Establishing and Organizing a Local Chapter

Students and members of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry can form local chapters. The Association encourages local chapters as a means of advancing its mission, increasing membership and preparing individuals for leadership roles on the national level. The following guide provides information on the process of forming chapters.

Why Go Local?

The American Association of Public Health Dentistry is an effective national organization which delivers a range of benefits to members. There are many things that can be accomplished on a local level much more effectively. Local chapters serve as a venue for members to get together, exchange views, and attend continuing education courses and social activities. Local chapters can regularly interact in a local community to provide programs or activities that directly impact the oral health. And, most importantly, a local organization is aware of and sensitive to the needs that are unique to every community. For these reasons, the creation of a local chapter would make sense and provide value to oral health professionals.

What You Need To Get Started

Starting a chapter is not a difficult process, but it is a process which requires commitment. It requires oral health professionals who agree with the AAPHD's mission and wish to take a proactive role accomplishing the mission Without this commitment an effective chapter cannot exist.

Steps in getting started

Contact the national association. Inform the Executive Director that you are interested in forming a local chapter of the AAPHD. The AAPHD will provide a list of AAPHD members in your community or metropolitan area. (Professional chapters only)

  1. Get two or three people who share your enthusiasm and goals to assist you in the creation of the local chapter. These members may be the founding officers of the new chapter.
  2. Contact local AAPHD members and students. This can be done by telephone or by mail, however, the Association recommends that you first identify individuals or members you already know. Contact them and ask them to participate in the formation of the new chapter.
  3. Decide upon a structure.
    • The Officers.
      What officers you will have and who they will be.(Recommended officers: President, Vice President, Treasurer.)
    • Dues.
      A chapter is not designed to make money, but you will need funds for organizing, events, meeting expenses and so forth. The Association will have guidelines for you to consider.
    • By-laws.
      Review the national chapter's by-laws. A sample set of local chapter by-laws is available for guidance.
    • The initial goals of the chapter.
      What do you want to accomplish for your first year? Develop your MISSION statement.
    • Set-up a system for record keeping and accounting.
      At a minimum you will need to track:
      • Member contact information
      • Dues received and owed
      • Expenses

What To Do, Once You Are Started

  1. Hold an organizing and recruiting meeting. Hold this in the evening at someone's house or office or a location on campus.  Serve refreshments. Invite everyone who may be interested. Include current members of the AAPHD and potential members. At the meeting be prepared to:
    • Sign up new members to both the local chapter and the national association.
    • Discuss the organization's mission and goals.
    • Disseminate a schedule of events, or to at least receive suggestions.
    • Recruit members for committees and specific activities.
    • Most importantly: Generate enthusiasm for the new local chapter.
  2. Secure a faculty advisor (for student chapters) and get a commitment from the university.
  3. Open your bank account. Student chapters will need to become recognized as a student organization by their college or university. Then a bank account may be set up through the school. If that is not an option, AAPHD staff will walk you through the process under the Association's policies.
  4. Designate a location (s) for your meetings. The location will depend upon the type of meetings you will be holding. Generally locations are easy to arrange, such as small meeting rooms at hotels or banquet rooms at a restaurant. For student chapters you may find locations within the University to hold meetings. These facilities are eager to host and cater professional meetings. Locations can include:
    • Officer's meetings: Restaurant, dental office, officer's house, library.
    • Educational meetings: Hotel, library.
    • Board meetings: Dental office or officer's home.
    • University facility
  5. Publish a schedule of events. Be sure to contact local oral health associations to place announcements in their journals or newsletters.

Activities

The chapter exists to do things. It is important the chapter has a mix of activities and a structure to its activities. This will entice membership as people may join for different reasons and it will bestow the professional creditability appropriate to a chapter of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry. Current chapters engage in the following activities:

  1. Continuing Education. Chapter may provide CE classes using the National Association's CE number. Contact the national AAPHD office for requirements and restrictions. Generally it is not difficult finding speakers and programs for a professional group. Dental specialists, financial experts and vendors are usually willing to provide presentations. Depending upon the venue, it is appropriate to charge a fee above and beyond membership dues for a continuing education session, especially if dinner is provided.
  2. Community Events. AAPHD local chapters may participate or organize:
    • Health Fairs
    • Free Clinics
    • Mentoring
  3. Social Events can encourage professional networking and provide organizational cohesiveness.
  4. Advocacy. The AAPHD national office will provide information and updates on issues the Association is working on.
  5. Organize job referral services.

Forms, Documents & Supplies

Any organization requires paper to function. Be prepared to develop or acquire the following forms.

  1. Membership application
  2. Certification of Membership
  3. Receipt books
  4. Flyers for events
  5. Newsletters or informational mailings
  6. Schedules of events
  7. Renewal notices
  8. Banner

Conclusion

Don't worry about doing everything right away. Organizations grow and develop. The important thing is to start. The American Association of Public Health Dentistry Membership Committee stands ready to assist any members in starting a local chapter. The AAPHD can connect members and facilitate the many tasks required.