Inside Dentistry
April 2006
Volume 2, Issue 3

AACS Helps its Own

Hugh Flax, DDS

Chairman, Disaster Relief Fund— American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry—Madison, Wisconsin

Imagine losing your home. Imagine losing your office and future income. Imagine losing some of your family and friends. Imagine losing the culture you grew up with...

On August 29, 2005, all of that happened in my old hometown of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast. Katrina was definitely no lady! Hurricanes never are. Neither was Rita or Wilma just a few weeks later. Without a doubt, this was one of the worst natural disaster cycles in US history. The suffering has been well documented and the sorrow that the world felt was omnipresent and inescapable.

American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) members in the areas hit hard by Katrina and Rita do not have to close their eyes and imagine. For them, the devastation of their lives has been too real. The AACD has always been more than an association, we are a family. And now the AACD Family is trying to help.

Since November 2005, the Academy has raised almost $80,000 in disaster relief funds, with all of the funds fully distributed by the Disaster Relief Committee to many dental professionals affected by the storms. Because many practices are still waiting for insurance companies to reimburse the cost of rebuilding, the AACD relief funds have been very helpful. Furthermore, the AACD has also waived the annual dues for members who have had their lives turned upside down by these vicious natural disasters.

Dr. Kevin Verrett was affected by the storm and appreciates the AACD's efforts. “The AACD has been a great help in my road to recovering from this disaster. With the help of the Academy and its generous members, I was able to purchase essential instruments to get back to part time work 3 to 4 weeks after the storm. Getting back to dentistry was a big step to emotional recovery.”

The burden placed on these lives has been beyond belief. Many practices are still trying to rebuild from the effects of mold, torn rooftops, slow contractors, and lack of patient flow. Their families have had to deal with displacement, difficult living conditions, and educational disarray for their children.

“My friend who is an orthodontist has loaned me a satellite office three days a week to resume my practice until I can rebuild my office. The AACD is constantly checking on my progress and offering every thing possible to assist me,” says Dr. Verrett.

Our colleagues still need our help. Realizing that members and nonmembers have different circumstances, and aware that most people have already given generously to relief efforts, 4 levels of giving were established. People may donate at any level with which they feel comfortable.

Truly, every contribution helps a colleague put his or her life back together. Now is your chance to step up and help. Contributors will be recognized and 100% of your contribution will go to AACD members recovering from disasters.

The AACD has filed a request with the Internal Revenue Service to add this relief to the Foundation’s charitable purposes, and make donations tax deductible.

A disaster of this type could happen to any of us. The AACD is not only concerned with cosmetic dentistry, it is about camaraderie and compassion. We are concerned with people improving their lives. Please help your fellow colleagues through this crisis.

“It really feels good to know how such a fine organization takes care of its members. The support from the AACD staff, officers, and members has been very inspiring and motivational,” says Dr. Verrett.

To make a donation, please send a check to:

If you can provide employment, housing, materials, or any other type of direct assistance to your colleagues, please send an e-mail to pr@aacd.com, and your offer will be posted on our Web page.

Before and after photos of Dr. Kevin Verrett's practice are just one example of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The AACD is raising funds to help affected dentists rebuild their practices and their lives.

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