to incorporate and ask component leaders and members to be actively engaged in student member recruitment and then, as they get licensed, retention. I am going to ask of all of us to be real mentors to the hygienists’ in our personal circles of influence. We need more fruit, and diverse fruit, coming from these branches and together, we can do this! We need to be unified in cause and be more in sync with one another as professionals. Look around you, we have a room full of committed, smart and brave leaders…I am counting on you-as much as you should count on me to lead with direction, in order to make this happen 

We have a strong foundation for growth. When you think of this tree, imagine yourself as part of it and be ready for the growth that is going to happen through what we do together! 

Brigette Easter
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