Dear Illinois dental hygienists,
Let me start with some background information about me. I went to Harper College for dental hygiene and graduated in 2010. I received my baccalaureate at National Louis University in Healthcare Leadership. I am still working in clinical hygiene and still work in the same office since I graduated.
I became involved with IDHA after I met Becky Bunge at a health fair. She was planning to start a hy-pac for Illinois and for some reason, she decided I would be a good addition. I do not know what she was thinking but that is how I became one of the founding members of ILHy-PAC.
But maybe Becky was on to something because hy-pac piqued my interest in getting more involved with the association. From hy-pac, I moved on to become more involved in my component, Lake/McHenry. I have been a trustee and a finance committee chair at the component level. I have also been on various committees like the access to care and website. And this past year, I have served as your president elect. In other words, I have a lot of experience with the association.
I have seen the ups and downs with IDHA during my involvement, but we continue to fight for our fellow hygienists and lift each other up while we do it. We have gained some great momentum and important changes this year with Sherri, and I would like it to continue.
Our ADHA president, Dr. Sharlee Burch’s theme is “Forward Together”. My thought is that we need to “Come Together” first before we can move forward together. There are 3 things I want to focus on this year to help us come together.
1. Diversity and inclusion. We took a step forward in the right direction today by adopting policies that address this. We also voted in a diverse executive council. Most importantly, let’s just be kind to each other. We do not know anyone’s history, and we all come with our own unique story, no matter what color we are. I want our association to reflect that, too.
2. In order to come together and strong leaders, we need strong leadership. I want us to invest in leadership development. Leadership development will strengthen and help the association grow.
3. And lastly, I want to focus on membership engagement. Yesterday, Jasmin Haley talked about how we all want to belong. That is how I want all our members to feel. I want them to feel like they are welcomed their association. Dental hygienists talk about finding their dental home. Well, I want them to feel like they have found their dental hygiene home or tribe with us.
Lastly, I want to remind everyone that this is the beginning of a new year or term for IDHA. I want everyone to start with a clean slate. We do not know everyone’s full history, and we all come with our own unique story. We need to be kind to each other. We are here because we have a passion for dental hygiene and our association, so let’s come together and keep moving the association forward.
Lydia Park, R.D.H., B.S.
Your IDHA President 2021-2022
November 6, 2021