Innovator Profile 2015: Chicago Dental Society

June 25, 2015

Q&A with George R. Zehak, DDS, President-elect, Chicago Dental Society

Q&A with George R. Zehak, DDS, President-elect, Chicago Dental Society

Q: Congratulations to the Chicago Dental Society on celebrating the 150th Midwinter Meeting this past February. How has the CDS changed with the times to ensure the best opportunities for its members?
A.
We are very proud of our heritage. In the past 150 years, we have evolved with the times and will continue to do so. Our commitment to maintain the highest levels of support to the dental profession enables us to deliver the best opportunities for individuals to learn so they may provide the best treatment available. We never forget the extreme importance of camaraderie among all.

CDS is able to evolve with the times, stay relevant and develop leadership-all to provide the highest quality for the public we serve. CDS remains an advocate at all levels of dentistry.

Related reading: DPR coverage of CDS 2015

Q. The Midwinter Meeting is a “must-go” show for virtually everyone in the dental industry. What changes have you made and will continue to make to keep the show fresh?
A.
It’s wonderful to hear you say the Midwinter Meeting is a “must-go” show. Fresh is our middle name as we recognize the world is changing faster than ever, and we must keep up with the changes to survive. In a world where all of the shows are starting to look alike, we are going to have many new features this year.

First of all, every year, exhibitors from all over the world come to our meeting to show new products, equipment and techniques so dentists, staff, labs and the entire dental industry can learn how to make the dental practice better, more productive and easier.   

Secondly, we will have not only many well-known speakers but also some new speakers you may not have heard of-some presenting in languages other than English.

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Q. With all of the online opportunities for education, how does the Midwinter Meeting continue to stay so relevant?
A.
There are so many things online education cannot do. Coming from a background of both taking many continuing education courses and giving them, I recognized early that one obtains much better knowledge, information and background from being face-to-face with an expert. In dentistry, one has to physically try things and try them with someone there to show them the right, or better, way to use the product, equipment or technique and avoid learning the hard or incorrect way that will wind up costing you financially.

Furthermore, it has been proven that learning in a fun, exciting environment like the Midwinter Meeting with your fellow colleagues and friends creates knowledge that lasts. Networking also works much better face-to-face. We are always adding new ways to connect, like our New Dentists Reception, and promise other fresh ideas at the 2016 Midwinter Meeting.

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Q. Of course, there is more to CDS than just the Midwinter Meeting. Talk about some of the happenings with the CDS Foundation.   
A.
Watching the CDS Foundation evolve has been very gratifying. The CDS Foundation continues to evolve and also operates a thriving dental clinic in Wheaton, Ill. We receive major volunteer support from various CDS members and branches and other dental groups.

The CDS Foundation is constantly working hard planning and running events to help support its efforts, like its annual Wine and Roses event. It makes me proud to see dentists willing to give their time, talent and money to make the foundation work and continue to grow and make a difference in the Chicagoland area.

Q. What are some of the goals for the CDS as you begin to plan for 2016 and beyond?
A.
It is important to have short- and long-term goals-while none of us can look into a crystal ball, we need to be nimble and able to change quickly as the times demand it. While this article doesn’t have time to cover all of my goals, I will give you the Cliff Notes’ version.  

CDS’s goal is to respond to everyone’s needs-the young dentist, the mid-career dentist and the dentist in the later years of practice-as well as those of our important supporting cast-office staff, assistants, hygienists, lab technicians and dental trade vendors and manufacturers. We are all one, diverse family, and we at CDS keep that in mind.

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My short- and long-term goals are to address what’s important to each one. And the only way we are going to help different groups is to reach out and get people on the same page. I do believe the old saying, “united we stand and divided we fall” so I intend to bring more of our dental profession into organized dentistry.

As for goals for Midwinter, I will address the needs of attendees locally and nationally. The world has gotten much smaller, and we need to bring people in from all over the world not only to learn from them but also to trade products and ideas.   

We also must not forget our students and young members who are our future. CDS has existed for 150 years thanks to generations of brilliant, hardworking members and leadership.  

More importantly, CDS will continue to address the needs of the public we serve. That’s the reason for our profession and our organization. As time moves on, CDS will continue to be a strong, key player as it evolves with the times. That is the beauty of CDS.

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CDS Midwinter Meeting
Come back to Chicago Feb. 25-27, 2016, for the 151st Midwinter Meeting. Hosted by the Chicago Dental Society, the meeting features three days of lectures, demonstrations and participation courses coinciding with three days of commercial exhibits-all under one roof in Chicago’s McCormick Place West Building.

The 2016 Midwinter Meeting App for smartphones and tablets will help attendees organize their Midwinter Meeting experience with ease. With the app, you can navigate 170,000 square feet of exhibit space and plot a route to any of more than 600 exhibitors; find handouts from more than 100 speakers presenting more than 200 courses of topics of interest to the whole dental team; and plan to participate in any of several networking opportunities, including the New Dentist Reception and the Friday Night concert event.

Registration begins Monday, Nov. 2, at www.cds.org. Find more information leading up to the meeting by following the Chicago Dental Society on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information on the 2015 Chicago Dental Society Midwinter Meeting, watch the video below:

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