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ADA New Dentist Committee

With student loans, consider options in repayment strategy

Dr. Timothy Oh

Dr. Timothy Oh

Dr. Timothy Oh, of Ellsworth, Maine, graduated from dental school in 2008 with over $300,000 in student debt — a mixture of federal and private loans from various lenders, along with an education loan acquired prior to dental school.

“I feel student loan debt is one of the most serious burdens facing today’s graduates,” said Dr. Oh, New Dentist Committee District 1 representative.

He received some help from the Finance Authority of Maine, a state-based financial aid program. He received $80,000 in loan assistance for treating patients at a nonprofit clinic in an underserved and rural area for four years.

“The grant enabled me to get started with my loans,” Dr. Oh said. “But I was still left with a six-figure loan.”

The average dental student in the class of 2014 left school with about $247,000 in student loan debt, according to the American Dental Education Association.

For new dentists seeking ways to ease the burden of staggering student loan debt, there are options — such as loan consolidation, refinancing and government base repayment programs — that are worthy of consideration as part of a repayment strategy. But like all major financial decisions, they come with advantages and drawbacks.

Consolidations vs. refinancing

Federal loan consolidation combines multiple government-sponsored loans into just one loan. It takes the weighted average interest rate of the loans being combined.

Refinancing is when a borrower applies for a loan under new terms, and uses that loan to pay off one or more existing student loans. Unlike consolidation, refinancing is only available from private lenders. Interest rates are not based on a weighted average of the existing loans’ rates. Instead, a private lender will typically use a borrower’s credit score and other financial information to provide a new interest rate on the consolidated loan.

Consolidation: Pros, cons

One good reason to consolidate federal loans is convenience: There is only one loan, one loan servicer, one payment and one place to file forms.

Dr. Oh consolidated a “batch” of his student loans to reduce the number of monthly checks he had to write. Consolidating federal loans also allows borrowers to convert former nondirect loans to direct loans. Only direct loans (Stafford, Grad PLUS and Federal Consolidation Loans borrowed through the federal government’s Direct Loan Program) are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Also, repayment terms may be extended to 30 years, which lowers monthly payments but adds to total repayment costs if it takes the full 30 years to repay.

Drawbacks in consolidating federal loans include a lengthy and cumbersome process (may take 60-90 days), potential for a slightly higher interest rate (interest rate on consolidation loans is a “weighted” rate of all loans being consolidated, rounded up an eighth of a percent then fixed for the life of the loan) and loss of grace periods on loans being consolidated if students consolidate too early.

Refinancing: Pros, cons

Even before graduating from dental school, Dr. Adam Shisler, a pediatric dentist in Houston, had decided to refinance his loans, about $241,000, all of which were Federal Stafford Loans.

Dr. Shisler

Dr. Shisler

In spring 2014, he began the application process to refinance his loans through SoFi, a peer-to-peer lender based in San Francisco. Refinancing can help borrowers pay lower interest rates on their student loans, thus saving thousands of dollars throughout the life of the loan, though it comes with some risks as well. Similar to taking out a mortgage, borrowers can choose between a fixed rate loan and a variable rate loan, or both.

Fixed rate loans typically have higher rates than variable rate student loans but will remain the same over the life of the loan. Variable rate student loans generally are lower but may change, including the risk of going up, on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

Dr. Shisler said he was approved for a five year, fixed rate loan in an accelerated repayment program, lowering his interest rate from 6.8 percent to 4.3 percent — saving him about $70,000 in interest.

However, there aren’t many lenders that will include federal loans as part of a refinancing plan. Dr. Shisler found only three to four other institutions that would refinance his loans.

As for disadvantages, graduates who refinance federal student loans will lose many of the benefits that come with federal loans, such as loan forgiveness and income-based repayment programs. If there is hardship, a dentist won’t be able to apply to defer monthly payments.

Federal, state loan repayment options

Federal and state programs offer student loan repayment assistance, often in exchange for services in a health care shortage area.

Federal options include programs sponsored by the Army, Navy, Air Force, Veteran Affairs, U.S. Public Health Service, National Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service and more. States have their own programs — such as the FAME program that Dr. Oh participated in — that are independent of the federal programs.

