An inspirational giant of dentistry and a friend is gone. Dr. Jack Kammer passed away on May 13, surrounded by his family. The combination of a love of art and his compassion for people led Jack to a career in dentistry, where he especially enjoyed giving his patients great-looking smiles. When he wanted to share this new area of dentistry with other dentists, he founded the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and served as its president for the first three years.
He began to think about the future of cosmetic dentistry and where it was headed. He thought there should be an organization that educated all dentists — both neophytes and expert practitioners — about the rapidly evolving field of cosmetic dentistry.
It is interesting to know why he felt that cosmetic dentistry needed an organization to guide it in its formative years. First of all, Jack felt that it would skyrocket due to the advancement of “space-age” materials, tools, and techniques that have impacted this segment of dentistry. He ran the AACD from a treatment room in his office in Madison, Wis., for the first eight years of its existence.
As the Academy grew, so did the need for more space to house the growing staff in its own building. This year, the AACD moved into yet another new office in downtown Madison.
I first met Jack not long after I became the editor of Dental Ecomonics® at the AACD meeting in Vancouver, B.C. I met him in the registration area where he was busy taking candid photos of everyone. I thought to myself: “Now here is a man who knows how to be a leader!” No job was too small to escape Jack’s attention.
Jack was proud of the celebration of his 50th year in dentistry and of his induction into the AACD Hall of Fame at a recent meeting. He was also proud of the fact that the Academy is now nearly 8,000 members strong, practicing in more than 70 countries.
He felt that by educating dentists in the art and science of cosmetic dentistry, the AACD has changed the lives of literally millions of people around the world. Jack always was at his best when performing dentistry. With programs like “Give Back a Smile” and the impact the AACD has already made on the public, he felt that the Academy was alive and well.
Madison residents may best remember Dr. Jack as the guy who sponsored the University Avenue Holiday Lights year after year. This cherished tradition began when he generously planted 228 arborvitae trees along Doctors Park railroad tracks. Once they were tall enough, he decorated them with colorful lights as a gift for all of Madison to enjoy.
Left to honor his memory and remember his love are his wife of 60 years, Lois, and his children, Barbara, Christian (a dentist who continues to search for innovative ways to treat his patients), Julie, and Steven.
I traveled to Las Vegas for the Discus Extravaganza. It was a great meeting with lots of great speakers, many interesting exhibits, delicious food, and a wonderful venue. Tom Brokaw was a keynote speaker, and he called on us to remember the values of the Greatest Generation to help us solve the problems in our country today. It was a very practical and inspiring presentation.
Here it is July already! This is a good month to re-examine those goals you set in December or January to see how you are doing, and to make strategic shifts in your action plan to reach those goals. I would also recommend that you examine your vision. Are you really all you want to be? Vision is what helps you to become the you that you want to be. How can you possibly get there if you don’t have the end in mind? I urge you to get away by yourself and let your mind explore the impossible. Dream the impossible dream ... and then find a way to fulfill it!
I am writing this while returning from Virginia Beach, where I attended the meeting of the Academy of Dental CPAs. This is an interesting group of CPAs whose clients are 75% dentists. I am flattered to have been asked to serve on the academy’s advisory board. I heard some very interesting presentations on accounting and dental subjects.
Is your CPA a member? These people are really up on tax matters that affect dentists. I came away with a new respect for what these dedicated individuals do. God bless them all!
Joe Blaes, DDS, Editor — e-mail: [email protected]
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