At the 2019 ASDA National Leadership Conference, the SPEA National board had the privilege to attend the three-day affair in Chicago, Illinois. Why is NLC one of the most prominent leadership conferences for predentals and dental students to date? Alongside the beautiful Chicago skyline, deep-dish pizza and marveling at “The Bean”, over 830 attendees from 65 dental schools came to develop their leadership in dentistry, business, and professionalism by networking and listening to captivating presentations on a variety of topics. There were three keynote speakers and more than 50 breakouts that students could choose from.
Megan is National SPEA’s Vice-Chair, and she noted, “Chicago with National SPEA was absolutely amazing! In addition to bonding with the old and new board members, I gained so much knowledge about the future of dentistry and dental licensure. I was honored to be in great company for a weekend and can’t wait to put the tips and tricks I’ve learned to work!”
This weekend marked two months since Annual Session, the National SPEA Board members’ last meeting, and there was anticipation about catching up and discussing the future of the organization at the local and national levels. Our very own Executive Director Dr. Mike Meru presented on ethical dilemmas in the dental office, including issues with live patient licensure utilized in dental schools today. Other presentations included topics such as managing a successful practice, an intraoral photography tutorial, tips on getting into residency and more. It was a full and exciting weekend, that inspired attendees to be compassionate, effective, and well-rounded dentists. What were some of your favorite takeaways? Until next time, NLC!
This year, SPEA’s 9th Annual Session was held in San Francisco on September 6-7, where speakers, students in SPEA and members of the American College of Dentistry came together to learn and share ideas about professionalism and ethics. To highlight some of the great work done by several outstanding chapters across the nation, awards were given in several categories.
Best Regent Communication – University of Western Ontario
The University of Western Ontario received the “Best Regent Communication Award” for its efficient and friendly communication between its chapter’s board members and its regent, Diana Boodram. The university maintained regular and efficient communication regarding information about upcoming events, conferences and helped the chapter promote SPEA on a local level. Thanks to staying in contact effectively, the University of Western Ontario was able to stay organized, grow as a chapter and maintain a healthy relationship with their regent. Congratulations to the University of Western Ontario for its strong regent communication this year.
Best Event – Indiana University School of Dentistry
Indiana University School of Dentistry received the “Best Event Award” after holding its extremely successful event, “Cases That Haunt Us”. For this event, IU School of Dentistry featured several clinic directors in a panel to engage in a discussion about difficult cases that “haunted” them. This event not only brought students together to spark a conversation about ethics, but allowed them to ask questions and connect their own experiences to the cases that the professors discussed. This event was ingeniously held during Halloween, to get students excited about this “haunting” event. Congrats to IU on their Best Event award.
Best Fundraiser – Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC
The “Best Fundraiser Award” was granted to the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC. To fundraise, members had the clever idea of selling SPEA safety glasses to students. Safety glasses were a big hit with patients and students in clinic because they were not only functional but started the conversation on what SPEA stood for and what it was. After this successful fundraiser, students reported that they enjoyed supporting their SPEA chapter and that the variety of colors was a bonus. At SPEA’s 9th Annual Session, this idea had representatives from universities excited to start their very own safety glasses fundraisers and got attendees talking about what makes fundraising successful. Congratulations to USC for holding such a productive fundraiser.
Best ACD Relationship – Dental College of Georgia
The Dental College of Georgia took home the “Best ACD Relationship Award” due to their phenomenal relationship with the American College of Dentists (ACD). Founded in 1920, the ACD is the oldest major honorary organization for dentists, and champions for ethics, excellence, professionalism and leadership in dentistry. The Dental College of Georgia maintained constant contact with their ACD regent, Dr. Carole Hanes, ensuring that they were aware of events, fundraisers and any new growth in their chapter. Due to their excellent relationship, they have been able to host ACD speakers at their university, such as having seminar lunches, full-day ethics lectures, and case scenario discussions, further engaging students in SPEA. They have worked hard to foster a strong relationship with the ACD, and it has resulted in a high level of student engagement at their events. Nice work Dental College of Georgia, for this great achievement.
Best Membership Development – UCSF School of Dentistry
The “Best Membership Development Award” went to UCSF School of Dentistry. This university demonstrated more growth than any other chapter, gaining over 60 members in one year. By hosting their first Membership Appreciation Luncheon, they were able to increase student interest and promote awareness of SPEA. In addition to this successful event, they were able to use fundraised money towards SPEA-personalized sunglasses that were handed out as tokens of gratitude for students who registered with National SPEA. Students could not only use these gifts but they also served as talking points, which was a bonus. Congratulations to UCSF for their achievement in membership development.
Momentum Award – University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry
The “Momentum Award” was awarded to the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry. UIC had five representatives attend SPEA Annual Session this year, and their newly established local chapter is working hard to host successful events and to establish a strong presence at their dental school. Notable SPEA events held at UIC this past year included a lunch and learn titled: “Our Response to the Atlantic Article” in which over 100 attendees engaged in a panel discussion with the Dean and two other faculty members regarding the controversial article discussing dentistry. Another great event was “Ethical Grateful Grams” for Valentine’s Day. UIC raised money by offering students and faculty the opportunity to write something nice to a fellow colleague along with a goody bag with treats made by the executive board. Keep up the great work, UIC SPEA!
Most Improved Chapter – University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine
The “Most Improved Chapter Award” was granted to the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine. This chapter has grown tremendously, and has seen a large boost in student interest. They did a great job over the course of the year of engaging students in what SPEA is all about. Last year, their chapter would have few students attend their semester dinner with the ACD, and now they are hosting popular breakfast events that students are getting excited about attending. When in the hallways around the school, students have been heard talking about cases from SPEA events. It is exciting to see SPEA steadily growing at universities across the nation, such as this one. Congrats to this chapter for their improvement overall.
Chapter of the Year – University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine
The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine earned the “Chapter of the Year Award”. This award went to a chapter that went above and beyond, in terms of getting students involved with SPEA, increasing chapter growth, and promoting ethics and professionalism at their university. UPenn held several successful events, such as “SPEA Week”, a week-long event series that got students excited about ethics, with a new activity each day of the week. Activities included setting up an anonymous “Ethical Concerns” box for students, a photo-op that boosted their chapter’s social media presence, hosting speakers on discussions about cosmetic dentistry and dental licensure, and an interactive poster board, on which students could write what ethics means to them in exchange for a donut. UPenn also prompted student involvement with SPEA by offering food and academic credit for attendees at a select number of lecture series. They also tracked student responses to events, using surveys after every event. Through these incentives and exciting events, there is no question that this chapter deserved this award. Congratulations!