“(FAME) is a competitive program, with an extensive application and interview process,” said Dr. Oh.

In addition, many dental schools and advanced education programs may have financial assistance and loan repayment options. Contact your school’s financial aid office for more information.

Research and resources

Dr. Oh recommends that dentists conduct research before signing up for a repayment program. He is now considering refinancing as a next move.

“I just started talking to companies about refinancing and haven’t made a decision,” he said. “It’s sometimes too depressing to think about, but there are options that can help.”

In addition, Dr. Shisler said the most important thing a soon-to-be dental school graduate or new dentist can do before making any decisions is to go on a fact-finding mission on the status of their loans.

“They need to ask, ‘Where are all my loans from?’ ‘Are they subsidized, unsubsidized?’ ‘What are the interest rates for each of them?’ ‘What is their loan health?’” said Dr. Shisler. “Know your loans before applying because you’ll need that information in your application.”

For more information on consolidation and refinancing, visit the Center for Professional Success at Success.ADA.org and search for “Federal and State Loan Repayment Options.” You can also find information at ADA.org/student. ADEA also

has educational debt management materials at ADEA.org.

ISDS hosts annual new dentist education, networking event

The Illinois State Dental Society hosted its annual “The Event: Envision, Entice, Engage” on March 12 in Springfield, Illinois. The Event is designed to bring together new dentist leaders from across Illinois for education and networking.

New dentists also could meet with the ISDS Board of Trustees, which meets in conjunction with the Event.

Here are some photos from the event.

ISDS

Drs. Lauren Hood-Olson, Lindsey Yates (national NDC rep), Samantha Arnold, Kate Buskirk, Kylea Tibbs-Hnizdo take a group selfie during ISDS’ annual “The Event: Envision, Entice, Engage” event held March 23.

Drs. Lauren Hood-Olson, Lindsey Yates (national NDC rep), Samantha Arnold, Kate Buskirk, Kylea Tibbs-Hnizdo take a group selfie during ISDS’ annual “The Event: Envision, Entice, Engage” event held March 23.

Drs. Rebecca Testa, Mark Ryan, Kristin Tussing

Drs. Rebecca Testa, Mark Ryan, Kristin Tussing

(From left) Jessica Moon, her husband Dr. Brenden Moon (Illinois NDC chair), Dr. Hillarie Hudson and Dr. Sharon Molitoris.

(From left) Jessica Moon, her husband Dr. Brenden Moon (Illinois NDC chair), Dr. Hillarie Hudson and Dr. Sharon Molitoris.

Register for 2015 ADEA Dental Student Virtual Fair

Dental students interested in learning about what comes after graduation, and how to juggle residency applications, writing a resume, leadership and different types of dental careers, should register for the 2015 ADEA Student Virtual Fair.

The free, live, online event will be held 4-10 p.m. EST on April 2. To register, click here.

The 2015 ADEA Dental Student Virtual Fair is designed to give dental students free access to information and connect them with professionals from ADEA, dental specialties and dental companies who can answer their questions in real time.

In addition, two ADA New Dentist Committee representatives — Drs. Kendra Zappia and Jon Pascarella — will be participating in a panel presentation from 7-7:30 p.m. The ADA will also have a booth for attendees to visit.

All dental students are welcome to attend the event. Recent graduates interested in learning about different career options are also welcome to attend.

Students will be able to:

  • Log in to the event from any Internet connected device.
  • Speak directly with dental specialty program directors and association professionals, military recruiters and corporate sponsor exhibitors in live text chat rooms.
  • View presentations about financial aid, interviewing for residencies, ADEA PASS and much more.
  • Download and save resources from dental professionals to access after the live event.
  • Learn about the ADEA PASS application process.
  • Listen to a keynote presentation from the ADEA Chair of the Board, Dr. Lily Garcia.

For more information, including the exhibitor list and presentation lineup, click here.

Nominations sought for 2015 Golden Apple awards

Showcase your dental society or state association’s outstanding programs and initiatives, and the team behind each activity, by nominating them for the 2015 Golden Apple Award. Entries are submitted May 1 through June 1.

