A Word from Past President, Dr. Arthur J. Nowak, DMD

Posted: 7/27/2015

During my tenure as American Board of Pediatric Dentistry (ABPD) Executive Director from 2002 to 2012, I had the opportunity to work with a very talented and energetic Headquarters staff and many cooperative Board of Directors. Having served as ABPD Director (1984-1990) and Chairman (1991), I was disappointed with the small number of pediatric dentists (~19% of eligible pediatric dentists) that were pursuing certification in the specialty even though the number of newly trained pediatric dentists was increasing yearly. Surveys reported that Board certification had little meaning to pediatric dentists and the difficult and time intensive certification process outweighed any benefits. It was with that in mind that I accepted the opportunity and challenge to be the Executive Director in 2002 to act as a catalyst for change and create a stronger pediatric dentistry community.

Now that I look back at those ten years and even though many structural changes were made to the certifying process to enhance the candidate’s experience, what had really changed was the culture of the specialty. Pediatric dentists, especially the newly trained, recognized that certification was not only a personal accomplishment but also a significant indicator of the growth and health of their specialty.

When organizational culture is strong, members do things because they believe it is the right thing to do. When the culture of the organization is healthy, productivity, growth and efficiency are increased and counterproductive behavior and attitudes are reduced.

All of this was made possible because of the Boards shared vision and values with our sponsoring organization, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. It was very exciting to be involved with ABPD during the cultural and behavioral changes. We are now a stronger community as measured by the large number of pediatric dentists who are now Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.

Arthur J. Nowak - Board Certified in 1971

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