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Component Corner: T.L. Gilmer Dental Society

The benefits of membership in the T.L. Gilmer/ISDS are vast. Dr. Terstriep says, “Honestly, each time I talk to an ISDS member or read my ADA news/ISDS Dental News, I learn about a new benefit or am reminded of an old one.

The T.L. Gilmer Dental Society is the western Illinois component of the ISDS drawing on dental professionals from in and around the city of Quincy. This component has the highest market share of members versus non-members of all the components in the state (over 77% in 2020). Dr. Christina Terstriep is the immediate past-President and is a general dentist at the Adams County Health Department in Quincy. Having moved to Quincy in 2016 and being fairly new to the T.L. Gilmer society, she nevertheless was quickly welcomed and was soon VP/Program Chair, which is an automatic ascendency to the presidency.

Dr. Terstriep calls the society a “well-oiled machine” with a stable membership and great retention rate. Most members are life-long residents rather than transplants and therefore they remain members of the component for many years. While this is good, identifying dentists who are new to the area helps the component grow. New members often come from recent graduates, so engaging them right away is advantageous. “I really appreciated being reached out to as a new member, so I try my best to reach out to new graduates that join our region and inform them about our meetings,” says Dr. Terstriep.

Meetings take place four times a year, typically the same weeks from year to year in September, November, January, and March, and host a continuing education (CE) topic lasting between 4 and 6 hours. This past year has seen a dramatic increase in meeting attendance with the November and January meetings well attended and in person. The current president, Dr. David Wright, does a great job organizing lectures and implementing protocols to keep members safe, says Dr. Terstriep. The most recent CE courses were titled “Cardiovascular Disease and the Dental Patient” presented by Dr. James Kase, MD, cardiac surgeon, and “Everything You Wanted to Know About Dental CT but Were Afraid to Ask” by Dr. Mitra Sadrarmelli, OM, Dental Radiologist. The next meeting will be in April this year, rather than March, with the CE course “Current Topics in Endodontics” presented by Dr. Clayton Liesen.

Historically, the society has not planned gatherings solely on a social basis. However, in talking with members, Dr. Terstriep says it seems there is interest in organizing a social event, perhaps a goal for the spring or summer. This could help garner more active participation among members, always a desirable outcome!

The benefits of membership in the T.L. Gilmer/ISDS are vast. Dr. Terstriep says, “Honestly, each time I talk to an ISDS member or read my ADA news/ISDS Dental News, I learn about a new benefit or am reminded of an old one. I feel that one of the biggest benefits of organized dentistry is that we have this army of advocates fighting on our behalf on a daily basis while we get to do what we love – dentistry! I feel that the ISDS/ADA keep us in the loop about legislative updates and concerns, and then provide us with the resources to help us make an impact.”

Dr. Richard Gregory, a retired dentist from Quincy who remains an active member in the T.L. Gilmer component says, “It has really been a privilege for me to be a member of the tripartite of organized dentistry for 51 years. I have had numerous opportunities to participate in all levels. Being a tripartite member is just one way of giving back to the profession that provided a great career for me. It helps to give dentistry a voice!”

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