Pathways to Fellowship In the early 1920s the founding fathers of our International College of Dentists, Louis Ottofy and Tsurukichi Okumura, realized that there was a disparity in the availability of quality continuing dental education. Those dentists in smaller countries and remote locations had difficulty staying abreast of emerging technologies in dentistry. They decided a new organization was needed for dentists to meet and exchange dental knowledge and thus our College was born. Our most knowledgeable and talented fellows were asked to “network” to disseminate the most current information to their colleagues. Some have said, “We enlisted the best to educate the rest.” The process of selecting persons for the “network” led to the College’s “invitation” process in identifying candidates for fellowship in ICD.
In those early years it was natural to look to dentists in Academia. In the beginning, many recruited for the “network” were members of Federation Dentaire Internationale, were established international speakers and dental school faculty members. They were easy to identify because they had a history of “meritorious service” and “distinguished achievement to the profession and the public worldwide”, two characteristics which remain in our College Mission to this day. Academicians still represent a large share of our Fellowship, but there are many other Pathways to Fellowship.
The one element that all the Pathways have in common is leadership. When considering an invitation to Fellowship, leadership or leadership potential is always part of the equation. It pervades all human activities. Each of us is drawn to some activity, service, institution or segment of human endeavor.
It is easy to identify some of these: Military or Uniformed Services leadership – we have many high ranking officers in our midst who have provided wonderful College service; Organized Dentistry leadership – many fellows have served in their local, state and national dental organizations and distinguished themselves; Dental Specialty leadership – some of us have provided leadership to one of the several specialty groups; Community leadership – some have chosen to become involved on school boards, local civic organizations, leadership in their religious institutions; Government leadership at all levels – local, state and national A USA Fellow is now serving in the US House of Representatives; Youth and Human Service Agencies leadership – many of us have been a Boy Scout leader or volunteered as a dental leader for a homeless shelter.
There are many individual Pathways to Fellowship, but the easiest to identify is a candidate who excels in more than one. A final category should be mentioned. It is sometimes harder to identify, but it represents a special form of leadership and that is Mentorship – whether a true mentor or a role model to others.. I have personally known a number of individuals like this in my lifetime. They are the natural leaders who often lead by example and by their personal involvement. They are highly ethical, possess a certain charisma and are generous with their time and talent. They work hard and seem to be involved in everything. They are the ones people choose to befriend and emulate. They are ideal candidates for ICD Fellowship as well.
So be on the lookout for all these types of people. I often have said, “Out there in your community is a colleague who is almost as talented as you are, nearly as involved and probably just as deserving as you were.” So please take the time to sponsor that colleague for the Honor of Fellowship that you once received. Someone took the time to sponsor you, so please return the favor.
This and that … The International College is much like a person. We have one body but many parts. The body is the College at Large and the Sections/Districts, the Regions and the individual Fellows are the many parts – yet all are part of the whole. All must work together for total health of the person or the ICD.
Charles L. Siroky, International President
Downloads: Presidential Notes March 2011 (PDF format 76 KB )