Volunteer opportunities rewarding for CDA members

Why are so many dentists passionate about giving back to their communities? Dentistry is a profession that brings together people who are as compassionate as they are committed to improving lives though oral health care. Membership in organized dentistry can help channel that compassion and commitment into programs that are making a difference.

CDA Cares

One of the most impactful ways to give back to dentistry is to volunteer at CDA Cares. Hosted by the CDA Foundation and held twice a year in communities across California, the events educate the public and policymakers about the importance of good oral health and bring attention to the substantial population that experiences barriers to dental care. With the generosity of volunteers and donors, CDA Cares provides no-cost dental treatment to 1,950 individuals on average at each two-day event. Since its inception, CDA Cares has delivered more than $20 million in dental services to 25,000 people.

What do you give?
As a volunteer dental professional, you can share your time and talent over one or two days as a general dentist, oral surgeon, hygienist, assistant or lab technician, joined by medical professionals and community volunteers. CDA Cares offers oral-health education, extractions, fillings, cleanings, root canals and a limited number of dentures and partials. You can also share your skills by providing patient follow-up care after the clinic.

What do you get?
While thousands of individuals have received necessary and even life-changing dental treatment at CDA Cares, the lives of volunteers are also changed by giving others health, hope and happiness. It’s an opportunity to shine a light on the heart of your profession, connect with your talented peers and give back in a meaningful way.


CDA members can also lend their time and expertise by serving in association leadership roles. Serving on a CDA council, committee, board or task force is one of the most effective ways to have an impact on the profession in its service to the public. Volunteer leaders participate in dynamic discussions with legislators, insurance companies and other health care providers that drive better oral-health outcomes for the communities they serve.

What do you give?

Volunteer leaders are successful when they are open to the ideas and opinions of others, participate in thoughtful discussions and collaborate with other volunteers and association staff. While some remote participation is available, volunteers must be committed to consistent meeting attendance. As a council, committee or board member, you would serve for a designated number of years. As a task force member, you would be part of a short-term project-focused group serving the association in an advisory capacity.

What do you get?
Serving in a volunteer leadership capacity allows you to make meaningful and informed decisions and influence issues on behalf of CDA members. It’s an opportunity to shape the future of your profession, hone your communication and leadership skills and make connections with the best and brightest in dentistry.

Local change

California’s 32 component dental societies are remarkable in their efforts to serve the needs of their communities and the public in promoting good oral health as part of overall health. Choose from a wide range of volunteer opportunities at the local level — from officerships and committee roles to grassroots advocacy efforts and philanthropic programs. Contact your local society’s executive director to explore opportunities in your community.

Learn more about CDA volunteer programs on the CDA Foundation website and at cda.org/leadership.

Related Items

CDA Cares set to return to Modesto, site of first clinic
Longtime volunteers reflect on then and now
After six years and 13 clinics, CDA Cares, the volunteer-run dental program hosted by the CDA Foundation, is preparing for a return to Modesto, Calif. — site of the inaugural clinic in 2012. And while every CDA Cares can be considered successful in terms of the number of patients served — 1,950 on average — and the number of no-cost dental services provided, longtime volunteers say a lot has changed since the first clinic took shape in the Central Valley city.

The five-day National Oral Health Conference is an annual meeting of health professionals who are working to improve the oral health of populations in the U.S. and around the world. The conference brings together experts in science, academia, public health, advocacy and clinical practice to explore promising programs and policies for oral health across the lifespan. This year, CDA’s work in this field was showcased in two presentations with California State Dental Director Jay Kumar, DDS, also presenting.