2018 was an eventful, exciting year for the AAO.  In addition to a new CEO and new strategic plan, there was plenty of positive change seen as a result of the AAO’s ongoing advocacy efforts.   2018 also saw the continued success of the AAO’s consumer awareness program.  Below is a list of 18 wins the AAO and its members can celebrate in 2018.

  1. At the federal level, the AAO continued to lobby for positive change. As a result of these efforts, the House passed the Medical Device Tax repeal and key elements of RAISE Act.
  2. The AAO’s State/Component Legal Support Fund had wins in Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, New Hampshire, Washington, and Georgia.
  3. The AAOPAC contributed over $605,000 to candidates in the 2018 mid-term elections. 107 of the 141 we contributed to, won…for a 76% total winning percentage.
  4. There were 5.6 million visitors to the AAO consumer website in 2018, generating more than 64,000 uses of the Find an Orthodontist locator.
  5. A video ad from the AAO’s new “That Feeling When…” social media campaign went viral. The ten-second video was seen over 2.6 million times, generating over 660,000 engagements and driving over 400,000 visitors to the AAO consumer website.
  6.  AAO launched an online Parents Guide to Orthodontics. With nearly 500,000 visitors to the guide, readers spent an average of 14 minutes on the page.  An Adults’ Guide to Orthodontics was also recently announced.
  7. The AAO’s Council on Communications partnered with Buzzfeed to produce this video, encouraging consumers to see a real orthodontist.
  8. Lynne Thomas Gordon joined the AAO as CEO.
  9. The 2018 Annual Session in D.C. was a tremendous success with 17,414 attendees.
  10.  A new Annual Session feature for members who were unable to attend allowed them to livestream two lectures from the doctors’ scientific program and earn CE.
  11.  The 2018 AAO/AAPD Joint Winter Conference was the highest attended since 2012.
  12. The AAO adopted a new strategic plan, which includes the AAO’s new mission: to advance our members’ success through education, advocacy and research that drive excellence in patient care.
  13.  Members can now report non-orthodontists advertising as orthodontists.
  14. 72 orthodontic residents were appointed as AAO Resident Champions, serving as liaisons between their peers and the AAO.
  15.  Enhanced websites for AAO members and consumers were launched, featuring a new look and improved functionality.
  16. The AAO launched a “Questions to Consider When Researching Direct-to-Consumer Orthodontic Companies” web page on the consumer site, as well as a flier to download.
  17. The AAO reinstated the Faculty Fellowship Awards to stimulate interest in academic careers among today’s young orthodontists and offset the pending retirement of large numbers of faculty members.
  18. The AAO launched all-new career resources to support members in all stages, including a Career Center platform, Career Path Resources, practice modalities comparison tool and checklists.

While this isn’t all we accomplished in 2018, we are excited to share these brief highlights, and continue supporting the orthodontic specialty in 2019 and beyond.