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AAO Members Helping Members: Stories of Our Time of Challenge

After Dr. Steve Huber’s Passing, Friends Cover His Practice
When Dr. Steve Huber of Jefferson City, Missouri died on April 3 after contracting COVID-19, his family had to say good-bye to their husband and father. His patients lost their orthodontist; and his community lost a revered philanthropic leader. Dr. Kelly Toombs of suburban Kansas City lost his nearly lifelong best friend.

“Steve and I became friends in dental school at the University of Missouri – Kansas City,” says Dr. Toombs. Over more than three decades following, the two remained close, supporting each other as they established orthodontic practices. Dr. Huber was a godfather to one of Dr. Toombs’ daughters.

Dr. Toombs had set up an email program for his practice to stay in touch with patients during the weeks that the office was closed, and he did the same for Dr. Huber’s practice after his death. He also stayed in close touch with Dr. Huber’s staff and helped them prepare for reopening while also preparing his own practice to reopen.

Dr. Huber’s practice reopened on May 22 and Dr. Toombs was there treating patients, as he has been once a week since then. He coordinated scheduling with other orthodontist friends of Dr. Huber’s from throughout Missouri who also wanted to help provide coverage for his practice.

“I was concerned that it would be challenging to find people to cover Dr. Huber’s office during a time when everyone else was reopening their own offices,” says Dr. Toombs. “We had an amazing response, though, with 12 orthodontists volunteering to help. We have not even had to utilize everyone who volunteered. The group includes two semi-retired orthodontists, Dr. Scott Robinson of Columbia and Dr. Steve Harrison of Rolla, who are there often. Dr. Jackie Miller of Washington and her partner, Dr. Kevin Walde are also filling in frequently.”

Dr. Toombs says that an offer to purchase Dr. Huber’s practice has been accepted. In June, the new doctor was planning to be at the practice starting in July.

“Until then, we will take care of everything,” says Dr. Toombs.

Dr. John Monticello Helps Friend’s Son with Dental Emergency 
Dr. Eric Dellinger has offices in the northeastern Indiana towns of Angola and Kendallville. Dr. Dellinger recently found a Great Lakes Association of Orthodontists colleague, Dr. John Monticello of Grand Rapids, Michigan, very helpful in a family emergency:

Dr. Dellinger reports, “My son Austin moved to Grand Rapids to attend art school in 2012 and decided to stay there after graduation because he loves Michigan. After the COVID-19 shutdown began, Austin cracked a molar in half and called me in excruciating pain. When I called Dr. Monticello for help, he immediately got my son into an oral surgeon who took excellent care of him. Our friends in the AAO and GLAO are always kind and helpful, but Dr. Monticello’s graciousness was exceptional. Thanks to John and his staff for helping my family in a time of need!”

Dr. Doug Depew Makes Free Webinars Available to the Specialty
To help colleagues address the challenges stemming from COVID-19, Dr. Doug Depew, founder of AAO-endorsed staff training provider Trapezio, made a series of free webinars available to all orthodontists. The webinars, addressing financial concerns, crisis management, OSHA topics, virtual exams, marketing and team communication, continue to be available via the Trapezio education page.

Virtual Annual Session Presenters Donated Their Services as Speakers
Members who gave lectures during AAO 2020: A Virtual Experience provided their preparation and presentation time at no cost. If you missed the event, you may still purchase USB/web access or access presentations via Online Lectures. (Please note that CE is available only with the latter option.)

Members presenting during the virtual meeting included:

Practice Management:
– Dr. Kyle Fagala (This One Time… at Brand Camp: Building a Brand That Keeps People Talking)
– Dr. Donna Galante (Modern Customer Service: What Do Patients Really Want?)
– Dr. Neal Kravitz (What I Wish I Knew Sooner)

Clinical:
– Dr. Silvia Allegrini (The Clinical Side of Two-phase Treatments)
– Dr. Elie Amm (Solving the Catch-22 of the Agenesis 12-22)
– Dr. Flavia Artese (Expanding the Lower Arch: Is it Really a Forbidden Frontier?)
– Dr. Mary Burns (The Role of Orthodontics in Early Diagnosis and Intervention of Sleep Disordered Breathing)
– Dr. Chris Chang (TAD Mechanics for Fixed Appliances and Aligners)
– Dr. Jack Fisher (The Questions: Anatomy or Analysis? Is CBCT Changing Our Specialty? Are We Professionals or Providers?)
– Dr. Liwia Minch (Interdisciplinary Treatment: Fashion or a Must?)
– Dr. Mazyar Moshiri (5 Important Considerations to Achieve Predictable Outcomes with Clear Aligner Therapy)
– Dr. Jae Hyun Park (Vertical Control with TADs: Etiology and Treatment of Anterior Open Bite and Relapse)
– Dr. P. Emile Rossouw (Stability: Is it an Elusive Goal?)
– Dr. Nikhilesh Vaid (C”LOUD” and CLEAR!)