2015 SPEA Annual Session Schedule Announced

We are very excited to publish the schedule for the 5th Annual SPEA Annual Session to be held at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. on November 6th and 7th. To view the schedule, just click on the link.

2015 SPEA Annual Session Schedule

The schedule is tentative and could shift around slightly but starting and end times will be the same. A new copy of the schedule will be posted if any changes are made.

And if you haven’t already registered, go do it now!!

If you have any questions, contact your regent or leave a comment below!

Chapter Awards Submissions Open


Chapter award submissions are now open for nominations.

There are four categories this year with a winner selected in each one:

Submission guidelines for each award are available to download by clicking the above links. The due date is Oct. 20th 26th.

Each submission will be reviewed by the Awards Committee and winners will be announced at Annual Session. (If you haven’t registered yet, get on it!)

We hope each chapter considers applying for at least one award.

SPEA Leaders Gather

photo 4Earlier this month, your SPEA executive board members and regents held their half annual meeting in Salt Lake City. Arriving on Friday, some were able to explore the city and experience some of the local culture before settling down for the evening.

Saturday was filled with a long day of discussion. Starting around 8:30am and ending just before 7:30pm, we accomplished a lot of tasks. We developed a new strategic plan for the upcoming year as well as started planning SPEA Annual Session, which will take place November 6-7, 2015 in Washington, D.C.


photo 2-1

Sunday morning, we all had the chance to experience some of the Wasatch Mountain range by heading up to Silver Flat Lake. The team was able to bond over snacks, paddle boarding, and cruising around in the RZR.

We have an amazing group of leaders and have an awesome annual session planned. We hope you are already planning to come!

Now is the perfect time to start developing your strategic plan for your local chapter. Always remember, your national officers are here to help support and assist you in any way possible.



To view all our pictures from Utah, head over to our Facebook page.

Paddle Board 1

How to Ace a Professional Interview

by: Jenna Burke, c/o ’17 UAB SPEA Treasurer


So you made it to dental school. Congratulations! You are on the right track to fulfilling your dreams. You may be thinking that nothing can stop you now…except maybe that gross anatomy practical…but soon enough you’ll start looking for a job! For your convenience, here is a need-to-know list of objectives that, if followed, are sure to score you a spot at your preferred professional destination. Enjoy!



Let’s start with your application. Once you’ve made the most impeccable resume known to man, you’ll want to get it on its way to its intended recipients. Apply to as many places as possible that meet your initial criteria—the more interviews you have, the more experience you get to perfect your interview skills, the better your chances of finding your perfect job. Be sure to visit the offices first! You’ll save time by proactively eliminating those that don’t meet your criteria. You’ll also be putting a face to a name once the employer receives your application.

To quote the boy scouts: “Be prepared!” This is your time to do some reconnaissance. Find out everything you can about the employer and his or her practice. This will serve two purposes: the first being that you will be able to start a conversation about the employer during the interview (everyone loves to talk about themselves), and the second being that you’ll know whether or not your skill set properly aligns with their practice. Do they think that all amalgam fillings are toxic and need to come out and you think that amalgam is a perfectly acceptable and cost effective restorative material? Do they expect you to know how to place implants when you barely know what osseointegration is? Is the employer military trained and you come from a laid-back beach town? Many an awkward moment can be avoided by simply doing your research. If you can, find out why you got the interview in the first place. You’ll have the advantage of being able to capitalize on that information during the interview.

Peer deep inside your soul. This may sound silly, but it is necessary to ask yourself why you want the job and why you are qualified for it, and to think about how it will affect your life, both short-term and long-term. If you can properly answer those questions posed by yourself, you’ll be more prepared to answer similar questions posed by the interviewer. Bonus points: you will likely appear more enthusiastic about the position! And lastly, before we move on from this scary introspective stuff, make sure that money is not the main reason why you want to take the position. If it is the only redeeming quality, you’ll need to look elsewhere.



Next comes the dress rehearsal. Not only should you practice answering and asking questions, but you should also practice traveling to your interview location. Is the office on the 10th floor? Does the building have some sort of security at the door or the entrance to the parking lot? Does parking fill up before you have to be there? Factor in every detail and plan your departure time accordingly. There’s nothing worse than being late to an interview.



It is time for the interview! Don’t be nervous! Easier said than done, right? Preparation can go a long way, but your mentality on the big day is key. Stay positive and do some breathing exercises! One word: yoga. Be in the right state of mind before you walk in the door. Now. As we all know, first impressions are everything. Get your Don Draper or Olivia Pope on! Nail that handshake. Smile. Greet the interviewer (and the patients/staff you encounter!) enthusiastically. These little details make a huge difference. Oh, and that last name of the interviewer that you are too scared to pronounce? Make sure you ask how to pronounce it first, rather than botching it on game day. Now you see that chair that you know to be the designated interviewee seat? Don’t take it! Wait for your interviewer to ask you to sit. Once there, keep the best posture you can physically compose. No dentist wants to see right off the bat that his insurance will be used to compensate for your terrible ergonomics!

