Hard times demand innovative ideas
Without a doubt 2020 has been a complex year for everyone, the advent of the growing global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our lives in one way or another and, more specifically, the development of our profession. Social distancing, quarantine and the different measures adopted by governments in an effort to try to slow the spread of the virus have had a significant impact on global markets and on the development of economic, academic and social activities. The ITI is no exception. In Chile, we had to cancel or reschedule all our face-to-face activities in 2020 (Educational Days, Study Club Meetings and our National Congress). This, together with the rescheduling of the ITI World Symposium, proclaimed a convoluted year for the different ITI Sections worldwide.
In addition to this global situation, about a year ago there was a major breakdown in Chilean political and social stability due to widespread protests and unusual violence in every region of our country due to social discontent among the majority of the population. This led to a significant slowdown in the national economy and many dentists were also severely affected in their ability to treat their patients regularly. As a result, there was a significant drop in the number of Members in our Section. Nevertheless, hard and challenging times demand innovative ideas.
The ITI Sections depend on their Members and it has always been our goal as a Leadership Team to deliver a program of academic and social activities that meets the expectations of our Fellows and Members each year. Faced with the impossibility of implementing our timetable physically, we realized we had to reinvent ourselves, and we created an online scientific program available to all the Members in our Section. This was how the ITI Online Master Clinician Program (OMPC) was born. An annual multidisciplinary program of 8 modules presented by world-renowned speakers and global opinion leaders from different areas of modern implant dentistry and tissue regeneration. The ITI OMCP was launched nationally in April 2020 and was very well received by our Section membership. It allowed us to increase our membership by more than 30% in less than a month.
The success achieved by the program was such that from the second module we decided to make it available for free for all ITI Fellows and Members in Latin America, which resulted in more than 2,000 new Members in over 10 countries. Moreover, starting in 2021, the program will be redesigned and developed at a Latin American level including the Sections in Argentina & Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico and Chile. This will allow the implementation of a more ambitious program with greater funds and with a much broader scope.
It is said that the only constant is change, in this particular case it has been demonstrated how a different and innovative idea can positively affect a globally adverse situation. That is why I would like to invite you to think outside the box, to imagine new alternatives and apply them with the aim of delivering better content each year to our ITI membership.
About the author
Dr. Xavier Uriarte Cantolla is an ITI Fellow and Communications Officer of the ITI Section Chile.