Innovative Meetings

The Greater New York Dental Meeting’s Strategies to Raise Attendance

For the ever-growing Greater New York Dental Meeting, there are always new audiences to welcome — and new educational programs to keep them coming back.


The Greater New York Dental Meeting (GNYDM) is already the biggest dental conference — and one of the biggest health-care shows — in the United States. GNYDM 2015 drew more than 54,000 attendees from all 50 states and 131 countries to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City from Nov. 29–Dec. 2. The 140,900-square-foot show floor encompassed more than 1,600 exhibitors, and the education program included more than 350 seminars, workshops, and poster sessions.

And attendance is still growing. Which is why GNYDM is regularly introducing new elements — small and large — to its program. “Dental shows today are changing dramatically, and more meetings are seeing a drop in attendance because of the advancements of online education, including webinars, Skype, and social media,” said Jayme Spicciatie, GNYDM’s program manager. “We strive to keep our current attendees engaged year after year, as well as expand new audiences who have never visited our show.”

Here are three major initiatives that GNYDM has created in the last two years — all of them designed for new industry segments:

WORLD IMPLANT EXPOIntroduced in 2014, the World Implant Expo is part of GNYDM’s strategy of targeting specialty groups. “We saw a demand for dental implants worldwide,” Spicciatie said. “We wanted to create an outlet for specialty dentists and give them another reason to attend our show.”

The World Implant Expo sits right on the show floor — “where new programs can gain maximum exposure,” according to Spicciatie. At GNYDM 2015, the expo was offered with support from the American Academy of Implant Dentistry and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, and featured programming every day of the conference. Topics included “Making Implant Dentistry Simple, Predictable, and Profitable for the General Practitioner,” “Bad to the Bone: Infected Sockets,” and “Understanding the Peri-Implant Disease Controversy.”

GLOBAL ORTHODONTIC CONFERENCE Like the World Implant Expo, the Global Orthodontic Conference — which debuted at GNYDM 2015 — was designed for a specialist segment. It brought “professionals interested in orthodontics to an event where they can attend evidence-based, clinical procedures,” Spicciatie said, “which they can then incorporate into their practice when they return home.”

The conference was housed inside a “glass classroom” on GNYDM’s show floor, “so passersby can catch a glimpse of the program,” Spicciatie said. The voluminous five-day conference included hands-on workshops and seminars.

NEW DENTISTS PROGRAMGNYDM’s potentially biggest untapped audience: young and future dentists. The New Dentists Program, launched in 2015, was offered “exclusively for dentists in practice less than 10 years,” Spicciatie said. It’s part of an ongoing strategy to court a rising member constituency. “The GNYDM has become more active through social media,” Spicciatie said, “and has even incorporated Evites to engage younger dentists.”

Presented on Sunday, the first full day of GNYDM 2015, the program featured two half-day seminars — starting in the morning, with a private tour of the exhibit hall and the interactive “Treatment Planning Panel: Cases for Discussion,” for which dental students and residents could submit cases to review. That was followed in the afternoon by “Associateships: Road to Success” and the speed-dating-style “Career Connections: Meet Your Match,” in which “practices looking for associates or purchasers were able to meet young dentists looking for positions,” Spicciatie said. “We want to encourage new dentists to attend dental meetings, to actively engage in their field, and to learn about the importance of organized dentistry.”

That goes for dentists specializing in implants and orthodontics, too — and pediatrics, which will get its own program at GNYDM 2016. “To continue to grow a meeting of this stature, we must continue to innovate to attract attendees and exhibitors,” Spicciatie said. “That is a dual part of our mission. Attendees desire educational programs that introduce new 21st-century materials and procedures, so they can offer their patients the best health-care treatments possible. Exhibitors, to be successful and find value in their investment here, must be offered an environment which offers them enhanced sales opportunities.”

Christopher Durso

Christopher Durso formerly was executive editor of Convene.