It takes two to tango. Yes, you do need to convince them that you are “the one” but they need to convince you that they are the perfect match as well. While you are painting a beautiful self-portrait for them, filled with your achievements, strengths, and personal anecdotes, you will need to acquire that color pallet that shows what they are made of as well. Showing interest will let them know that you want the job. And lest we forget! Maintain eye contact and be an active listener.

“What was that thing about that one leadership position you had on your resume?” they may ask. Show how prepared you are by handing them your very own copy of your resume that you conveniently brought with you.

For all the note takers out there: it never hurts to ask if you can take notes during the interview. It can help remind you later of the pros and cons of the position. You can also write down bullet points of the qualities you want to convey about yourself, as well as the questions you want to ask the interviewer so you don’t leave anything out. Since they’re always going to ask you if you have any additional questions or anything else you would like to share with them, your notes may save you from a “Doh! I forgot to say _____” situation on your way home.

Now, this is important: be aware of what is on the interviewer’s mind. Some days, an interviewer will just want to vent. It may have nothing to do with you. Use this unfortunate scenario to your advantage! Nod your head and offer your two cents on whatever they’re talking about. In the end, the interviewer may look back and think, “yep, this person is a reasonable human being.”

Did they ask you a tough question? Ask for clarity. You may just not understand what they’re asking. If you actually just don’t know the answer, asking for clarity may lead to the interviewer answering his or her own ridiculous question. Crisis: avoided.

Stay positive! If you are asked about past experiences, like your residency or dental school, always answer in a positive light. No one wants to hear negativity, especially in an interview! If you don’t think the interview is going well, don’t get down. They may be testing you to see how you will react.



You survived the interview! What’s next? Before walking out the door, stress your interest in the position and thank them for their time and consideration. Did it go stupendously and they asked you “when can you start?” You may want to pull Napoleon Dynamite “yesssss,” but stop and think about your answer. If you’re sure you want the position, of course, you can answer the question straight. If you’re not sure, here’s what you can say: “I am looking at a few offices in the area, and I want to give them a proper evaluation. However, our time today has made me very excited about this position.” Do your fingernails look like nubs because you haven’t got a callback yet? Don’t be too discouraged if no immediate commitment is made. There can be a number of factors that can delay a decision. Keep calm and carry on.


Now go out there and get that dream job!

Looking Back and Moving Forward: Reflection on another successful year!

By Leslie Murray, Roseman University 2015, Immediate Past Executive Chair, Student Professionalism and Ethics Association in Dentistry.

Looking back on a wonderful year feels so bittersweet! Our outgoing council accomplished so much, and I am sad to see them graduating out of their positions; however, with equal emotion, I am excited to have the pleasure to introduce a fresh and enthusiastic set of new leaders.

We had, by many measures, our most successful year yet. Thanks to the hard work of many local chapter leaders and the networking, motivation, and support of their respective regents, we grew as a national organization by eleven chapters. Our SPEA membership now includes a total of forty-six dental schools across the country. Growth occurred not just in the form of colonization, but also in the quality and scope of chapter events.

In an effort to better recognize chapters who were developing such fresh material to promote ethics within their schools, SPEA Nationals created four chapter awards that were presented at our 2014 Annual Session in San Antonio. When we asked chapters to send in their applications, we were not disappointed!

best event

“Best Event” was awarded to Georgia Regents University (GRU) for their Ethics Week. Events within the week included a professional headshot fundraiser, “Ethical Dilemma of the Day Campaign,” and two lunch speakers. Dr. Stacy Story addressed students regarding the dangers of depression among dental students and urged them to avoid passivity if they see peers struggling with the rigors of balancing a stressful workload. Mr. Stuart Oberman, an attorney, informed students how to protect themselves in practice by avoiding the pitfalls of unprofessional and unethical practices.


most improved

“Most Improved Chapter” was awarded to the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB). New improvements for this chapter included expansion of the leadership board to include more student leaders and allow additional SPEA events and activities. These positions have continued to be assets to the chapter, and chapter officers pride themselves on the contributions of younger chapter leaders to ensure sustainable leadership and growth. UAB has also hosted several school-wide events and worked hard to collaborate with the Alabama section of the American College of Dentists (ACD).


Chapter of the YearUniversity of Detroit-Mercy took home both the “Chapter of the Year” and “Best Communication” awards. With a strong newsletter and online presence, UDM introduced a “Dear Abby” style column for students to anonymously ask the SPEA team about questionable ethical predicaments and respond with their own answers in a contest. UDM also hosted a successful business card fundraiser, which raised $700 for chapter events and leader travel. For incoming student clinicians, a Q & A session with fourth year students answered questions about the transition from “simlab” to clinic. Chapter events held throughout the year varied in their tone and method. From the “Everyone Matters” positivity campaign and volunteering with the community food bank to “Lunch and Learns” with topics of “Ethical vs. Legal” and “Ethics in Private Practice,” UDM certainly made an effort to impact their ethical environment from every angle.

