President-Elect’s Message

Pilar Valderrama- pic I am writing this letter immediately after registering for the AAP meeting in Chicago. Every year, I feel excited about going to the annual meeting of the AAP and the semiannual meetings of the SWSP as if it was my first one. This year, I am going to the Academy meeting as the President of the SWSP, and I could not be prouder.

When I look back in my career history as a periodontist, I reflect about the impact this has had in my life. I remember how passionate my Perio faculty was about the regenerative therapies that were emerging at that time; they inspired me to be like one of them. I remember our passionate discussions about all the most recent publications and how this would improve the quality of life of our patients. After graduation, we got together in study clubs and discussed the most recent publications. We got involved one way or the other in education, academics or research and were actively involved in local, regional and national dental societies.

After practicing periodontics for 25 years, when I think about Perio, I feel the same passion as I did in the past. Interestingly, the reality is that every periodontist I know, feels the same about our profession. We share the interest about either saving teeth or about replacing them with implants, we are always looking for different approaches to do better for our patients and our referring dentists. All these statements are supported by the results of the surveys of the SWSP. We asked our members to prioritize the items of concerns for the profession and to themselves, as practitioners or academicians in the profession. They expressed their concern about the “eroding of the specialty” and about the quality of periodontal educational programs in dental schools. In response to these concerns, our society’s scientific committee – composed primarily of department chairs and residency program directors in the southwest region – works on strategies to address these issues. In order to promote science in Perio, the Prichard Prize subcommittee incentivizes the Perio residents in the region to submit and present unpublished results of scientific research at the Prichard Competition. This competition is the first event of the Winter Meeting, and several awards are granted each year in the clinical and basic sciences categories.

According to the survey, our members are always looking for ways to learn new techniques and ways to improve their practices. We are concerned about the quality and veracity of speakers available for periodontal CE and want to grow and continue to be experts among their dental peers, being taught properly and through evidence-based research in a “lifelong learning” mindset. To address this concern, our annual meetings committee is always looking for world-renowned speakers and cutting edge technology topics for our meetings. One of the highest scores that we obtain from our members is usually related to the excellent continuing education our society provides.

Our surveys also reflect the importance of case discussions with colleagues and networking with good friends during SWSP meetings. Our members state that they feel comfortable in the welcoming, diverse and inclusive environment of the SWSP. Our board is composed of a very diverse group with representation of each state in our region and a wide range of experience among practitioners. Young periodontists interact with senior periodontists in our committees, and our membership continues to grow with the influx of residents in programs that continue to attract practitioners from across the country. This just demonstrates that our profession is alive and keeps growing. Our individual and organized contributions to our specialty are vital.

My call to you today is to continue to be involved and participate in our society, either by continuing to attend meetings or by volunteering to serve on one of our committees. Thank you for allowing me to serve you. I look forward to seeing you in Dallas at the Winter Meeting.

Pilar Valderrama, DDS, MS
President 2019-2020


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