Annual District 3 Conference

Written by John Lindberg

ASDA’s most anticipated event of the year, the Annual District 3 Conference at the Kalahari Resort
Poconos, took place recently. The resort, located one hundred miles north of Philadelphia, is the largest
indoor water park in the nation and attracts people from across the country for its wet and wild
adventure slides and pools. Almost two hundred dental student representatives from Penn, Temple,
Pittsburgh, Howard, and Maryland, along with several pre-dental students, gathered to take a break
from the rigorous academic year to network, to learn from various speakers, and to enjoy themselves.
The event began on Friday, January 11 th 2019. Several students decided to take advantage of the recent
snow and spent the day on the ski slopes prior to the start of the event. That night, the first social event,
sponsored by Midwest Dental, took place at Sortino’s restaurant. Students enthusiastically took
advantage of the food and drinks, which were well received after a long day of either traveling or alpine
sports. The warm welcoming atmosphere was conducive to breaking down barriers between schools
and class-years.

The next day began with bacon and eggs and other delicious breakfast options. It was bright and early
and everyone was eager to learn from the various speakers from across the country. Presentations
included “Advances in Dental Technology,” by Dr. Wayne Leonard, “Botox and Dentistry: Facial
Injectable Overview,” by Dr. Gigi Meinecke, “You Want to Run a Practice?,” by Dr. Shaun O’Neill, and a
new dentist panel which included Dr. Tricia Quartey, Dr. Kayla Roe, Dr. Shaun O’Neil, and Dr. Steven

The pre-dental students had the opportunity to listen to the main speakers and also had a
separate breakout session. There, they attended presentations about financing dental education,
navigating ASDA benefits, applying to dental schools, and participated in a hands-on exercise of waxing
up a tooth, a rite of passage that eventually every dental student goes through.
One of presentations that particularly stood out was the new dentist panel. Every new dentist on the
panel had a vastly different experience to share. For example, one started a practice in New York City,
another took employment in a dental service organization, one is an associate in a small private practice,
and another had already acquired three practices in Iowa. Some pearls of wisdom which stood out were:
1) ”The best advertisement is from word of mouth and this is how you will get most of your new
patients, so treat your patients right” 2) “Get better at endodontics and oral surgery because if you can’t
alleviate your patients pain, then they won’t be coming back” and finally 3) “Find a mentor, from a local
dental meeting for example, to greatly help you in starting your career.” There was also advice on how
to negotiate your first job offer, how to pay back loans, and how to start a practice. All of this is
information not taught in school, but is very relevant and useful to the average dental student.

After the general session was finished, the evening social activities began. The first event was the
cocktail hour hosted by Heartland Dental, followed by dinner and an awards ceremony. The final event,
hosted by Pacific Dental, took place at the water park. The waterpark had massive slides; the scariest
was a 60ft drop called the “Screaming Hyena” where you are locked into a pod and without warning the
floor beneath you disappears. Some of the slides were large enough to go down in a raft with three
other people. The waterpark also featured a split indoor/outdoor hot tub which was very relaxing. After
the night was over, students woke up the next day to checkout and bring back the wonderful memories
of that weekend home with them.