President's Newsletter - Winter 2023

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that all of you are settling into the New Year.  The WSAPD board has been working hard on your behalf and we’re looking forward to seeing all of you at several of our upcoming events.  With the excitement and business of the holidays behind us, the WSAPD board has more updates for our membership.

Recently the WSDA put forth a call to action on two important dental workforce bills- House Bill 1466 and House Bill 1678 that are being heard by the House Health Care & Wellness Committee on Tuesday, February 7, at 1:30 pm.  WSDA and WSAPD supports HB 1466 concerning currently credentialed dental auxiliaries, and would help increase access to care by allowing more hygienists to practice in Washington State.  The bill would adopt new requirements that qualify a licensed dental hygienist to be issued any or all of the following expanded function endorsements:  restorative, local anesthesia and nitrous sedation.

The WSDA and the WSAPD oppose HB 1678 and the statewide authorization of dental therapists, which would allow those with as little as 3 years of training to perform irreversible procedures on our most vulnerable populations.   As WSAPD so accurately stated, “all Washingtonians, regardless of socioeconomic status, deserve quality care from highly trained professionals.  Dental therapy’s focus on low-income and underserved patients creates a two-tiered system of care, and puts the neediest, most complex cases a step further from a dentist.”  Please take a few moments to show your support for HB 1466 and your opposition to HB 1678 here: CSI (

We hope that WSAPD members had the chance to review the recent letter that was sent out by WSPD President Dr. Bri Butler regarding proposed changes to the AAPD “Affiliates” membership category.  The AAPD Board approved the request for the membership group “Affiliates” be now known as “General Dentists” and self-identify as a “General Dentist member of the AAPD.”  They are now awaiting language recommendations from the Bylaws Committee which is expected at the winter board meeting.  If the language is approved, there will most likely be a vote at the AAPD General Assembly 2023 in Orlando, and the WSPD highly expects this issue to be addressed and voted on at AAPD 2023.  Dr. Butler emphasized that the “AAPD is our specialty organization and we need our collective voices to be heard and our votes to be counted wherever they fall of the spectrum of this issue.”  It is important to remember that no change will take place without a two-thirds majority vote at the General Assembly and made a call to action: Come to the General Assembly in Orlando.

On Saturday, January 7th, the WSAPD board put on a “Pediatric Update” CE event for general dentists at the Mountaineers in Seattle.  Invitations were sent out to dental directors of multiple federally qualified health centers in Western Washington as well as to King County Public Health.  Although it was the first time that WSAPD has held this event, it was a continuation of the same support and generosity previously provided by the Washington State Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Foundation and Drs. Chris Delecki and Brian Williams.  The 3 hour CE course was provided for $25 per attendee, as several board members volunteered their time to provide the course material.  The purpose of the event was to help support general dentists who treat a large number of pediatric patients on Medicaid and topics were geared towards cariology, restorative techniques (place those SSCs!), space maintenance and behavior management.  We had great feedback from attendees and plan to provide this as a yearly event supported by WSAPD going forward.  It is important that as pediatric specialists, we can be a resource for our general dentist colleagues and help support them in treating children and their families.

The WSAPD recently completed our AAPD Pediatric Oral Health Advocacy Conference (POHAC) Resident Selection process.  The WSAPD Board selects two candidates from either WA pediatric residency program for a $1000 stipend for travel reimbursement to attend POHAC in Washington D.C. This year, we had great applicants from both programs, and selected Dr. Matthew D Waite from UW and Dr. Jessica Holownia from NYU Langone- Yakima. Drs. John Gibbons and Bri Butler will be attending POHAC as their mentors as they meeting with Washington representatives and senators.  We look forward to our membership hearing about their experience at our Annual Meeting in October.

Recently, Dr. John Gibbons, our PPA and WSDA president, WSAPD Executive Director Stephanie Cook and myself were in attendance at the most recent California Society of Pediatric Dentistry Board Meeting on January 21, in Oakland.  We were invited to attend to learn more about restructuring WSAPD board meetings to include strategic planning sessions, increased membership participation with committees, and the creation of a Procedure and Policy of Standing Rules manual & creation of a motion book.  We believe that making these changes will help us provide even more value in CE and events for our membership.

As a reminder, our annual PALS 2023 course is coming up in a few weeks.  The initial course takes place on Friday, March 3rd via Zoom, and the hands-on course takes place Saturday, March 4, at the Mountaineers in Seattle.  Please register here: WSAPD PALS 2023 – WSAPD

We also have our Mid-Winter Meeting 2023 to look forward to on Saturday, March 18th at the beautiful Willows Lodge in Woodinville.  We are looking forward to this wonderful event, with John R. Christensen, DDS, MS as our speaker.  Dr. Christensen is a dual trained pediatric dentist and orthodontist from Durham, NC, and will be discussing “Contemporary Orthodontics Treatment Strategies for the Early Mixed Dentition.”  If you haven’t already done so, please register here: WSAPD 2023 Winter Meeting – WSAPD.

As always, I appreciate the opportunity to work with the WSAPD board on behalf of our membership and our profession, and look forward to seeing you all at our upcoming events.

Aarika D. Anderson Elter

President WSAPD 2022-2023