The AAO will represent the specialty at the 2024 American School Counselor Association Annual Conference, July 13-16 in Kansas City, Missouri. This is the second consecutive year that the AAO has exhibited at the meeting, informing school counselors about orthodontic team opportunities that often include on-the-job training and do not require college degrees.

Based on member survey data, staffing concerns began impacting the orthodontic specialty as the COVID-19 pandemic began to subside during 2021-22. The AAO began developing team recruitment materials for practices and strategies to build awareness of the field, including the AAO’s participation in the ASCA meeting.

At the 2024 ASCA meeting, AAO Senior Continuing Education Specialist Michelle Ritterskamp will manage the AAO booth with Drs. Joe Moon and Jenna Behrents Walburn on hand to assist.

Sharing brochures and information with counselors visiting the booth will be six team members from the doctors’ practices:  Micah Knight, Jennifer Easley, Kenzie Elliott, Jenny Jackson, Marcia Thomas and Sarah Smith. The orthodontic practice members staffing the booth are all from the Kansas City area.

The AAO Orthodontic Staff Shortage Task Force, which developed the AAO’s response to the staff shortage including recruitment and training materials for use by member practices, reached its goals and was sunset by the House of Delegates. The task force’s long-term tasks were transitioned to a Council on Orthodontic Practice (COOP) sub-committee, chaired by Dr. Daniella Phillis of the Council.

The COOP subcommittee will review results from the current effort and continue to create new recruitment materials as the need arises.