2017 Letter From the Future

Dear Fellows:

It’s been five years since we started our Applied Strategic Planning (ASP) efforts. Wow….have we changed since then! At that time we took a close look at ourselves and realized that we were not attaining our full potential. More important than that was the determination of what the USA ICD’s vision should be: what was it that we cherished and wanted to become, and how would we get there? Together we structured a plan to make us “All we could be”!

So here we are in 2017, the pre-eminent honorary dental organization in the United States. We are the “Flagship” Section for the ICD College at Large (CAL) and work closely with many of the other Sections to implement our multitude of projects. Our USA ICD membership has increased dramatically, providing significant financial benefits while mirroring the diversity of the dental profession. Our USA projects and activities have expanded due to our greater commitment to service and to our strong financial support from our Foundation. Expanding our Section Office staff to six full-time positions has facilitated these changes and we are particularly pleased to be in our new USA ICD headquarters building.

Financial Security

We have significantly increased our annual Induction class sizes (today over 40% greater than 2012), thereby adding more dues revenue for the Section. We have also seen our non-dues income increase by generating financial assets from rental income, corporate sponsorship, advertising, and CE course (travel) registration.

The most important financial enhancement has been the major support from our USA Section Foundation. Today we have a Foundation  with over $5 million, providing major support for our Section activities and programs. This corpus comes from increased Fellow contributions, increased Foundation revenue-enhancing projects, increased corporate support and two recently instituted clubs (Life Century Club ($100/month) and the Regents Club (former Regents and Officers). We have developed a mechanism that streamlines the Foundation support of the Section. Our spirit of mutual support and cooperation between the Section and Foundation is at its highest level ever!

Fellowship Changes

Our Fellowship numbers have increased dramatically! We have many more Fellows inducted each year (approximately 400). Because many are mid-career, not end-of-career inductees, they are providing a number of years of dedicated Service to the Section. Their “youth” has allowed them to be more active in Section activities, thus increasing our potential manpower for worthwhile projects.

Today our ICD USA Fellowship is greatly coveted. It is truly a significant highlight for someone to be invited to ICD Fellowship.  Our Fellows demonstrate the core values of our USA Section; “integrity”, “service” and “leadership”. They all bring varied skill sets and accomplishments to our organization along with the recognition that attached to their Fellowship is a commitment for service. They are truly the “cream of the crop”!

Governance Changes

Our Section governance functions with the greatest efficiency and effectiveness we have ever experienced. We have been blessed with excellent leadership within our Section. They have reviewed our vision and adjusted our mission to be current with the changes in society. Our officers have been dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the USA Section and they have worked effectively with the Board of Regents and the USA Section Foundation Board of Trustees to accomplish our goals and strategic objectives.

The Board of Regents is very proactive in its commitment to service and works in significant harmony with the Section Foundation Board of Trustees in securing financial support for our ongoing and new programs and activities. Our committees are working together, pursuing the action items we identified in our Applied Strategic Planning effort five years ago. Our new projects and activities are endorsed and actively supported by our local, state and district constituencies.

Much of this increased communication, cooperativeness, and cohesiveness is due to the new responsibilities incorporated into the Deputy Registrar position in 2013. These responsibilities provide oversight of Section activities and develop close working relationships among the various Section entities.  This position communicates very effectively with our constituents and our external sponsors and supporters.

Section Office Changes

We now have six full-time Section Office staff and these positions are dedicated to monitoring and course correction for key strategic objectives and initiatives in: public relations; programs and activities; communications and IT; meeting planning; financial issues; volunteer coordinator; membership; continuing education; College at Large interaction; Board of Regents support; and USA Section Foundation support.

The transition to our increased staff and new facility is now complete. Our new office houses the Section Office staff, and  provides space for our records, possessions, and meetings. We sublease office space providing additional non-dues income. Our Section Office staff is delighted with our modern facility and has demonstrated greater efficiency in the new environment.

 Our Section l Office communicates very effectively, using a multitude of modalities that include social media, our award winning Webpage and Section publications. Our annual Fellow survey has led us to adopt new communication techniques that our Fellows suggested. We are particularly effective in providing our internal and external constituents with current news about our programs, activities, and individual Fellow accomplishments. Our business partners are impressed with the range and extent of our service activities and therefore are eager to financially support them. Likewise, the ADA is appreciative of our support and involvement and constantly highlights our accomplishments and activities in their publications.

Our mission is not only infectious, having spread to our district, state, and local ICD groups, but also is reported and disseminated in an effective and timely manner throughout the organization and to our constituencies prompting great initiatives. To recognize these efforts, we have established a variety of district and state awards.

