The Theme of the Year

headshot of president
Leigh Jacopetti-Kondraski, DMD

Every PAGD Presidency seems to have a “theme.” Unfortunately, mine was COVID-19. Early on, I joked that COVID concerns would die down when my presidency ended, and yet, here we are. We already have a year of this behind us, our enhanced PPE is normal now, and we are finally able to see light at the end of the tunnel.

This year has challenged us in many ways. It has also shown how resilient we are as people and as a profession. Surely, we can pick apart the situation in our reflections, but all in all, we are surviving, many are back to thriving, and that is not something that all can say after facing the pandemic.

For many, COVID slowed life down. For me, it made life evermore chaotic, but for the good of those I have served, I am grateful for the opportunity to have acted as PAGD President during this time. As with any organization or activity, the more involved you are, the more aware you are, and quite often, the more benefit and satisfaction you gain. I can honestly say that I am proud of PAGD and AGD, their leaders, and of all we accomplished during this past year. We were thrown quite the curveball and somehow managed to stay in the game.

“I am proud to have served the time with such a great group of volunteers and look forward to continuing to serve PAGD and AGD going forward. To everyone on the Executive Committee and to our Board of Directors, thank you. It’s often a thankless position, but I would like to acknowledge you and your efforts.”

As a firm believer in the importance and purpose of organized dentistry, only those directly involved can understand the true impact our organization had on dentistry during this time. To those who were involved, I thank you. To those who were not directly involved, but supported us, even if through kind words of encouragement, it helped to keep us going. To those who offered criticisms, know that we did our absolute best given the knowledge and influences that we had. We appreciate the motivation and considered the viewpoints of those other than ourselves on a regular basis.

On social media, people tend to come down hard on organized dentistry and have done so particularly during this time. That said, I would like to point out that other than Steve, we are a volunteer-run organization. What many don’t realize is those involved and those volunteering their time and leadership are just like you. They lead busy lives, have families, and run practices, and yet, they dedicate a significant portion of their time to this organization which serves and supports our fellow dental professionals. PAGD’s work allows us to worry a bit less knowing someone has our best interest as dentists in heart and in mind. Our leaders learn on the job, but we share common goals and concerns with our members, and this drives the work that we do. We work hard and tirelessly to serve, and I hope that your continued membership will allow PAGD to continue to serve Pennsylvania general dentists for many years to come.

This year, no doubt, forced me to grow. It tested my limits. I am proud to have served the time with such a great group of volunteers and look forward to continuing to serve PAGD and AGD going forward. To everyone on the Executive Committee and to our Board of Directors, thank you. It’s often a thankless position, but I would like to acknowledge you and your efforts. It was not an easy year to be in any position of leadership. (Ironically, this is how I began my very first article.)

I have always been of the mindset that if I wanted things to change, I needed to step up and create those changes. This was how I initially became involved with organized dentistry. While 2020/21 was a year of survival for us all, it further demonstrated to me the wonderful purpose of organized dentistry and showed the influence of our unified voices. If you have not considered volunteering your time in some fashion before, I advise you to do so. Dentistry is ever changing. We have new challenges to face year after year, and we need dedicated and selfless volunteers to continue our missions and efforts.

I want to thank Steve, although thanks will never quite be enough for all he has done for our organization. He helped this organization in more ways than I can list during such times of uncertainty and helped us to provide valuable benefits to our members during this time.

I look forward to being back together, in person, once again at our Annual Meeting in May. We have so much to celebrate, namely, our survival during this past year as people, as providers, and as an organization.

May God continue to bless you all,

Leigh Jacopetti-Kondraski, DMD
President, PAGD

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