The AAO House of Delegates met virtually on May 1, adopting a proposal aimed at diversifying the perspectives and expertise of those in senior leadership.

The HOD approved up to three at-large trustees to be added to the AAO Board of Trustees. The at-large trustees were to be selected based on demographic diversity or expertise and become voting Board members. Each at-large trustee will serve for a term of up to three years.

The initiative is part of an ongoing effort reflecting the call for inclusivity within the AAO Strategic Plan. Related efforts by the AAO that focus on aiding emerging leaders in acquiring skills, knowledge and tools useful for advancement in leadership include:

● The annual Leadership Development Conference for emerging leaders;
● The online Leadership Network, a comprehensive resource for constituent and component leaders, also available to the entire AAO membership.

Offering some comic relief to members during this challenging time, AAO President Dr. Christopher Roberts began his statement on the at-large trustee appointments with humorous remarks:

“Our Board was already diverse – we had men with graying hair, we had men with thinning hair, and we had men with both!” said Dr. Roberts. “Seriously, however, while everyone on the Board has a different background, we lacked the diversity seen in our membership today. That includes factors such as age and gender, but also mode of practice. By including different demographics on the Board, we can better understand the needs of our entire membership.”

The AAO Executive Department will assist with onboarding of the at-large trustees as they receive their Board assignments from Dr. Roberts..

“The at-large trustees will hit the ground running,” said Dr. Roberts. “They will have high-profile committee assignments where they will be able to make a difference immediately. They will take part in every aspect of service to our members, as do all of our trustees. We are all very excited about bringing in new Board members with a broad range of ideas reflecting those of our general membership, which we believe will help us better serve our members in a rapidly changing world.”

Drs. Dale Anne Featheringham and Alex Thomas Selected to Join the Board

The AAO welcomes the two newly selected at-large trustees to the Board: Dr. Dale Anne Featheringham of Dublin, Ohio and Dr. Alex Thomas of Greer, South Carolina.

Dr. Featheringham is in practice with Smile Doctors Braces in Wooster, Ohio. She completed the orthodontic residency program at Ohio State University.

Active in organized dentistry and orthodontics throughout her career, Dr. Featheringham is a past president of the Great Lakes Association of Orthodontists and also served as the GLAO delegation chair to the AAO House of Delegates. She is also a past president of the Ohio Association of Orthodontists and is the current Chair of the AAO Council on Governmental Affairs (COGA).

Dr. Thomas is in practice with Nease & Higginbotham Orthodontics in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She earned her dental degree at the Medical University of South Carolina, graduating second in her class.

While completing the orthodontic residency program at the University of Michigan, Dr. Thomas served as Co-chair of the Graduate Orthodontic Resident Program (GORP), an annual meeting for U.S. and Canadian orthodontic residents. She was also the Resident Director on the AAO Foundation Board of Directors.

Dr. Thomas’ thesis research at the University of Michigan focused on the study of four well-known 3D printer models, providing comparisons of accuracy and precision. She was interviewed on this topic and provided comments for the April 2020 Practice Management Bulletin feature on 3D printing.