Golden AppleThe Golden Apple Awards program recognizes excellence in leadership and dental society activities and programs produced between June 1, 2014, and May 31.

Now in its 27th year, the Golden Apple Awards program has 14 entry categories, including two new categories: Excellence in Interprofessional Education; and Excellence in Interprofessional Relations.

In addition, the Outstanding Achievement in the Promotion of Dental Ethics has been renamed as the Dr. David H. McCarley Golden Apple Award for Excellence in the Promotion of Dental Ethics. It’s named after the late Dr. McCarley who served on the ADA Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs from 2008-12 and was a member of the Texas Dental Association’s Council on Constitution and Bylaws from 2006-14. He was the president of the Texas Dental Association at the time of his passing on Jan. 4.

Entries for a specific program or activity can be submitted in only one category. The categories are:

  • Legislative Achievement.
  • Excellence in Membership Recruitment and Retention Activity.
  • Excellence in Dental health Promotion to the Public.
  • Excellence in Member-Related Services/Benefits.
  • Outstanding Achievement in the Promotion of Dental Ethics.
  • Achievement in Dental School/Student Involvement in Organized Dentistry.
  • Excellence in Science Fair Program Support and Promotion.
  • Excellence in Dentist Well-Being Activities.
  • Excellence in Interprofessional Education.
  • Excellence in Interprofessional Relations
  • Open Category (where dental societies can enter innovative and successful programs that do not fit any other categories).
  • Excellence in Access to Dental Care Programs.
  • The Green Apple—Excellence in Environmentally Sustainable Programs and Education.
  • Outstanding Achievement in the Promotion of Diversity and Inclusion.

For more information on the categories and to download entry forms, visit ADA.org/GoldenApple.

ADA offers resources for new dentists, dental students

Recognizing that dental students and new dentists have different needs, the ADA offers a plethora of services, resources and benefits to help them succeed in their professional and personal lives.

“As dentist, we are professionals, and the ADA is our professional organization,” said Dr. Chris Hasty, vice-chair of the ADA New Dentist Committee. “I see the ADA as the lighthouse of dentistry, guiding our profession to a safe and ethical future, and steering us away from the dangers of outside entities.  As new dentists, we have our whole career ahead of us, and the ADA is here to help and see us prosper.”

Dental students and new dentists receive benefits all other members get, including travel benefits, health and wellness information, continuing education programs and access to care initiatives. However, certain ADA products and services are tailored to their needs.

Financial planning

CalculatorAdjusted for inflation, the average dental school debt for the class of 2000 was $118,515. For the class of 2013, it was $215,145, according to the annual ADEA Survey of Dental School Seniors. Now add in the cost of starting a practice, and it can get overwhelming.

The ADA provides dental students and new dentists with resources to help them stay on track for a bright financial future.

Provided by Wells Fargo Practice Finance, and developed with dentists in mind, the Center for Professional Success provides business planning calculators, including a debt load calculator, which can help new dentists and dental students determine how much they can responsibly afford to borrow for personal and business use. Other calculators available are the loan payment calculator, which estimates monthly loan payment. The loan term calculator helps dentists see how much faster they can pay off an existing loan by adding an additional fixed amount to their monthly payments.

For students seeking financial assistance, the ADA Foundation has a scholarship program for those pursuing careers in dentistry, dental hygiene, dental assisting and dental laboratory technology. The number of ADA Foundation scholarships awarded is dependent upon available annual funds. To learn more about the ADA Foundation scholarships, visit adafoundation.org/en/how-to-apply/education. The ADA also provides information on various federally funded scholarships.

In addition, the ADA provides information on dental student loan repayment programs and resources, including federal and state programs, that offer student loan repayment assistance, often in exchange for services in a health care shortage area. To learn more, visit ADA.org/student or request more information from studentaffairs@ada.org.

Understanding licensure

Understanding LicensureDental licensure marks the transition between dental school and dental practice. The ADA provides a free guide called Understanding Licensure, a resource to help guide dental students through the licensure experience.

