Defining a more equitable membership model for underrepresented dentists across the country


American Dental Association (ADA)

Client Team
Marketing, Communications, Brand Strategy & Innovation, Client Services

The Challenge
When we first met the American Dental Association, they were determined to use design thinking to define a more equitable membership model for their changing audience who, for the first time in history, were majority women and minority dentists.

The Impact
After meeting 1:1 with 96+ women and BIPOC dentists across the country, we identified the most prominent trigger points that lead to an abridged career and identified a series of initiatives from digital portals to physical & mental programming proven to increase the longevity of their careers.

Thanks for being a dream partner on our journey this past year. You guys are so talented – thank you for this. It’s so satisfying to see the inkling of a need come to fruition. I am grateful.

– Sr. Director of Brand Strategy & Innovation
American Dental Association

Step 1 | Defining The Challenge
What happens when you realize your audience is diminishing? Or even worse – changing? When the Chief Marketing & Communications Officer of the American Dental Association sat us down for the first time, she revealed the dental industry was at a pivotal moment. For the first time in history, white male dentists who acquired a family practice were no longer the majority. Instead, first generation women and BIPOC were dominating are dominating the field.

Step 2 | Starting with what’s known
What we appreciated about the ADA was their eagerness to give these underrepresented dentists a seat at their boardroom table – and hired PinPoint to help. We began by analyzing years-worth of research the ADA had already invested in which provided us plentiful of quantitative research on dentists across the country. We were able to identify (6) distinct types of dentists young dentists driven to help their community to middle-age dentists worrying about debt to part time dentists trying to find work/life balance.

Step 3 | Learning from Dentists
From there, we went out in the world to meet these dentists first hand. Our goal was to uncover the ‘why’ behind the behaviors that showed up in ADA’s quantitative data. Why? So that we could uncover how ‘work/life balance’ and ‘debt’ and ‘community’ was defined differently across the varying ages, gender, location and practice type of dentists across the country. And what we found was fascinating! Age, gender and culture was a primary factor in defining those definitions – but they changed over time based on (10) life triggers. And once we knew what those triggers were, we could ideate how the ADA showed up differently at each of those moments to support dentists when they need it most.

Step 4 | Collaborating with the team
With those insights learned, we prioritized behaviors and concepted membership touchpoints with ADA’s leadership team to bring back in front of dentists who helped us co-create their favorite touchpoints into concepts that would improve their life and their career.

Step 5 | Synthesizing Insights into opportunity
We wrapped up this initiative with (10) concepts ranging from an app that guides continuing education credits based on personal interests to a partnership program for physical health tele-therapy when dentists need it most. In 2021, the ADA won the Cultural Transformation Award from Design & Innovation Global recognizing their journey toward a more innovative, inclusive, synergistic and human-centered organization.