For years, orthodontists have been able to give back to the profession and support research and education through the American Association of Orthodontists Foundation (AAOF). But in all that time, there was never a formal way for team members to give back financially to the profession and support its future.

That’s why speaker, trainer, and orthodontic consultant Rosemary Bray set out to create, through the AAOF, the Auxiliary Donations for Orthodontic Research and Education program, otherwise known as ADORE.

“I decided that before I ‘retire’ and walk away from 50 glorious years in a profession I love, I wanted to create a way for TEAM members to have some ‘skin in the game’ and show their love for the specialty and its future,” said Bray.

As orthodontic practice consultant and speaker Tina Byrne, of Byrne Consulting, puts it, ADORE is Bray’s legacy.

“For decades, Rosemary has shared her knowledge and passion for educating doctors and team members, all the while focusing on giving back to orthodontics. She has been a true inspiration for us all. She can’t help but think of ways to keep giving.”

“I have been a part of the AAO for many years,” added Bray. “I was honored to serve for 4 years on the board of the AAOF, as a non-doctor representative, and learned about donations and how critical it is to keep funds in reserve for grants, to pay professors, and to educate the students who are in school, both now and in the future. I want to be sure there is a specialty of orthodontics to treat my grandchildren down the road. Quality education is one sure way. My years ahead in ortho are now rather limited. After putting in 50 years already, if we don’t get this going now, then when?”

This sentiment is shared by fellow committee member, consultant, trainer, and speaker Joan Garbo, who first learned about the AAOF’s work in support of orthodontic research and education when she started her business in 1991. “I decided to become a donor to the AAOF and eventually was able to increase my donations as a corporate donor. I did this because I believe in giving back to the community that has so handsomely rewarded me both financially and experientially. I know I won’t be here forever, but I do want the profession to continue to thrive after I retire.”

Bray handpicked the 14 members of the committee that got ADORE up and running. “They are all people I personally and professionally admire, who have shown not only an interest in the profession, but a level of commitment above and beyond the norm. Each has a name that is known in the orthodontic community,” said Bray.

As Byrne puts it, collectively, the committee members, who share expertise in every aspect of orthodontic practice management, comprise several 100 years of contributions to the orthodontic industry. “We all share an overwhelming desire for ADORE to succeed and deliver in a multi-dimensional approach.”

The ADORE board acknowledges that team members are not going to be able to donate in the amounts their doctors have, nor should they, says Bray. “Any amount a team member can give to educate future doctors will be welcomed with open and grateful arms. Nothing will ever be published about amounts of donation, nor does it matter. The emotional commitment can—and should be—far greater than the financial one.”

While the ADORE program is specifically for team donations, the ADORE board hopes that doctors will support the ADORE program and their team members by matching their team members’ donations or by sponsoring fundraisers in their practice and then donating those funds to ADORE in their team’s name.

For those that donate through ADORE, the board plans to give them access to educational opportunities at AAO and component meetings, as well as a badge ribbon and/or pin to wear at all orthodontic meetings to show others that “they have made a statement about how much they ADORE their profession and that it is more than merely a job—it is a career,” says Bray. Although still under development, the board also hopes to offer webinars to ADORE members to help them with their career development.

“There are many who ask, ‘What’s in it for me?’ Although ADORE is about giving to education and research, it is my hope consultants, such as myself, and those in leadership positions involved with ADORE will ‘give of themselves’ by providing educational and team building perks for ADORE members,” said Byrne.

Information about ADORE can be found on the AAO webpage as well as on the ADORE Facebook page. In addition, ADORE will have a booth in the Staff Program Area at the AAO Annual Session in Los Angeles, manned by members of the ADORE committee. There, the ADORE members will be available to answer questions and accept donations of any amount. There will also be opportunities for team attendees to enter drawings for prizes donated by vendors in the exhibit hall.

As Garbo puts it, “ADORE really stands for our own love for orthodontics and our commitment to insuring it continues to thrive and is able to continue its
progress.” OP