An Extra Mile Goes a Long Way — From Maryland to Florida!

By  Dr. Sharon Colvin-Johnson

On June 12-13, I attended the Florida Dental Convention (FDC) for the first time. During the convention, I had the privilege to serve as a speaker host. My experience during the entire process — registering for FDC; inquiring about volunteering as a speaker host; acquiring the continuing education credit that I needed; and attending the most fun and exciting convention party on Friday — would not have run so smoothly if it wasn’t for the FDA’s Director of Member Relations, Ms. Kerry Gomez-Rios, and her navigational assistance.

Currently, I’m a member of the Maryland State Dental Association (MSDA), but I will be relocating to the Sarasota-Lakewood Ranch, Fla. area in July/August. The MSDA’s membership coordinator, Ms. Kim Dresser, put me in contact with Ms. Gomez-Rios — and I’ve had the best experience with a state dental association that I’ve ever had in my 31 years in organized dentistry! Ms. Gomez-Rios then directed me to those who will be instrumental in my transition to Florida. During FDC, she suggested meetings and events that would put me in contact with the key players in organized dentistry.

I’m so happy that I had the opportunity to connect with the FDA at this year’s convention. I’m especially thankful for Ms. Gomez-Rios and her “extra mile” efforts to help me to feel “at home” with the FDA.

FDC2015: 10 Things to Know Before You Go

1. NEW! Automatic CE Verification

Continuing education (CE) verification automatically is provided for all attendees. Your badge is now your course ticket! To receive CE credit for course attendance, you must scan your badge upon entering and exiting a course, and be present in a course a minimum of 50 of the 60 minutes to receive one hour of CE credit. The system will calculate and record the amount of time you are present in a course and award the credit appropriately. Your CEU certificate will be emailed to you after the event. Course attendance will be submitted automatically to CE Broker on your behalf no later than June 30, 2015.

2. Where to Pick Up Your Badge When You Arrive

When arriving at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, you may pick up your badge in the hotel lobby from 4-9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, or in the City Hall lobby from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. If you need to add courses or register additional people, you are able to do so at the on-site registration in the City Hall lobby. NEW! Badges must be worn to all courses and events. Don’t forget that guests, spouses and children over 12 who will be attending events with you need to be registered to obtain a badge. ​

3. Room Finder

Download the FDC Mobile App! You’ll find the most current list of courses and event room locations, as well as additional convention information. Visit and download it today! In addition, there will be a large display with room names, as well as digital signage, directing you to room locations. ​

4. Exhibit Hall Hours and Info

Great products, new innovations, cutting edge technology … make sure you visit our Exhibit Hall, with more than 300 exhibitors offering products and services to help your practice excel. Short on time? Be sure to schedule your one-on-one appointment with the exhibitors you want to see. The deadline to make appointments is Friday, June 5.

NEW! Once you’re on-site, look inside the Official FDC Program for special exhibitor coupons and offers available only at FDC.

  • Thursday, June 11 — 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
  • Friday, June 12 — 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 13 — 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

5. Parking and Shuttles

Parking is free to attendees staying at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center. If you are driving in or staying at an off-site property, self-parking is $18 per day and valet is $26 per day at the Gaylord Palms. Parking on-site is limited for non-hotel guests. Free parking is available at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. Free shuttle service from ESPN’s Wide World of Sports to the Gaylord Palms begins Thursday, June 11 at 7 a.m. and continues through Saturday, June 13 at 6 p.m. For the Thursday and Friday night events, the shuttle will continue until 10 p.m. to accommodate attendees staying off-site.

6. Food Options

We have worked with the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center to ensure you have ample food outlets during the convention. In the Exhibit Hall you’ll find drink and snack stations available all day, as well as lunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Additional grab n’ go locations will be available in the Atrium, as well as additional restaurants open during peak lunch and dinner hours, such as an express lunch buffet at Wreckers and taco stations on the lawn. Look for the monitors located throughout the hotel and convention center listing the available food options and wait times for each. ​

7. Table Clinics

Table Clinics will be in the Exhibit Hall each day. Attendees have the opportunity to learn about the research dental residents, dental students and dental auxiliary students from Florida are working on. You’ll earn one hour of CE credit by listening to each 10-minute presentation in a session and getting your Table Clinic Sign-off Sheet signed by all presenters. The sign-off sheet will be located at the table clinics entrance in the Exhibit Hall. Turn in completed sign-off sheets to the Gainesville room upstairs in City Hall lobby by Saturday at 4 p.m.

  • Thursday, June 11 — 10 a.m.-1 p.m./2-5 p.m.
  • Friday, June 12 — 10 a.m.-1 p.m./2-5 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 13 — 10 a.m.-1 p.m

8. Get Social

We encourage you to share your experiences and photos during the convention on social media with the hashtag #FDC2015. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Facebook: Florida Dental Convention
Twitter: FL Dental Convention
Instagram: florida_dental_convention

9. Make Notes

Before you head off for socializing, jot down some key points you collected from the day in the back of your FDC2015 Official Program. You’d be surprised how quickly things can get muddled or forgotten. ​​​

10. Come for the CE, Stay for the FUN!

After your day of earning CE, join your colleagues for two evenings of great entertainment and activities. On Thursday at 7 p.m., join us for “Sweet Success” featuring Karaoke Live where you are the star of the show! On Friday at 7 p.m., join us for a Caribbean-themed celebration, “Junkanoo!,” featuring a steel drum band, wire writing, rush out parades and much more! Both of these events are held in the Gaylord Palms’ Atrium.

NEW! Name badges are required for entry into these events for all attendees. Children under 12 years of age do not need a name badge. Now after “Junkanoo!” on Friday, the party doesn’t have to end! Join the New Dentists for drinks and dancing at “The After Party” in Wreckers from 10 p.m.-1 a.m.

See you there!