Division B, Category 3                                                                                    
Today’s FDA, Florida Dental Association

Research/ Situation Analysis: In 2009, the Florida Dental Association (FDA) responded to a study completed by Kerr & Downs Research (which revealed that only 57 percent of FDA-member dentists feel their formal education adequately prepared them for practicing dentistry and that 78 percent of FDA-member dentists rely on professional journals for useful information about trends affecting dentistry) by increasing scientific and practice management material in the FDA’s monthly journal by 200 percent. While the changes in content resulted in positive feedback in an August 2009 member survey, FDA members also indicated that they would like to even further increase scientific content and expand the length of the journal. In a similar survey, members who said they were considering not renewing their FDA membership also indicated they were unaware of many of the benefits of being a member of the FDA. (These benefits include continuing education opportunities and discounts, peer review availability, a unified voice to the Florida Legislature, etc.) To address each of the above mentioned poll responses, the FDA Council on Communications decided to, in its publication Today’s FDA, further increase scientific and professional information available to dentists by reducing feature content and increasing the page count. Staff also planned to increase awareness of FDA-member benefits through a wrap-around second cover on the publication, aimed at members who had not yet renewed their membership.

The Today’s FDA editor and staff, in the January/February 2010 journal, as compared to journals in the year immediately prior, set objectives to 1) increase number of scientific articles published by 25 percent, 2) expand the size of the journal by at least ten pages, and 3) highlight FDA-member benefits, resulting in increased knowledge within membership, shown by at least 300 members’ ability to list specific member benefits in the open response section of a member survey planned for January 2010.

Beginning in September 2009, Today’s FDA staff actively pursued original and reprinted scientific studies and other educational articles related to the dental profession. In addition, staff gathered quotes from several printers to expand the journal from 56 pages to 80 pages. To expand the journal at no additional cost to the association, the FDA’s Council on Communications resolved to make modifications, shifting it from a monthly 56-page journal to a bimonthly 80-page journal. This change allowed for additional scientific content, as less space was put aside for columns by the president and editor. (Only one column runs per issue, so these columns now only run six times a year compared to 12 when the journal was printed monthly.) In addition, the council decided on the following scientific/educational topics for the upcoming year: special needs dentistry, a “How To” issue, dentistry as a business, dental pain management and office emergency management. The FDA also created a wrap called “What Have You Got to Lose?”, which was placed over the cover of the journals sent to members who had not yet paid dues. The wrap indicated that if dues were not paid, the journal (a member benefit) would no longer be delivered. In addition, the wrap listed the benefits of being an FDA-member dentist, 2010’s critical legislative issues and 2009’s legislative victories. In 2010, the FDA’s graphic designer also gave the journal a fresh, new, professional look by implementing new design concepts, creating a new logo and cover layout, and working with the printing house to begin using the “perfect binding”-style of binding, making the journal look more “book-like”.

The FDA exceeded all of its Today’s FDA journal objectives. In the January/February issue of Today’s FDA (the first bimonthly issue), the FDA: 1) printed eight scientific/practice management articles, 37.5 percent more than the average number within a two month period during the previous year, 2) expanded the journal from 56 pages to 80 pages, while moving to a bimonthly format – saving the FDA nearly $40,000, 3) printed a “What Have You Got to Lose?” wrap, which highlighted more than 70 member benefits. In our January 2010 Member Survey, 314 members were able list the specific member benefit most important to them. The FDA received several e-mails from members, applauding the staff and Council on Communication’s work on the journal. In addition, a member survey in January 2010 revealed that 89 percent of members who responded now place a “moderate” or “high” importance on Today’s FDA and our e-newsletter. In the open response section of the survey, the journal was mentioned 13 times as “the single most important benefit [members] receive from membership in the FDA/American Dental Association.” The “What Have You Got to Lose?” wrap also received compliments from members, and membership is on-track to meet our renewal goals.

The total Fiscal Year 2009-2010 budget for Today’s FDA printing/mailing is $146,580; however advertising income is projected at $153,014, more than covering the cost of printing/mailing the journal. While our cost to print and mail each issue increased from $9,240 to$11,895 per issue due to the page increase, our overall yearly mailing and printing cost decreased by nearly $40,000 (since we have moved to a bimonthly publication). Staff was able to increase advertising rates (due to an increase in publication quality) and maintain a 45 to 50 percent advertising ratio, meeting expectations and keeping advertising revenue projections on track. All design work, writing, content facilitation and research was done by in-house staff, costing the FDA $0. However, it is estimated that staff (editor, ad coordinator and designer) spent a total of about 10 hours of time above the amount of time that would normally be spent on the journal per issue, at a value of approximately $200 per bimonthly issue.)