The 2024 AAO House of Delegates (HOD) met May 3 and May 6 in New Orleans, in conjunction with the 2024 Annual Session. A new video in the “Board Buzz” series, featuring Drs. Enrique Cruz, Anil Idiculla, Trista Felty and Kaitrin Kramer offers insight into key HOD actions, including some of those described below:

● Advancing a Sustainability Initiative
The AAO will prioritize sustainability and waste reduction options for orthodontic practices, beginning with an AAO Business Development Committee investigation of the feasibility of recycling aligners. If appropriate, the AAO will establish and promote an aligner recycling program for members, only utilizing a company that has been vetted as a legitimate provider of aligner recycling services.

The Council on Orthodontic Practice (COOP) proposed the sustainability resolution to the HOD after researching recycling possibilities and with the goal of enabling members to recycle plastic materials in a simple, cost-effective and HIPAA-compliant manner. 

● Funding Established for AAO Tech Transformation
The HOD approved a $3 million allocation to expand the Infrastructure and Technology Reserve Fund and support the AAO Tech Transformation.

The transformation will involve extensive upgrading of all AAO technologies through which members obtain information and access resources – to significantly enhance the ease, speed and relevance of the process of getting the content you want and to improve operational efficiencies of the AAO. This is an enterprise-wide, multi-year initiative that touches all resources and member benefits.

● HOD Sets 2024-25 Member Dues
The HOD set full member dues for U.S. Active Members at $817 for Fiscal Year 2024-25, a rate unchanged since 2022-23. Reduced amounts apply for Active Members in their first four years post-residency, Canadian Active Members and Active Academic Members. International Member dues are also reduced, based on Active Member dues, and amounts vary according to geographic location.

● Task Force to Study Constituent Merger and Assimilation
An AAO task force will examine the impact of the proposed merger of the Southern Association of Orthodontists and the Southwestern Society of Orthodontists.

In 2021, the organizations submitted a formal merger request. In response, the HOD passed a resolution allowing the merger, but with a prohibition of formal recognition of the new constituent by the AAO until more than 50% of the current constituents have merged and the House has approved formal recognition.

No other constituents have announced any intentions of merging since 2021. The 2024 HOD called for the task force to explore remaining questions about the merger process for SAO and SWSO. The task force will address how to support the merged constituent, how to allocate or select trustees, council and committee members from the merged constituent and how to assimilate the new constituent under the AAO bylaws.

● Full-time Faculty Teaching Fellowship Program Transition to AAO Foundation  
The AAO Full-time Faculty Teaching Fellowship (FFTF) Award Program will continue to be funded by the AAO, up to $540,000 for three, two-year funded Fellowships to be awarded in each of FY25, FY26, and FY27, as needed.

The HOD also adopted a second resolution to reclassify $1.8 million of AAO undesignated net assets as an AAOFFTFA Special Purpose/Program Support Fund, the principal of which is to remain with the AAO until the end of FY26-27. The AAO Foundation will undertake a three-year fundraising initiative to raise $1.8 million to match the AAO’s commitment.

Upon the successful completion of the fundraising initiative, the AAOF will receive a transfer of funds from the AAO and use the combined funds to support the faculty fellowship program in the future. In Fall 2023, the AAO Board gave a Council on Orthodontic Education committee approval to work with AAOF to transition the FFTF program to the Foundation to ensure perpetuity of the much-needed program.

The FFTF program has demonstrated effectiveness in enhancing the retention of full-time orthodontic faculty members with 28/32 (87.5%), from 2008-2020, remaining in orthodontic academia. Past recipients include 10 current orthodontic department chairs/heads and nine program directors. Most recipients have given back to the AAO by serving on AAO committees and councils, and/or speaking at AAO meetings.

For additional details on the above actions and the status of all proposed resolutions considered by the House of Delegates, access the 2024 HOD Resolutions chart.