“Create Your Future”: A Preview into the CDS 2024 Midwinter Meeting with President David Lewis Jr

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Dental Products Report editor Kellie Nock had a 1-on-1 discussion with Dr Lewis on what to look forward to at the Chicago Dental Society’s 2024 Midwinter Meeting.

Editor Kellie Nock had a discussion with Chicago Dental Society President David Lewis Jr, DDS, about all the different offerings that will be available at the 2024 Midwinter Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. The meeting will take place from February 22 – February 24 at McCormick place, with a variety of workshops, programs, an exhibit show floor, and more.

The following is an abridged Q&A pulled from the video above.

Kellie Nock: Can you tell me a little bit about the importance of the Chicago Dental Society Midwinter Meeting for dental professionals?

David Lewis Jr: Sure. The Midwinter Meeting is important for dental professionals, based on the fact that it’s certainly one of the top 3 dental meetings in the country if not the world. It’s also one of the top 20 meetings in Chicago, Illinois.

I’ve attended Midwinter Meetings since I graduated from dental school which is eons ago in 1981. I have not made it to every Midwinter Meeting, but I attend them because probably, for me, number one is that it’s right in my own backyard. It’s easy to access. I can get all the continuing education (CE) that I need at these meetings relative to the form of CE that it offers.

This is the 159th Midwinter Meeting that’s coming up in 2024. I think the CDS also feels a responsibility to our members, and to the fact that our vision statement is that we are the respected leader in continuing dental education. So our focus is really on the CE, and the level of CE that we present to the profession, and trying to give it the other aspects, updates that the exhibit floor can give to practitioners as far as new equipment and supplies, having everything under 1 roof. The CE, again, we have 638 hours of CE that we offer, that you have to pick from.

We also have the potential for networking. It’s bringing together people from across the country, across the Midwest, all age groups, to attend the meeting, and they can share ideas at will. It’s also a great place to bring team members because, again, team members experience going through CE as well as the exhibit floor and having the opportunity to network and bring things back to the office that they’re going to use the next day or the next week when they get back to work.

KN: What are the focus areas for 2024’s meeting? Are there any important themes or key topics?

DL: Technically, we no longer have a theme as our focus is trying to promote our brand, the Midwinter Meeting. But in the process of going through this transition I had to have, I was thinking of a theme. Mine went back to a quote from Abraham Lincoln, “That the best way to predict the future is to create it.” So, my unofficial theme was “Create your Future at the Midwinter Meeting.”

There are so many different ways with the CE, access to the exhibit floor for new products and techniques, and also the networking, that you can build your future through these different aspects of the meeting. But again, going back to picking up other points that maybe they don't cover or don't cover as heavily or for your staff. I think the Midwinter Meeting is still a great way to get to get all your CE that you need or sprinkle it in to add the spice to these other programs that you're engaging with.

KN: Can you tell me a little bit about the various programs?

DL: Program wise we have 143 speakers of which 50 are new speakers. We’re always trying to get newer people cycled in with our meeting, as well as what we consider our tried and true speakers that always carry a great message.

Right now we have 495 exhibitors who have registered to attend. And 65 of those exhibitors are new exhibitors to the Midwinter Meeting. So again, we're going to get these exhibitors from across the country and the world. And again, we're trying to engage in cycling new exhibitors and new speakers through our program to try to keep it up to date as well as interesting for people may have attended it for many years.

KN: And what are some of the workshops that will be present at this year’s meeting?

DL: The workshops range from CPR radiology, oral surgery, local anesthesia, implants, perio instrumentation, ultrasonics, fabrication of provisionals, digital dentistry, composite veneers, veneers, crown lengthening, intraoral photography, pediatric dentistry, bone regeneration with periodontics, endodontics, removable prosthetics, and some microscope-assisted procedures which is a newer first time we've had it in our program as far as the speakers and program.

We heard from hygienist that maybe they weren't getting enough scientific information. So we've reached out to certainly the periodontists who are speaking and tried to really make more programs, topical for hygienists….We also reached out to oral pathologists. Those are 2 areas that we really we tried to try to focus. That doesn't mean we were ignoring the other areas because we have plenty for dental assistants, plenty for front desk. Also for practice transitions, business aspects of dentistry. And then we had an area where we wanted to expand a little was into physical therapy.

For a full list of speakers mentioned in the video portion of this interview, visit the CDS’s website here.

KN: It seems like there’s a really nice variety of programs that people from all over the dental practice can take advantage of. Are there any specific networking events or opportunities that you’re excited about this year?

DL: We're going to have an early career/new dentists program. It's a reception that's going to be on Friday afternoon. So we encourage new dentists to sign up for that to come back, see the people you haven't seen for a little while, and compare notes.

We also have a dental student reception on Friday also that will be on the exhibit floor. We had over 500 last year attending from the various dental schools that come in for the meeting. We also have as our keynote session on Thursday afternoon, Chicago Public TV host Geoffrey Baer, who's going to be speaking about Chicago History and Chicago architecture to get a little break in the afternoon. And then likewise on the exhibit floor on Friday. We have what's going to be called Sips, Suds, and Sales so pretty alliterative enunciation there, but that'll be on Friday afternoon as well. So you can take some time, relax, have a glass of wine or a beer while you walk around, and visit the exhibitors and see what offerings they have that are unique to that particular timeframe, which is 3:15pm CST to 5:15pm CST on Friday.

