Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Our Future in Dental Education

I was raised on the outskirts of a small city (about 30,000 people), and when I was a kid I really believed I lived “way out of town.” My opinion was based on what I overheard regularly: “Colleen’s parents will have to pick her up because I am not driving all the way out there to drop her off.” So it became the norm for me to assume that no one would drive to my parent’s home to either pick me up, drop me off, or deliver their own child to have a sleepover.

My parents’ house was simply about seven miles from anything or anyone. As I matured, I was always the one to have to drive—I was the farthest out, so I picked up everyone along the way. What this created in me was an expectation that I would always have to drive a distance to get to events and places. Other than the four years I lived on campus for undergraduate college, I have always had quite a commute.

Even in dental school when I had the opportunity to choose where I would live, I chose a place that was a distance from the college but yet close enough to where my fiancée lived. Once I began my professional career, I recall nearly seeing heads spin when I looked into this amazing practice (that I’ve now been a partner of for 12 years) that was about 46 miles away from our home, one way! I suppose my point to this background is that jumping in the car and having to drive 30 minutes seems like the norm, and once you get to 1.5 hours, it is expected if you want to see great theater, sporting events, and without question quality continuing education (CE).  

Obviously, as a Fellow in the AGD, I consider dental CE very important, and finding top-notch courses can be quite a challenge at times. I am blessed to be in a state where our existing Michigan AGD provides great opportunities several times a year—all within a reasonable distance—for me to participate in. 

Recently our board in Michigan, in an effort to provide the same amazing quality CE to all its members, made a decision to take a hands-on course to the northern area of our state. It is scheduled for later this year. I hope to report that it was a success. 

For those who are truly in rural communities, I understand the frustration with attempting to maximize your time and minimize your expenses while receiving top-notch courses. This is the reason I am IN LOVE with the AGD’s new webinar series. 

Take, for example, one of the current series being provided—the Pediatric Dentistry Webinar Series. The series consists of three different webinars (which are counted as LIVE lecture courses!) and they are only $150 for 4.5 hours. The best part??? I don’t have to drive ANYWHERE!! I am tucked in my comfy chair, in my comfy clothes, and I never have to leave my house. Also, let’s review the ROI on this one; it breaks down to less than $35 per hour for AGD-approved lecture hours without any additional expenses!!!!! How can you beat that? And for those of you who aren’t AGD members—you should consider joining, but that’s a different discussion—the cost is about $55 per hour if you purchase the three-part series.  

In contrast, if I registered for a regular run-of-the-mill lecture course, of AGD-approved quality, I used to base the value on, say, if it was about $100 per hour, it was fair and reasonable. I, of course, still had to drive myself and potentially pay for parking and lodging if it was far enough away.  

I love the future that I see with education in its entirety. I am sure that I am not the only one who still has text books, but we are looking at the past. Electronic versions of everything are our future, which we have been embracing clinically for a decade with the onslaught of paperless charting, digital radiography, and now, digital impressions. So shouldn’t we be embracing live interactive webinars in our pursuit to achieve the very best in ongoing dental education? 

If you haven’t checked it out, you are missing a great opportunity!! In addition to the pediatric dentistry series, there are series on oral surgery and dental sleep. If you can’t participate in these three-part series, then simply do it à la carte—pick the course that interests you and DO IT! 

Colleen B. DeLacy, DDS, FAGD

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Quite a few people my age are actually going to school to become oral surgeons. This is just something that I have noticed with people that I talk to that are my age. It is really cool and is a great career choice to say the least. Just wondering why it is mostly people from my generation though.


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