THE NEXTDDS Blog

The "New Dentist Track" at the CDS Midwinter Meeting

Posted by John Papa on Mon, Mar 02, 2015 @ 09:39 AM

This year, the Chicago Dental Society offered a track of four courses specifically written and designed for new dentists. These courses were intended to give new dentists insight and tips in certain areas that might be overlooked or not covered in-depth in traditional dental school curricula. The four courses that were included in the “New Dentist Track” were:
  • Leadership in Social Media for New Dentists: Presented by Ms. Rita Zamora
  • Risky Business: What are the Dangers and How to Prepare: Presented by Dr. Roy Shelburne
  • Career Paths in the Private Practice of Dentistry: Presented by Mr. Peter Ackerman, and
  • Sales free Selling: The Death of Sales and the Rise of New Methodology: Presented by Dr. Steve Fretzin

In her social media course, Ms. Rita Zamora began by establishing the idea of creating and maintaining your online brand/identity. Her words of advice to the would-be social media savvy dentist were: know yourself, know your brand, live your brand, be visible, and lead by example. She went on to discuss social media marketing through Facebook ads or Google ad words, and suggested using small incentives to get patients to “Check-in”, “Like”, or “Follow” your social media outlets; such as giving out whitening strips (or some other one-time-use item) for check-ins before appointments. As for negative patient reviews on social media, her advice was to either ignore them or to reach out to the complaining patient personally via email or phone, talk to them, and see if they will take the review down afterwards. You can read more about Social Media Marketing and Integrating Social Media in your Future Practice on THE NEXTDDS.

Dr. Roy Shelburne’s presentation on risk management was focused on pointing out the small things that sometimes get overlooked by new dentists which could result in a visit from the IRS. He began his presentation by saying that every new dentist should know the legal definition of intent. He then went on to describe what, in his eyes, constitute the five biggest legal threats to your practice: failure to comply with HIPPA, OSHA, tax laws, the dental practice acts of your state, and other contractual obligations. He touched briefly on informed consent, malpractice claims, and record keeping; stating that keeping air-tight records of every procedure, why it was done, and how it was done is a good way to insulate yourself from malpractice suits, but that the biggest protection from malpractice suits is to have a good relationship with your patients.

Mr. Ackerman led off his “Career Paths” course by explaining his outlook about the future of the dental profession. Due to a number of factors including increased competitiveness in the field, growing student debt, distribution of new dental offices, changes in patient values, and older dentists being forced to work longer, the allure of “corporate dentistry” appears to be growing for new graduates. He does, however, still believe there are viable paths to private practice ownership for young dentists. He went on to discuss associateships at length, including why they sometimes fail, how to best insulate yourself from liability and failure, many legal issues that arise through associateships including contractual obligations, terms of agreement, compensation, "due diligence" research, and types of practice sales (retirement [full]) sales, delayed full sales, extended sales, and partial sales). Read more about making the transition from Student to Professional in THE NEXTDDS Magazine

Steve Fretzin ispecializes in coaching business owners on the finer points of sales and investment. In his presentation, Mr. Fretzin explained his new methodology of sales, which favors a much more consultative and relationship-oriented approach over the traditional sales model. He then explained how his sales model is specifically applicable in the dental/medical fields, especially during patient consultation and in attempting to garner interest and consent for treatment plans.

The New Dentist track at the CDS Midwinter meeting is a way for young dentists and current dental students alike to learn some of the finer points of business management, legal matters, and marketing that may not have been covered in depth during dental school. Each of the speakers were passionate their subjects, and gave easily applicable tips that could improve business, exposure, and revenue while reducing risk and liability for a new practice owner. As dental students attending the CDS Midwinter, the New Dentist track is one way to get a jump on one’s professional career, and to start thinking about the real-world business of dentistry in a new and exciting way.

Tags: midwinter, CDS, CE, continuing education, marketing, liability, sales, New Dentist Track, social media, legal, associateship

The Chicago Dental Society Mentorship Program

Posted by John Papa on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 @ 02:54 PM

“One of the most rewarding parts about this program is when the mentor becomes the mentee.”

These were the words of Dr. Clark Stanford, new Dean of the University of Illinois at Chicago, one of two schools that participates in the CDS Mentorship Program (the other being Midwestern – Illinois). Students and faculty from both schools were in attendance at the CDS Midwinter meeting “Mentorship Luncheon”. This lunch event, sponsored by the Chicago Dental Society, was the first chance that many of the students from these schools got to meet their mentor face to face and shake his/her hand.

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Dr. David Kumamoto runs the mentorship program at Midwestern University. Dr. Kumamoto is an adjunct professor at Midwestern, a former faculty member at UIC, and he maintains a general dentistry practice in Chicago. Dr. Kumamoto was involved in the program during his time at UIC, and carried the tradition with him to Midwestern. Currently, there are approximately 45 students at Midwestern and nearly 200 students at UIC enrolled in the mentorship program.

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Interestingly, Dr. Kumamoto and his counterpart at UIC, Ms. Millie Mendez-Garcia (Director of Student Affairs for UIC Dental) work hard to make sure that students from each university are NOT paired with a faculty member mentor from his/her own university, but with someone from outside the familiar confines of their school.

Other than a possible conflict of interest, Ms. Mendez (who manually pairs every applicant student with a mentor herself), explained the reasoning behind this to me as such: “The faculty within the schools are supposed to serve as mentors to their own students.”

Ms. Mendez explained that any student of any year at either university can apply for a mentor, and that no students are turned away from the program. Both students and potential mentors are required to apply for the program through the CDS’ website. Ms. Mendez and her team then try to pair mentors with mentees who share similar interests or desired specialty areas. For instance, a student interested in Implantololgy might be paired with a local implant dentist, or a student interested in joining a group practice might be paired with a dentist who is a member of a group practice.

The purpose of this program, as alluded to earlier, is to help students discover what paths they want to pursue outside the bounds of the general dental school curriculum. Students also have the option to change their mentor at any time if their interests change, or if they find they have a better connection with a different practitioner. Mentors are not exclusive to one student either; the record for mentees currently stands at 4 at one time according to Ms. Mendez.

Outside of the official luncheon event at the CDS Midwinter, the mentor program does not hold official events. Once the relationship is formed, it is the responsibility of the mentor and the mentee to maintain it. Some of these relationships may last a professional lifetime, while others may not have the sticking power to continue outside of dental school. Nevertheless, the potential that the program offers new students just entering the profession to learn from a seasoned veteran who has already forged his of her own career path cannot be understated.

Tags: chicago, dental students, CDS, mentor, Chicago dental society, mentorship, dentistry

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