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South African Dental Journal

On-line version ISSN 0375-1562
Print version ISSN 0011-8516

S. Afr. dent. j. vol.69 n.10 Johannesburg Nov. 2014




SADA Communique



M Smit



And so, with a blink of an eye, we come to the end of yet another year. There is tinsel in the shop windows and expressions of extreme exhaustion are juxtaposed with excitement about holiday plans and hope for next year

November is, perhaps, a bit early to take stock of the year, but as this is the last edition of the Journal for 2014, it is also an opportune time to reflect on the membership year that was. And what a roller-coaster ride it has been for the Association and the profession at large ,,, from the heights of success with the Certificate of Need to the depths of despair with defeat in the case against compulsory registration of dental assistants

We've set out this year to stabilise our new governance structures so that we could focus our energies on designing more effective strategies and on faster execution in order to deliver value to the profession. I'm pleased to report that, on the whole, we've succeeded. Our governing bodies are trained with succession strategies in place, our policies are documented and implemented, our business processes are in place, our staff are motivated and our branch operations are almost fully integrated into the national business model.

SADA, as an organisation, has finally developed the organisational rhythm required to deliver an effective and responsive service to our members. For now...... because, as am writing this, we are already in the process of defining the next layer of change required to ensure that we stay ahead of the curve, and don't fall into the trap of complacency

This second layer of change is, however, the more exciting, and fortunately the less controversial phase. While we've focused on building the optimal governance and organisational foundations for SADA during the past years, the next phase will focus on the development of value proposition to facilitate the sustainability of Dentistry in our country: doing more with less, empowering practices and creating a sustainable funding environment for Dentistry.

One of the significant changes that we have to make in the New Year relates to this most esteemed journal. After long deliberation, and as result of the extended postal strikes and the cost of printing and postage, it has been decided that, in company with an increasing number of professional publications, it is time for the SADJ to move Online. Clearly, this move marks the end of yet another era and it is not without a significant leve of nostalgia that I break this news to our readership

The benefits brought by electronic publication do, however far outweigh the disadvantages. Cost aside, the delivery of an online publication is just much more reliable as it is not dependent on the (failing) postal services. In addition, open access to the Journal on the SADA website (ie not only in the member section of the site), will build the SADA brand and reputation in the public domain and potentially bring more citations of articles published. This is a significant benefit to our members in academic institutions, who are our valuable channel partners in training for the profession and bringing new members to the Association. CPD acquired through SADJ questionnaires will, however, still reside in the members' section of the website and thus will remain available only to SADA members.

On a more strategic level, the work during the next year will focus extensively on positioning the Dental Profession in the context of health reform and transformational change on the macro-economic level. Readiness for change in our membership is, historically, hesitant, as change is generally perceived as a threat. But readiness comes with understanding and knowledge, and it is our job to build this into our organization I look forward to expanding on some of the specific projects within our long term business plan early in 2015

For now, in this, the last printed edition of the South African Dental Journal, I wish you a successful year-end, a restful holiday and endless energy to sustain you through 2015