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IDA recognizes Dr. Martin Szakaly's presidency
|Pictured: Dr. Martin Szakaly (center) with Drs. Steven Holm (left) and Terry Schechner (right).
Dr. Martin Szakaly, 2010-2011 IDA president, concludes his term at the 153rd Annual Session in French Lick, Ind.
A general dentist from South Bend, Ind., Dr. Szakaly has led a number of initiatives as president, Among his key contributions are a new website and online membership directory, increased visibility for councils and committees, and a stronger voice for the Association's stances on Assignment of Benefit and Non-Covered Services legislation.
In an email interview with the IDA, Dr. Szakaly reflected on his year as IDA president.
IDA: Why do you enjoy being an IDA member?
MS: It’s not the “stuff” that I get from being a member of the IDA; it really is the camaraderie. I like being around people that have the same interests and concerns as I do. I enjoy talking to other dentists about all the problems that confront us every day, professionally and politically.
IDA: What has it meant to you personally and professionally to be the IDA president in the last year?
MS: Personally, I’ve been delighted to meet so many dentists throughout the state. We are all different, but we all want to be good practitioners by looking out for our patients’ welfare. Professionally, it has been an honor to represent Indiana at the national level. I found that our state is in tune with the national agenda.
IDA: If you learned one thing as president that you'd like to pass on to the next president, what would it be?
MS: He has to have a thick skin. I’ve found dentists to be very passionate in their beliefs, and they don’t always match yours. In this role, you represent all the dentists in the state of Indiana, not just your component, and not just one set of beliefs. You need to have an open mind, be flexible, and most importantly, you have to be fair.
IDA: How has the IDA grown in the last year?
MS: I believe we became more politically effective. I think Resolution 92 helped the ADA in dealing with the Pew and Kellogg Foundations. This made us a “player” at the national level. I thank Dave Holwager for his work on this resolution. We are fortunate to have Ed Popchef as our lobbyist. He is well respected and trusted by our state legislators. The IDA was also well represented in Washington, D.C., in May. Indiana dentists personally spoke with both senators and all but two of the Indiana congressmen.
IDA: How do you anticipate the IDA will grow over the next year?
MS: I think Dr. Schechner is concerned with developing leadership in the IDA. Councils will be better run and more organized. I believe our website will grow our communicative ability, particularly with younger members. After me, Schechner and Roberts, Dr. Desiree Dimond will be a breath of fresh air, combining a pretty face and intelligence. Sorry, boys, the truth hurts.
IDA: What was your proudest moment from this past year?
MS: The success of our Mid-State leadership meeting last August made me very proud of our officers and staff. It ran like a well oiled machine; everyone learned from each other and had a great time. We need to get along with our neighboring states. Their concerns are very similar to ours.
IDA: What do you see as your greatest achievement as president?
MS: My most important goal this year was updating the IDA website. Dr. Tom Murray and his task force deserve the credit for this. He drove everyone hard, especially himself. A three-year project was done in a year. Will Sears is a valuable employee who came at the right time to implement this website reconstruction. Probably the biggest achievement is the overwhelming member participation in the French Lick meeting. It will be fun, and I think everyone will have a great time renewing acquaintances and enjoying the resort.
IDA: What roles do you see yourself in for the coming year?
MS: A rocking chair, and answering my phone when Dr. Schechner calls.
IDA: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as president of the Indiana Dental Association. I did spend some nights worrying about things, but because of our wonderful staff and my fellow officers and the Board of Trustees, every problem was resolved. I will miss representing all of our members, and I thank them for this opportunity to serve.
Will Sears, Director of Communications
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