Friday, April 19, 2013

Themes From a Different Place

In this, my third blog, I want to cover a variety of different subjects, keeping it personal.

In Canada, April is Dental Health Month. The Canadian Dental Association does a really great job in getting the message out there and the media, always looking for a good story, pick it up. So the subject of oral health is in the media, usually in a positive light (I know, that is unusual, unfortunately). It offers us an opportunity to share these stories with our patients because, after all, our practice is all about relationships. The efforts of the CDA, as well as a number of great programs by the AGD, really help us spin the positive for our patients.

In the US, April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, which offers more opportunities to have serious conversations with our patients about oral cancer and overall body wellness. Our patients see us more regularly than any other health care provider, so we are the ‘front line’ for cancer awareness and prevention. The Canadian Cancer Society is celebrating its’ 75th anniversary this month.

For many years, my practice has created fun themes in our office to celebrate different societal occasions such as Valentine’s Day in February, Halloween in October, Christmas/Chanukah in December, and in Calgary, the Stampede in July. We decorate the office and create some frivolity and joy surrounding these celebrations. For Valentine’s Day, we get enough flowers to hand one out to every patient we see the week before and the week after. Everyone leaves with a flower. For Halloween, we decorate the office and have a ‘sweet swap’ where we collect candy to be donated. (We have donated candy to the Women’s Shelter for kids who were unable to be out on Halloween evening). We post photos on Facebook to keep the conversations going and reinforce our relationships with the patients we are privileged to serve.

Last year, we decided to do something every month. For April, we decided to support the Canadian Cancer Society with a significant donation. In return, we got daffodils and buttons, and extras to hand out to our patients. Once again, our patients left with a lovely flower as a gift, as well as a reminder to continue to raise awareness of our need to fight cancer and support research. It’s been a very fulfilling way to give back.

In my last blog, I mentioned side projects that have been a fascinating diversion. One of these was the promotion of a graphic novel written by my brother Allan. Later this month, we will have a booth at the Calgary Comic Expo to promote the book. We will have media interviews and will be exposing the book to more than 60,000 science fiction fans over three days. I helped pay for the artist to create the artwork, and have been learning a ton about the book publishing industry. Don’t a large number of us want to write a book one day? It has been a fascinating diversion in my crazy life.

I also mentioned in that post that I will share how the building of my new office is progressing. At this time, we are still negotiating the details of the lease with the landlord. We have narrowed down the terms of rent, tenant improvement allowance, operating costs, length of term (10 years plus two 5 year options) and exterior signage. Now we have to iron out some final details about parking allowances to account for City of Calgary bylaws, and some landlord responsibilities towards me with respect to moving my office, etc. After a very long time negotiating (eight months), we’re almost there. But the right deal is worth being patient for, as it will take me to the rest of my career and beyond.

Thanks for reading and giving me the opportunity to share.

Warm regards,

Larry Stanleigh, DDS

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