Why is it important to become a member of the Washington Denturist Association if you are a licensed Denturist or studying to become one?
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The following article was written by Phil Harvey.
In 1980 the State of Arizona passed a law allowing Denturists to become certified and with a prescription from a Dentist, work directory with the patient. A 40 member association got the law passed and became the only certified Denturists in the state of Arizona. There was no school for future Denturists, no test, nothing. It was great for them, but it all went down hill from there. The state advisory board was controlled by those who were not in favor of the law. Since there was no schooling or testing set up, the number of Denturists could not be increased, hence they had no power in numbers, no real organization and no power to lobby. Today, there are still no state board approved schools for future Denturists in Arizona and only 11 certified Denturists left.
Washington state is one of the greatest states in which to practice Denturism. This could radically change in just one election cycle (2 yrs.). Political power can shift quickly without opposition. Without a strong Denturist organization and a good lobbyist we could end up like Arizona. The founders of the Washington Denturist Association (WDA) created an association designed to promote the profession of Denturism and preserve the current scope of practice by employing a lobbyist to fight for our cause in the state legislature. The members of the WDA provide a pool for future state board members which are sympathetic to our profession. The WDA also provides continuing education for Denturists. They are also monitoring the current educational program and will be aggressively seeking a good educational program that will produce well trained professionals as new Denturists.
I was living in Arizona in 1980. I was opening my own dental laboratory but because I was not part of the 40 people who set up the Denturism program I was not allowed to become a Denturist after the law was enacted. The Arizona Denturism law was basically an inside deal for those 40 people. It was not designed to promote our profession and today Denturism is dying in Arizona.
It is naive of any Denturist in the State of Washington to think they can survive in isolation. It is the political power of the Initiative that gave us our opportunity to practice in Washington state. Through organizing and working together we insure that we maintain this opportunity. It is to our advantage to maintain a strong organization andpromote schools to train future Denturists. We will someday want to retire and will need someone to buy our practices. Let’s work together to build our profession. The more we have in numbers the greater our power to influence the legislature and Washington state law. Let’s learn a lesson from Arizona.