Nonpracticing dentists or those with a dental degree lacking a U.S. license will be eligible to become members of the American Dental Association starting in January 2008, according to a resolution passed by The House of Delegates last month.
This move affects policymakers, government officials, dental industry representatives, dentists in the insurance industry, dentists in the corporate world, researchers, educators, and deans of dental schools.
"The ADA is committed to being the umbrella organization for the dental profession, and we can now offer a place in our organization to dentists who are valuable to and involved in the profession who in the past were not able to be dentist members," said Dr. Pamela Z. Baldassarre, chair of the ADA Council on Membership in a press release.
She used Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) as an example of a nonpracticing dentist who could be a valuable addition to the ADA.
"Congressman Simpson is a dentist by training but left dentistry for Washington and no longer holds a license. Dentists like Mike Simpson are involved in careers where there is no need to hold a license, yet they are influencing the way we practice dentistry," she said in the same release.
Nonpracticing members will pay half the dues, receive The Journal of the American Dental Association, can attend the ADA annual session, be elected to councils, but will not hold an ADA office.
The last new membership category approved by the ADA was the active life membership category, in 1991.