Each year, the Massachusetts Dental Society, in cooperation with the dental societies of Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, hosts the Yankee Dental Congress (YDC).
The exhibit floor showcased innovative products, technology and services, as well as the finest educational courses in dentistry. Courses are offered not only to dentists, but to students, hygienists, technicians and other office staff.
For the third time, the IPPF Boston Support Group (BSG) provided an educational table at YDC using a modified version of last year’s pop-up display provided by the generosity of Burt Gordon.
The group knew from previous years that many people walked by scanning the name at the top of the booth and stopped only when they recognized the name or message. This lead to the thought that what was being sold at the table was knowledge — or rather awareness of pemphigus and pemphigoid — with the IPPF being the source of knowledge. The BSG hoisted a banner with the words Boston Area Support Group Raising Awareness without specifying awareness of what. The idea, put forward by Burt, was to arouse curiosity, draw visitors over and give a chance for the Support Group to discuss pemphigus and pemphigoid and to distribute hand-outs to those interested. The IPPF sent brochures for dental offices and newsletters to help spread the word.
Alan Papert asked Legal Sea Foods, a restaurant near the convention center, to hold a fundraiser in support of the table. Unfortunately, due to the tough economy, they had no budget for sponsorships this year. Instead, Legal Sea Foods gave a $59 gift certificate to raffle. Business cards were collected and the lucky winner was Jessica McMullin of Hartford, Connecticut. A donation collection box was placed close to the card collection box. Few people shared their business cards so we will brainstorm about how to engage visitors better.
The BSG members did find a contact with the Boston University Goldman School of Dentistry where they can volunteer in the classrooms to show dentists-in-training real examples for diagnosing the diseases. Educating and informing front line dental health professionals improves diagnoses times.
Because of the current financial crisis, dentists are not shopping for new equipment so the exhibition had more empty spaces in the hall and less pedestrian traffic. Unfortunately, this resulted in fewer visitors to the table than was expected, but we learned a lot and made more people aware!