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The Orthodontic Technicians Association (OTA) is the professional body to which the majority of orthodontic technicians in the United Kingdom belong to. While the OTA is based in the UK it is by no means just a British professional body – many of its 312 Fellows, Licentiates, Members, Associate Members and Honorary Members live and practice overseas.
Origins London orthodontic technicians began to hold meetings in 1971 to discuss the regulation of orthodontic technology and the ways in which standards in orthodontic technology could be improved. It all began when Bert Aldridge and Len Bradshaw were visiting lecturers at South London Technical College (now Lambeth College) and they discussed the possibility of forming an Orthodontic Technicians Association. Aldridge was chief orthodontic technician at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, now known as Great Ormond Street Hospital in London) and Bradshaw worked at Kings College Dental School. In 1971 Aldridge wrote to the orthodontic technicians working in the London teaching hospitals. He invited them to attend a meeting on Monday 11th October 1971 at 6.00pm and held at Great Ormond Street Hospital to discuss forming an association.Thirteen orthodontic technicians attended the meeting and it was agreed that such an association should be formed. From this meeting a steering committee was organised. Len Bradshaw became the first chairman and Bert Aldridge was secretary. Other committtee members were P. Chittenden, H. Close, J. Ford, J. Griffin and H. Haringman.During the first four meetings aims and objectives were drawn up and in March 1972 a letter and questionnaire were sent to dental schools, hospital orthodontic departments and county council dental laboratories. As an act of confidence each committee member together with E. Cripps, H. Essinger, A. Wing and G. Wisker contributed to a launching fund to cover the costs of stationery, printing and postage.In July 1972 a letter together with an application form and the comments received from the original replies were sent out inviting orthodontic technicians to apply for membership. During the meetings that followed the constitution was written and the first conference was planned, which was to be held in April 1973. A letter with details of the conference were sent out to all orthodontic departments in the UK.
The council meets at the headquarters of the British Orthodontic Society at 12 Bridewell Place, London, which opened in 2006.
Logo The OTA logo is circular in shape and depicts the letters OTA with an otter, the mascot of the Orthodontic Technicians Association. The otter is the association's mascot because of the possible pronunciation of OTA as "otter." The perimeter of the logo is encircled with the words "Orthodontic Technicians Association."
Current activities The aims of the association remain close to those of its founders: to encourage the study, promote the highest standards of practice and advance the knowledge of orthodontic laboratory and clinical techniques for the benefit of the orthodontic team and patient. The OTA continues to advise institutions and individuals on the use of all orthodontic laboratory techniques and the service that is provided by orthodontic technicians.
Membership There are various grades of membership and these are as follows:
Student MembersA dental technician undergoing training to specialise in orthodontics or a student dental technician with an interest in orthodontics. Students pay a reduced rate of subscription, receive the journal and can attend conferences and meetings. Student members do not have voting rights at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Associate MembersSomeone with a special interest in orthodontics or connected with orthodontics may become an associate member of the association. Associates receive the newsletter and may attend conferences but they may not vote at the AGM.
MembersA qualified dental technician not holding a specialist orthodontic qualification but working within the field of orthodontics can become a member. Members will receive the newsletter and may attend conferences; as well as this they may vote at the AGM. Only two members may stand for election to the Council. A member of the Association is entitled to place the letters MOTA after their name.
LicentiatesTo become a Licentiate of the Association you must possess either a City & Guilds Advanced Certificate in Orthodontics, or at least two specialist units in orthodontics at BTEC Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND) level or SCOTVEC equivalent. In addition to the rights of a Member, Licentiates may stand for election to the Council and may place the letters LOTA after their names.
Honorary Members and FellowsHonorary Memberships and Fellowships may be awarded to any grade of member at the discretion of the Council.
Retired MembersA member of the Association who reaches retiring age shall be permitted to pay a reduced rate of subscription as laid down by the Council. They will still have the right to attend all meetings and conferences and receive all literature.
Orthodontic Technicians Association ConferenceWith the onset of statutory registration and certified continuing professional development for dental technicians by the General Dental Council, attendance at the Orthodontic Technicians Association's annual conference is widely regarded as the best way of keeping up to date with the latest developments and innovations in orthodontic technology. The 2008 conference will be held in Edinburgh.
British Orthodontic ConferenceAn orthodontic technology programme at the British Orthodontic Conference (BOC), the main annual conference of the British Orthodontic Society is organised by members of the OTA council.
Dental Technology ShowThe OTA will be represented at the Dental Technology Show (DTS) at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on 9th - 10th May 2008.
British Orthodontic Society Technicians AwardThis award was established by the OTA and the BOS in 1999 and was devised to encourage the study, improve the practice and advance the knowledge of orthodontics. The award consists of three items:
BOS Award to an Orthodontic Technician for Distinguished Service
Aldridge MedalFollowing a generous donation by one of the association's founders, Bert Aldridge, the Aldridge Medal was launched in 2007. This award is designed to encourage members to present new research and developments in the field at the annual conference. The best lecture given at the conference, as judged by the members, is awarded the Aldridge Medal. The best presenter at the 2007 conference was Susan Owen and she will be presented with the first Aldridge Medal at the 2008 conference.
Council The OTA Council is the governing body of the Orthodontic Technicians Association and is elected by the members. Traditionally the council consisted of a President (who is an orthodontist and maintains the link with the British Orthodontic Society), four executive council members (Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and Membership Secretary) and five non-executive council members. At the Annual General Meeting on 12th March 2005 two more non-executive positions were created due to a steady increase in council duties and commitments making a total of 12 council members. The Council is responsible for the overall governance of the OTA, and has ultimate responsibility for the sustainability and the finances of the organisation. Council members are not paid to serve on Council but voluntarily give up their time to serve the OTA and its members, in their governance role.
RepresentationCouncil members are based in London, the South East of England, the East Midlands, the North West of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, therefore representing a wide geographical area. The OTA is represented on various boards and committees by council members to represent the interests of orthodontic technicians. In addition members gain representation and liaison with the following bodies:
Current Council Members
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