The WFO turns 5 years old
Now, at five years old, the WFO is well established. Dr. William DeKock of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA who has served as the first president now passes this responsibility on to Dr. Lee Graber of Kenilworth, Illinois, USA who has been the vice-president for the past five years. Dr. DeKock will take on the role as the secretary-general of the WFO and be responsible for the administration of the WFO and the WFO Secretariat in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
"The establishment of the WFO has given the international orthodontic community a commonality of purpose," Dr. DeKock said. "All organizations within the WFO have recognized the importance of the orthodontic specialist. The WFO now gives further recognition to that title when orthodontists are accepted as WFO fellows. In some countries, the WFO has helped long-standing orthodontic organizations with problems that are unique to them, but familiar to other orthodontic organizations. Intercommunication through the WFO Gazette and the International Orthodontic Congress has exponentially improved communication in the orthodontic specialty."
The benefits of the WFO also exist on an individual level. Each WFO fellow receives a certificate of membership and a subscription to the WFO Gazette. WFO fellows are also eligible for reduced registration fees at international congresses and at annual meetings of several affiliated organizations, such as the American Association of Orthodontists, the European Orthodontic Society and the Asociación Latinoamericana de Ortodoncia.
The WFO is based on the recognition of national and regional orthodontic organizations. These organizations achieve affiliate status after a lengthy review of their bylaws, categories of membership, and membership requirements for each category of membership. Orthodontic specialists who belong to these affiliated organizations are eligible to join the WFO as fellows. To date, 87 affiliated organizations and more than 5,000 fellows belong to the WFO. The WFO has been instrumental in assisting newer associations as they develop their formal bylaws and organizational structure.
"While I anticipated interest in a world organization of orthodontic specialists as a result of the interest leading up to the WFO formation in 1995, I did not expect the enthusiasm with which the concept has been embraced," Dr. DeKock said. "At the heart of the WFO is the national affiliated organization in each country. Since each national president must sign off on the qualifications of each WFO fellow, the process effectively places the affiliated national organization in each country in charge of the orthodontic standards in each country."
"The WFO has only begun to establish its presence in some areas of the world," Dr. DeKock said. "As it becomes more established, it will accomplish one of its goals to help establish an increasingly high standard of orthodontic care throughout the world.”