It was with great consternation that I read Dr. Hugh F. Doherty`s editorial, "Shame on Them," in your October 1995 issue. Dr. Doherty has spiced his article with words that give an incorrect impression to those who may not be fully informed as to the facts concerning the AGD`s dropping of the ADA-membership requirement.
The overwhelming majority of AGD members also are ADA members and staunchly support the ADA. Many of us work tirelessly for the ADA on a constituent and component level. To say that the action of dedicated and conscientious individuals was "frivolous" is unfair and demeaning. This action had been deliberated for several years; numerous studies were undertaken to determine the reason why young dentists were not already joining the ADA.
More than 42 percent of the graduating dental class were not joining the ADA. This lack of interest in the ADA had nothing to do with the AGD. These studies were reported to the ADA`s Council on Membership in early 1994. The ADA did not give this information to their delegates to the ADA House, which met in New Orleans in October 1994. Those delegates were, instead, given limited information upon which they could make only an uninformed decision. This lack of action by the ADA then led to the AGD bringing to its House the resolution that the oral and maxillofacial surgeons (AAMOS) already had in place; i.e., dropping the ADA-membership requirement.
The closed ballot was requested because AGD delegates were being harassed by ADA component and constituent officers. There were outright threats that, if the AGD passed this resolution, that individuals who voted for it and were active in both organizations would be disenfranchised within the ADA tripartite structure. It should not be lost sight of that a secret ballot is considered important enough that it is guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, so that individuals can vote their conscience without fear of recriminations.
I urge Dr. Doherty that, before he takes the space that had heretofore been used for valuable, practical clinical information, he research his facts. I also would urge all of my colleagues to support two great dental organizations, the AGD and the ADA.
Jay S. Orlikoff, DDS, FAGD