Dr. Maria Maranga revels in the role of “connector”.
Yesterday, the American Dental Association House of Delegates voted the Aquebogue, New York endodontist as its second vice president, and she plans to put that proficiency to work immediately for 163,000 ADA member dentists across the U.S.
“As an organization we must connect members with the tools they need to succeed in practice. As leaders we need to connect to the next generation to mentor our future leaders,” said Dr. Maranga, who received The Lucy Hobbs Project Mentorship Award from Benco Dental in 2014.
“I felt my skill set was good for this particular job at the ADA, representing the whole group of the delegates — all 483 of them — who speak for the 163,000 dentists who are ADA members throughout the country,” said Dr. Maranga, when she spoke with TheDailyFloss.com immediately following the announcement.
“Engage those members and get a momentum going, so that when we talk to lobbyists about the legislative issues we’re working on today in session, they will have the power and ability to communicate all of those correctly and effectively so that we don’t fragment.”Dr. Maria C. Maranga, American Dental Association second vice president
A past chair of the ADA Council on Membership, Dr. Maranga views communication, connections and collaboration as strengths of organized dentistry.
“No one is an island. For our profession to succeed, we must work together,” she said.
She should know, as a previous delegate in the ADA House of Delegates, president of the New York State Association of Endodontists and academic affairs director of the American Association of Women Dentists.
“We must strive, as an organization, to use all methods of communication at our disposal to reach every generation of our membership quickly and consistently,” said Dr. Maranga, referencing a point that she feels was brought into focus during the COVID-19 crisis.
“I think dentistry and the ADA have handled it marvelously through Zoom events. I belong to the Association of Women Dentists, and I’ve already hosted Zoom events for dental students on that platform. COVID is so active here in the New York City area, so they didn’t have to leave their rooms.”
Technology was not quite as cooperative for Dr. Maranga yesterday when the ADA shared news of her new position.
“It was comical, because our internet went out and I missed the announcement,” Dr. Maranga joked. “I just viewed it from a Google drive where someone saved it for me. I’m so excited.”
An homage to her mentor
Dr. Maranga believes in supporting future leaders and she learned from the best. She credits the late Dr. Mark Bauman, for steering her into a leadership role and leading her to where she is today.
“He was the perfect mentor, who had a keen sense and cared about issues that we were facing. That’s what I hope to do,” she said.
How does Dr. Maranga envision this in her new role?
“Promoting younger dentists, and women, so they have an opportunity earlier on. The timeline for leadership is something that we struggle with. Overall, I will try to make sure young people are mentored, so they can nourish their quest for leadership. That kind of camaraderie is what’s lacking in a lot of industries, and we’d hate to see that happen in dentistry and medicine because it’s so necessary for people to grow.”
Coaching is already second nature to the Brooklyn native who teaches at four hospitals (Interfaith Medical Center, NYU-Lutheran Hospital, Brookdale Hospital and Jamaica Hospital) and her alma mater, New York University College of Dentistry.
For more on Dr. Maranga, and the new ADA president-elect Dr. Cesar R. Sabates, of Coral Gables, Florida, visit ADA.org