The guide takes new dentists through the application process, preparing for the clinical exam, notification and appeals, licensure by credentials, etc.

To view the Understanding Licensure guide, click here.

Finding a job

The ADA CareerCenter is the official online job board of the ADA, a resource for searching dental career opportunities or recruiting dental professionals.

The resource allows professionals to search or post job opportunities for dentists, oral surgeons, orthodontists and other qualified professionals who specialize in dentistry. Visit the ADA CareerCenter.

Staying up-to-date

The ADA can also help new dentists and dental students stay current on the latest dentistry news as well as scientific findings and studies.

The Journal of the American Dental Association and the ADA News are free to members. These publications are available on ADA.org/publications, along with the ADA Dental Product Guide, the ADA Catalog and ADA E-Communications, which include the ADA Morning Huddle, a daily bulletin of the latest news complied exclusively for ADA members.

New Dentist NewsIn addition, new dentists and dental students receive the ADA New Dentist News, a quarterly publication distributed as an insert in the ADA News as a member resource. To read the latest ADA New Dentist News, click here.

In 2013, the ADA New Dentist Committee launched New Dentist Now, a blog where new dentists can keep up with their colleagues, stay fresh on issues in dentistry and find out about events.

For scientific findings and studies, new dentist and dental student members can access full-text articles online with instant access to over 280 journals through the ADA Library & Archives website. About 95 percent are strictly dental journals. The other 5 percent have medical-dental crossover. This includes in-house access to the New England Journal of Medicine articles going all the way back to 1812. To access the ADA Library & Archives online, click here.

Leadership and Advocacy

Comprising 17 members representing each of the ADA’s regional districts, the New Dentist Committee is a national committee of the ADA Board of Trustees. Its mission: To serve as the voice of the new dentist within the ADA. The committee advises the Board on member benefits and the member experience from a new dentist perspective, as well as, on policy affecting new dentists, among other things. Committee members also provide insight on the issues and needs of new dentists through their liaison roles on the other 11 ADA agencies.

The New Dentist Network engages new dentists, develops leaders and contributes to and influences resources that add member value. It has over 800 contacts and is comprised of new dentist committees and volunteers, ASDA leaders and society staff at all levels of the ADA.

In addition, the New Dentist Committee oversees and actively participates in the Success Dental Student Programs conducted in dental schools around the country. The Success Dental Student Programs provide the next generation of dentists with ethical and practice management information and valuable ADA resources for the transition from dental school to dental practice.

“As a new dentist it is important to be a member of the ADA because we are the future of Dentistry,” said Dr. Michael LeBlanc, New Dentist Committee chair. “In order to help set policy we must have a voice. No better place than the ADA to help set policy and the success of dentistry now and in the future.”

To get involved or for more information, call your state or local dental society, or contact the ADA New Dentist Committee office at newdentist@ada.org or 1-312-440-2386.

ASDA annual session in Boston

The American Student Dental Association held its Annual Session in Boston Feb. 18-21. More than 600 students attended the meeting to help advance the profession of dentistry and be more “ASDA Awesome.”

Highlights at the event include the business meeting of the House of Delegates, elections of ASDA national leaders, the Dental Expo, prominent speakers within dentistry addressing hot topics, and awards recognizing the achievements of ASDA chapters and members. The meeting concludes with a celebratory gala.

Students, new dentists and ADA leaders interacted throughout the meeting.

Dr. Carol Gomez Summerhays, ADA president-elect, poses with a University of the Pacific dental student at ASDA's annual session in Boston.

Dr. Carol Gomez Summerhays, ADA president-elect, poses with a University of the Pacific dental student at ASDA’s annual session in Boston.

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Drs. Dan Hammer (left) and Andrew Read-Fuller, new dentists and past ASDA leaders, engage students at the ASDA meeting.

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(From left) James J. Williamson, New Hampshire Dental Society executive director; Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, ADA first vice president; Dr. Carol Gomez Summerhays, ADA president-elect; Dr. Anthony Giamberardino, Massachusetts Dental Society president pose for a photo at ASDA’s annual session in Boston.

