Listening and learning from the very best in the world

Dr Roger Macias

2019 General Chair of the Committee on Annual Meetings from the American Dental Association.

How is the scientific programme structured? How do you prioritize topics and speakers for an international audience?

In the process of creating a great meeting, we directed our committee to take into account the requirements of the main players in this collaboration, namely, the ADA, FDI, and the California Dental Association. The programmes were selected by reviewing hundreds of abstracts from ADA Councils, California Dental Requirements, FDI and the ADA. This was a laborious but satisfying process in which we looked at subject matter, content, context, relevance, speaker credentials and past history of speaking engagements. Once this information was culled, we were then able to create a structure based on Science, Technology, Practice Management, Wellness, Hot Topics, Dental Assisting Track, Dental Hygiene track, as well as other subject matter.

Prioritizing topics for education for such a diverse group of dental recipients began during our meeting with our FDI Continuing Education Committee counterparts this past May in Iowa City, Iowa. Once we recognized those subjects and speakers that were at the forefront of the FDI requirements, we worked with both FDI and ADA staff to make that happen.

How do you keep the scientific programme relevant and engaging at a time when many continuing education courses can be completed remotely?

Remote learning is very much a challenge that must be dealt with when putting together any dental meeting. The very fact that any education is available at your fingertips via your smartphone or tablet requires creating an outstanding learning environment in a great city, such as San Francisco! You may be able to learn from your smartphone or tablet, but there is much to be said about learning environments that lend themselves to face-to-face interactions. One thing that is difficult to measure, but which is certainly satisfying, is networking with other dentists.

Attending a dental meeting allows participants to engage with others one-on-one or in group settings in order to collaborate. Sometimes I think that online options, while convenient, limit the scope of learning. This is very evident when it comes to workshops and “hands-on” courses. I can certainly learn from a video, but when I can “feel” that composite in my hand, that’s where real learning can begin!


Tell us about a specific session(s) that you are particularly looking forward to.

I’ve been involved in dental meeting planning for over 14 years. I’ve seen new products exhibited, new techniques shown, and technology changing at a pace like I have never witnessed before. The learning that occurs at meetings such as the ADA FDI World Dental Congress is extremely remarkable! We have speakers that I know very well and others that I have only heard of or read about. I hold a great interest in dental sleep medicine, implants, and bonded anterior restorations. Because of that, I am excited that we have with us some of the leading authorities in these very fields. As a general dentist, my interests, other than the ones I just described, are varied.

I am truly excited to see some of the great FDI speakers that will be presenting on a plethora of awesome titles! From enhanced aesthetics, to the management of furcation defects, the expertise brought by the FDI speakers will be met with anticipation of listening and learning from the very best in the world!


I am so excited to be part of the leadership of this meeting in San Francisco! It will truly be a meeting not to be missed!

As the legendary singer Tony Bennett says in his classic song I Left My Heart in San Francisco:
“When I come home to you, San Francisco
Your golden sun, will shine for me!”

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