Next Steps in the SAO/SWSO Proposed Merger

Together with AAO leadership, the SAO and the SWSO have recognized the need to adapt to changes in our profession. Over the course of the last several years (2019, 2020 & 2021), the AAO House of Delegates passed a series of resolutions that point toward a merger between the two constituents. We have received support from other AAO constituents that are considering using the blueprints of our merger process to engage in mergers themselves. All of us have a common goal of defining a strong and relevant AAO for years to come.

This post was created to give members of both organizations the information they need to vote on the next phase of the merger process, which is the approval of a blended bylaws document. This vote will take place at the joint Annual Session in Austin, Texas, during each constituent’s individual business meetings. We encourage all members to come to Austin so you can attend the Annual Business Meeting of your constituent to vote on the revised merger bylaws. Both meetings take place on Friday, November 4, 2022 at 11:00 am.

Background on the Merger

  • In 2018, Dr. Dan Joseph from the SAO and Dr. Kyle Shannon from the SWSO were selected to lead a group to study the merger, as they both had previously served on AAO government task forces.

  • Drs. Shannon and Joseph selected representatives from each constituent to be part of the task force: Drs. Van Greer, Gayle Glenn, Clark Colville, Matthew Ng, Don Wilcoxon, DeWayne McCamish, Kim Reed, Chopper Snyder, Donald Balhoff, and Jeri Stull.

  • The task force did a complete analysis of the operations and composition of each organization and made recommendations on how best to proceed with a merger.

  • In 2019,2020 and 2021, the AAO House of Delegates passed resolutions supporting various components of the prospective merger of the SAO and SWSO.

Why Merge? The AAO leadership is looking forward and has recognized the current constituent model needs revision. Multiple AAO governance task forces have failed to implement this change. Members from the SAO and SWSO decided a different approach was needed. The membership of the AAO is strong, but we must continue to work proactively to adapt to changes. Remaining relevant to our members and making a difference in our specialty are timeless association goals. That has not changed. What has changed are new outside forces that influence how we practice, as well as advances in communications/data that affect not only our specialty, but all modern businesses and the member associations that govern them. By merging the SAO and the SWSO, we can maintain a stronger, more unified voice to ensure that our profession stays highly valued in the marketplace. Outside forces affecting the marketplace:

  • Variety of practice models

  • DIY orthodontics and commoditization Insurance

  • Regulations HIPAA/EMR/OSHA/Teledentistry

  • Artificial intelligence

  • Specialist distinction

Advances in communications changing how we engage with others:

  • Online networking and educational tools

  • Vendor marketing/education


How the Merger Would Impact The Individual Constituents: Increased Efficiency Merging constituencies can lead to increased efficiencies in the following areas:

  • Consolidated meetings means sponsors do not have to choose who to support. Experience has revealed that planning joint meetings of two independent constituents can be cumbersome.

  • Consolidated administration expenses.


How the Merger Would Impact Members

  • Networking: Community and fellowship enhanced through increased meeting attendance.

  • Meetings: New destinations and a more robust experience with combined resources to attract excellent speakers, provide enhanced entertainment and services. Elevated meetings can increase the number of attendees and attract more vendor support.

  • Component Support: Improved communication between components, constituents, and the AAO.

  • Resources: Consolidating our financial and leadership resources will allow for a rewrite of how a Constituent can serve its members.

  • Communications: More resources for member communication through various platforms.

  • Advocacy: We’ll continue to monitor state-level legislative and regulatory activities and partner with the AAO to ensure our members’ interests are served.

  • Increased leadership development opportunities: Improving member communication, advocacy and programs will provide for expanded areas of leadership type and commitment levels.

Your Vote Counts! We encourage all members to attend the SWSO business meeting to vote on the revised merger bylaws on Friday, November 4, 2022 at 11:00 am at our Annual Session in Austin, Texas. For meeting information and registration, Click Here.