Also on the show floor, we will have yoga for Midwinter Mindfulness. A local dentist and member, Dr Cristian Pavel, and his wife, Dr Danielle Cascioli, are going to be offering a yoga session on the exhibit floor, Thursday and Friday around noon.

KN: So how can the whole dental team benefit from attending the 2024 Midwinter Meeting?

DL: I practiced for 39 years, and I retired clinically in 2020, July of 2020. And devoted myself to doing this with our Dental Society. That was kind of my closing act, I guess you'd call it. But doing that after 39 years of practice 36 in the same office, it gives you an opportunity to take a break, kind of walk away from what you're doing. And ask yourself, well, we've been doing the same thing, is it working? Is it not working? What else can we learn together? Or what else can the areas in an office that you’d say, “Well, I've got a person I really trust, I'd like for them to take care of these tasks,” to go out and find something new or that's makes your life easier and more productive and allows you to treat a patient you know, more efficiently to a higher level of quality. And you're able to bring those back and then talk about them.

Or the nice part about [it being in] Chicago, if it's in your own backyard, you already know where the restaurants are, you can go out and plan an evening with your staff. Just get together and talk it over. If you're coming from out of town. You try out these new places, even when you do at night. So you've tried to unwind. Have that discussion with your staff, and network with any other friends that you might only see at the Midwinter Meeting and pick their brains for you know, who did you hear? What ideas did you get? It sets you up for sessions of networking, even after you get home. As most speakers will give you contact information. If you have any questions that you want to follow up with that you maybe you couldn't, because you're either very busy trying to get from lecture to exhibit floor to social function, but allows you a lot of opportunity, I think to get the whole team excited about new concepts, and reworking maybe some of the things you're doing in the office for the future.

KN: Are there any virtual or remote options for clinicians who may be unable to attend?

DL: We really haven't gone back to any kind of hybrid showing virtual meetings. We found that most of the attendees and the exhibitors really preferred the in-person meetings. Because we feel that you get more value out of the in-person attendance. You can see the exhibit floor, you can touch the items. You can the kick the wheels, as it were. And when you hear a speaker talk about products, in most cases, you can find them on that exhibit floor. And you may want to do a comparison where you go from one exhibitor to another just to try their products and say, “Well, is this one pano better for me than the other one I've been using for 3 years.”

Plus, there's the networking that you start to miss out on if you’re not there. You're not only networking with your colleagues and your staff, you're also networking with exhibitors. And oftentimes, if there are groups that you provide your services and your supplies, they help supply you with information as well that they learn at the show, based on the exhibit products that there's no selling. So we haven't gone there with that. We have some regional meetings that we've done, virtually to kind of get a balance for those who want to stay at home, but not at the Midwinter at this point.

KN: Is there anything that you’re really looking forward to with the 2024 Midwinter Meeting?

DL: I always enjoyed the CE, and that's where I started with. And I could sit there for 3 days and get in a car and drive from the suburbs downtown, which I know a lot of people don't like to do. But I could go through that and do that. I enjoyed what I could learn in those in those 3 days.

I also enjoyed the fact that you see a lot of people that are leaders not only in our organization, but other organizations, we get several organizations outside of our state, that scout our meeting. So we're always hearing our own networking is talking about, you know, what is your organization doing with their meeting, any ideas. And likewise, you get to see people from some of the 9 branches of the CDS. Mostly we tend to stay within our own branch, but you get to see people and meet people from the other 8 branches that you might never have met if you didn't volunteer to, you know, serve and work at the midwinter meeting.

So for me that’s what makes it a great opportunity. I personally like the energy of it. It's like when the stock market opens on Thursday and the bell rings. It's like, all hands on deck. The adrenaline goes up another notch. You just walk real fast for about 3 days and hope your brain can keep up with it.

To learn more about the 2024 CDS Chicago Midwinter Meeting, visit the website here. Registration numbers mentioned in the interview are subject to change and are not indicative of the final count. Registration for the 2024 Meeting is open now, and available here.

About President Lewis
David Lewis Jr, DDS, President of the Chicago Dental Society. Image credit: © The Chicago Dental Society

David Lewis Jr, DDS, President of the Chicago Dental Society. Image credit: © The Chicago Dental Society

David Lewis Jr, DDS, has been actively involved with CDS throughout much of his more than 30-year career in dentistry and has held multiple leadership positions with CDS and the CDS North Suburban Branch. In addition to his leadership roles with CDS, Dr Lewis has served as a member and Delegate for both the American Dental Association (ADA) and Illinois State Dental Society (ISDS) and is also a member of the American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists.
Dr Lewis has served as an Instructor in the Department of Comprehensive Oral Health Care at the University of Illinois College of Dentistry and as an Attending Clinician at the Illinois Masonic Medical Center Department of Dentistry, where he served in the Homebound Program and Special Patient Care Program. He has also held various positions throughout his tenure as a member of the Rotary Club of Glenview Sunrise, including as President. Dr Lewis obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, earned his dental degree from the University of Illinois College of Dentistry, and completed his Dental General Practice Residency in Hospital Dentistry and Special Patient Care at the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

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