President’s Message


How’s the weather 10 years later?

Hello MDHA members, retired members, new graduates and non-members.

Ten years have passed since I last submitted an article as the President of MDHA. Much has happened, much has changed. As a matter of fact, I believe 10 years ago you would have gotten this newsletter article in paper. Oh, the glory days. I also am an empty nester.  Yep, not a spring chick anymore.  My children are grown, Kennedy age 28 and the boys are 19 and soon to be 21.  All are gainfully employed and productive adults (although one is not the best roommate).

That accomplished, I thought I could provide time for our profession again. I am as invigorated as I was ten years ago and also much less intimidated and frightened of serving as President.  Leadership is something that has never come easy for me, but as I have aged, I have become more confident. Confident I know my strengths and weaknesses.  Confident in the foundation of the organization. Confident that when we combine passion with actions, we can get results.

The year started with a tornado of activity right away with the topic of facial esthetics (botulinum toxin and dermal filler) services being provided by dental hygienists and dentists. This has been a topic of interest on social media nationally and among Montana dental hygienists via direct correspondence with MDHA leadership. And truthfully, the topic has not been easy to navigate. Legal, ethical, esthetics and therapeutic are all terms that have created a dust storm of unknown debris. One thing is for sure, this will be a continued item of interest based on consumer interest in these services.  Oh, the winds.

As the Board of Trustees focus on the organization, the forecast for MDHA 2022-2023 is to focus on operational excellence, primarily through improved communication. In each strategic direction, support, advocate and strengthen, communication is the foundation. Our strategic plan looks like a checklist of accountability and we are hoping to complete projects that will improve membership engagement and improve satisfaction among volunteer leaders. One big project is to transition to a shared, cloud-based filing system to improve efficiency, collaboration and succession planning. We are hoping to look so much like a cool front that others want to join us!  As a leader I am hoping to improve satisfaction among our volunteers through training, and (yep, you guessed it) communication.

On other fronts, the 2023 legislative session looks to be busy with revisions to Department of Labor and Industry Licensing Bureau laws. This can be credited to the Red Tape Reduction Initiative coming from the Governor’s Office.  The proposed drafts will become proposed legislation after public comments are wrapped up and the documents are finalized by DLI staff.  So, what is in this massive undertaking, you ask? If the existing proposals pass, improved efficiency and greater authority in licensing decisions by DLI licensing staff.  The existing draft on Board Consistency proposes to reduce the number of members on the Board of Dentistry from 10 to 8, removing one dentist and one public member.  It would also provide less opportunities for conflict of interest in public members. One public member currently serving on the BOD would be disqualified from service if the draft public member qualifications pass, as he is the father of an active dentist. I am anticipating the DLI proposals will have a significant amount of testimony during the session. I hope you will be able to join us in January for Lobby Day at the Capitol or listen to Advocacy meetings scheduled during November and December to prepare for the session.

The last time I served as President we celebrated the 50th year of the organization.  This year will be a celebration of the 60th. Here’s to 60 years of MDHA.

Yours for 2022-2023 –Tonette Hollingsworth

MDHA President