Our relationship with the College at Large is very positive and it constantly seeks our participation in international affairs. This collaborative relationship is a result of our communication ability that immediately informs the CAL and many of our worldwide sister Sections of our service efforts.


We continuously recognize and promote leadership. Our Leadership Institute and Leadership Scholarship Programs have proved successful and as a result, help produce better leaders in the profession. We coordinate our leadership activities with state dental associations or societies through both sponsorship of leadership presentations and seminars at their meetings and periodic meetings with their officials.

Recognizing the need to embrace leadership at the earliest level of professional involvement, we continue to be active in many aspects of dental education.  We recognize these are our leaders of tomorrow.  In the U.S. today we have many dental schools participating in the International Student Exchange Program. Most White Coat ceremonies have financial support from the U.S.A. ICD Districts. The Great Expectations and Global Health Student Associations have grown and we provide financial and volunteer support for these endeavors as well. All of these efforts have increased the recognition of our ICD Brand in dental schools. Most U.S. dental students are very aware of the ICD and appreciate both the contributions made by ICD and the honor that Fellowship bestows.


The USA Section has become a primary clearinghouse for dental humanitarian programs, both nationally and internationally. Many people in need have benefited from our activities. We continue our Fisher House and Peace Corps projects and because of their success we are in consultation with several U.S. agencies for our assistance with some of their humanitarian programs. We have also developed a cooperative relationship with many state Missions of Mercy (MOM) clinics. Not only do we mobilize our Fellows as volunteers for these clinics but we have been able to provide financial support for many. These programs are resulting in dental care being rendered to many U.S. citizens who otherwise would receive no care. The MOM program appreciates our assistance and has included the ICD brand in their clinic settings.

On the international stage we have the expansion of the International Student Exchange (ISE), and Global Health Student Associations (GHSA), under the International Collaborative Initiative (ICI), Program. The ICI has prospered and has been readily accepted by a variety of sister countries. This program has allowed U.S. Fellows and dental students to access humanitarian projects worldwide. This effective methodology has been utilized for our international relationships. These programs are not only in many U.S. dental schools but also in approximately 20 foreign countries. We also work with a number of sister countries to provide expertise, education, and volunteers for their individual projects and we continue our Humanitarian Outreach efforts in several of them.  Additionally, we have also initiated a coordinated role with many of these countries whereby we assist their humanitarian projects by providing U.S. volunteers, educational expertise, and financial support.

Our Humanitarian Outreach Program (which originally provided support for Public Health education of dentists in several countries) has been expanded to also provide a variety of support mechanisms for dental clinics. We are in the process of finalizing our plans to provide financial and manpower support for an international MOM clinic to be held annually in one of our sister countries.

Because of our humanitarian focus, we developed a Volunteer Symposium (in coordination with the ADA and Health Volunteers Overseas) that was first presented in 2013 at the Hinman and Chicago Midwinter meetings. This symposium both identifies the volunteer opportunities available for U.S. dentists and prepares them for undertaking such opportunities. It provides potential volunteers (for both national and international projects) the necessary information to make informed decisions on the type of humanitarian event they want to access and exactly how their volunteer role will be accomplished, i.e., it provides them the knowledge of how to make their commitment to volunteer come to fruition.


The ICD USA Section has become a vibrant, diverse and significant organization for the 21stcentrury. Both our Fellowship and leadership reflects diversity in gender, race, age, and perspective. We are financially secure, we have a productive governance, an expanded, efficient, and effective Section Office, and a Fellowship composed of U.S. dentists who not only recognize the honor of Fellowship but also their commitment to service. Because of these, our mantra today is” Integrity, Leadership and Service”. This is what we are all about! We have significantly expanded some existing programs and activities and created others. We have many legitimate opinions and points of view but after issues are discussed we reach consensus and then progress together to accomplish our strategic objectives. Our dynamic Applied Strategic Plan guides us in both our efforts and resource allocations. We are proud of WHO we are and WHY we exist, and so are our constituencies, because our support is significant from both within and outside our Section. With our increased financial wellbeing and, even more importantly, our countless enthusiastically committed Fellows and dedicate staff, we continue to flourish in our effort to “make a difference” and “do real and lasting good”! Our leadership is indebted to each and every Fellow who has stepped forward to make the ICD USA Section the best it can be!

P.S. We are now in the process of an Applied Strategic Planning effort to help us best identify where we want to be in 2022!