Next month during the American Dental Hygienists' Association Annual Session, the new presidency for the association will be put into place. We recently reached out to President Elect Matt Crespin to learn a bit more about him and what's the goals for the ADHA next year when he's president. Get to know him a bit more below!
Where you're from: I was born and raised in Douglas, AZ and moved to Milwaukee, WI to attend Marquette University and have lived in Wisconsin ever since graduation.
How long have you been a dental hygienist? Since 2002
What got you started in being a ADHA member and part of a leadership position? I started as an ADHA member when I was a student and quickly learned the various ways that ADHA could support me both as a student and that continued when I graduated and began working in the profession. I served as the president of my school's student chapter and have been involved in various ways throughout my entire career.
Your favorite part of being a dental hygienist? I love the preventive aspect of things. I also love the opportunities it has provided me in that I have worked in private practice, been an educator, worked as a policy advocate, and now work more in an administrative role in the world of public health. My background as an RDH has continually benefited me in all of these roles of the dental hygienist and I continue to find ways to improve oral health regardless of the role I'm in.
Any funny stories from practice? As a male I always had interesting reactions from patients when I would call them back as so many had never had a male dental hygienist. I always found it fun to joke around with them about their reaction and in time enjoyed developing long lasting provider / patient relationships with many of them in my time as a clinical practicing hygienist. One of my patients from when I worked in clinical practice is actually still my barber today and has been cutting my hair for almost 20 years!
Any advice for a new RDH grad? Stay engaged and find a mentor. When you are out of school find your local ADHA component and connect with people on a social level and find those that you can reach out with with professional questions when they arise. Never stop learning and take the phrase "that's not what I learned in school" out of your vocabulary because the science evolves as fast as you can imagine and it is important to stay up to date on the latest best practices and evidence based models.
What is your goal/focus for the association while your president? My goal will be to continue the focus of unity that has been set forward from the presidents before me. I think it is important that we represent hygienists from coast to coast and my sincere hope that we are able to implement programs developed as a result of our research this past year in our member engagement work and find new and innovative ways to support dental hygienists throughout their careers and engage more of them in the work we do.
If someone is interested in leadership, how should they start? Find a mentor, don't over commit and find something you enjoy. Reach out to your local and state leaders and serve on a committee or volunteer for a task.