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Dr. Timothy Oh, New Dentist Committee District 1 representative and Maine Dental Association president, poses for a photo with student leaders from the University of New England College of Dental Medicine: (From left) Dzhuliya Servetnik, Ava Lindery and Katie Hunt.

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Dr. Jeffrery Cole, ADA Trustee of the Fourth District, (second from left), meets with dental students during ASDA’s annual session.

 

New Dentist Committee meets in Chicago

The New Dentist Committee held their first meeting of the year today at ADA Headquarters to discuss a variety of topics including NDC priorities, networking and leadership, engagement and outreach and new dentist issues.

The meeting, set to continue Jan. 31, also included a tour of the new ADA Video Studio, along with receiving reports from ADA staff on the ADA Strategic Plan, the Diversity and Inclusion Plan and dental school programs and strategies.

The Committee is an ADA volunteer agency comprised of 17 volunteers representing the ADA districts, serving four-year terms. All members must have graduated from dental school less than 10 years ago at his/her term start. The New Dentist Committee serves as the voice of the new dentist. As a committee of the Board, their primary purpose is to advise the Board of Trustees on matters relating to new dentists. They also review and advise the Board on member benefits and the member experience from a new dentist perspective as well as on policy affecting new dentists. The Board recently approved a charter for the New Dentist Committee that more clearly defines its responsibilities.

For more information on the New Dentist Committee, how to contact your representatives or to get involved, click here.

Here are some photos from their meeting during a strategic discussion on evaluating ADA member benefits:

(Left) Dr. Michael LeBlanc, NDC chair, and Dr. Chris Hasty, NDC vice-chair

(Left) Dr. Michael LeBlanc, NDC chair and District 12, and Dr. Chris Hasty, NDC vice-chair and District 5

Drs. Andrea Janik and Eric Childs

Drs. Andrea Janik, District 15, and Eric Childs, District 9

Dr. Martin Smallidge, District 4

Dr. Martin Smallidge, District 4

Dr. Lindsay Yates

Dr. Lindsay Yates

New Dentist Committee

 

NDC chair, vice chair present report at ADA Board of Trustees meeting

 

Dr. Chris Hasty (above), ADA New Dentist Committee vice chair, and Dr. Michael Leblanc, ADA New Dentist Committee chair, and Dr. Michael Leblanc (below), ADA New Dentist Committee chair presented the ADA New Dentist Committee report to the ADA Board of Trustees meeting today at the ADA Headquarters in Chicago. Their report included updates on various NDC programs, including outreach efforts and the New Dentist Conference to be held alongside ADA 2015 in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Chris Hasty (above), ADA New Dentist Committee vice chair, and Dr. Michael Leblanc, ADA New Dentist Committee chair, and Dr. Michael Leblanc (below), ADA New Dentist Committee chair presented the ADA New Dentist Committee report to the ADA Board of Trustees meeting today at the ADA Headquarters in Chicago. Their report included updates on various NDC programs, including outreach efforts and the New Dentist Conference to be held alongside ADA 2015 in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Leblanc

October issue of New Dentist News available online

The latest issue of the New Dentist News is now available online.

The October 2014 issue includes articles to help new dentists with marketing, finances and handling ethical dilemmas.

October 2014 New Dentist NewsInside this issue include:

  • Marketing snapshot — How one practice does it.
  • Marketing the dental practice: Know the rules.
  • Working with a marketing firm.
  • Advice from a lender: Be prepared before seeking a practice loan.
  • Tap the ADA Ethics Hotline for ethical dilemmas.

To read the New Dentist News, click here.

What tips have you learned when it comes to marketing your dental practice or yourself as a dentist?

2014 New Dentist Reception

New dentists around the country connected with their peers and enjoyed the big and bold Texas ambiance during the New Dentist Reception at the ADA 2014 – America’s Dental Meeting in San Antonio. The event was a time and place for new dentists and dental students to network, exchange ideas and enjoy the fun atmosphere, which included food, drinks and music.

Here are some photos from the event:

New Dentist Reception New Dentist Reception New Dentist Reception New Dentist Reception New Dentist Reception New Dentist Reception