However, chapters weren’t the only ones to expand the breadth of their efforts. The SPEA Nationals team met in Utah for our Half Annual meeting, which was packed with goal setting, planning, and strategizing. This meeting gave national leaders the opportunity to collaborate on projects in person, build stronger relationships as a national team, and ensure that the work we do is efficient and effective to guide us to accomplish our SPEA mission. By the “wrap up” of our term, we had released a revamped and more user friendly website to more easily disseminate information to our chapters. Finally, we planned our largest and most extensive SPEA Annual Session to date.

While SPEA Annual Session was expanded to encompass two full days, it also included five professional speakers to provide more information and material to chapter leaders than ever before. After examining feedback from the previous year, we added two focused chapter leader training sessions for “Event Planning” and “PR and Communication Improvement.” Seventy-two student leaders representing thirty-two SPEA chapters traveled to San Antonio to attend our largest Annual Session since SPEA was founded!

Dr. Guy Shampaine presented “Real World Experience” to highlight past ethical cases presented to the Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners. Dr. Chris Salierno fired up discussion among students while educating on the arguments in ethical debate. Current American Student Dental Association (ASDA) President and University of California- Los Angeles (UCLA) dental student Kristopher Mendoza enlightened SPEA leaders in “Hot Topics in Dentistry.” Mr. Mendoza highlighted important ethical issues facing the field and how representation in legislation gives us an opportunity to have laws that correlate with ethics. Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 9.50.03 PMDr. Roy Shelburne spoke regarding his experience with the consequences of dental insurance fraud and stressed the importance of always paying attention to the details. Finally, SPEA Executive Director Dr. Michael Meru presented real world cases concerning integrity in dental practice.

Student feedback from the 2014 Annual Session has been overwhelmingly positive, and it can be attributed to the high quality speakers, passionate chapter leaders, and our committed national team. We would like to take a moment to thank each of these individuals for their commitment to SPEA and its mission to empower students with opportunities and resources to ensure that the ethical climate within dental schools promotes cooperation, collegiality, and ethics-centered decision making.

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 9.48.34 PMThe 2014 Annual Session culminated in the election of our 2014-2015 national officers. These leaders were elected by their peers for their commitment, passion, and new ideas for the future.

We are pleased to announce the following national officers:

  • Executive Chair- Katherine Bell
  • Vice Chair of Membership- Hanan Kazbour
  • Vice Chair of Organizational- Bianca Toma (Boji)
  • Chief Information Officer- Kevin Kaiser
  • Regent 1- Colby McKinney
  • Regent 2- Allison Shubert
  • Regent 3-Mary Elizabeth Bush
  • Regent 4- Samneet Mangat
  • Regent 5- Michelle Paterson
  • Regent 6- Joseph Ballatore

This team encompasses leaders who have excelled in their own chapters by promoting new ideas and programming for successful student education and expansion of the SPEA message. I cannot wait to see the culmination of their efforts and what the 2015 Annual Session in Washington, D.C., will bring.

SPEA Announces 4th Annual Session

The Student Professionalism and Ethics Association in Dentistry is proud to announce our 4th Annual Session, to be held ​ on ​October 10th and 11th, 2014, in San Antonio, Texas.

​This year we will be expanding our session to two full days with more time for hands on training, additional speakers and workshops. SPEA Annual Session will be held in conjunction with the ADA and ACD Annual Sessions, so interested students can plan on arriving earlier in the week to take advantage of additional CE, speakers and the ADA World Fair.​

We are also excited to announce that at Annual Session we will be presenting four new SPEA Chapter Awards, including Best Event, Best Communication, Most Improved Chapter, and Chapter of the Year. Each year we hear about chapter leaders hosting amazing events and coming up with fresh news ways of promoting ethics within their school. Now we can recognize their hard work!

These awards will evaluate chapters from October, 2013, through October, 2014. Please see attached documents for details on the application process. In order to be considered for awards, applications must be submitted to speadental@nullgmail.com by September 10th, 2014.

Additional Annual Session information and Registration can be found on www.speadental.org beginning early August 2014.

SPEA 2013 Annual Session Review!

2013 Dental Student Attendees

The SPEA Annual Session that took place in New Orleans, Louisiana this past November received record attendance from dental students travelling from across the Nation.  This conference marked the organization’s third annual session, which has experienced sustained exponential growth in attendance and interest at the national level every year since its inception.

Students from all chapters had the opportunity to meet each other and discuss current ethical issues in dentistry, obtain updates and information on how to improve their local SPEA chapters, and learn from and partake in discussions with world class speakers and leaders in ethics and Dentistry.

Esteemed guest lectures included past ASDA President Dr. Chris Salierno.  Under his administration and vision, many of the seminal policies and programs that made ASDA the world-class entity we know and enjoy today were created.  Dr. Salierno taught attendees how to better interpret and appraise the validity of ethical arguments with an interactive overview of ethical fallacies.  This lecture offered practical insight and resources that were beneficial to students’ personal and practice lives alike.

Past ADA President Dr. Ron Tankersley also spoke at the conference, providing attendees with a fascinating lecture on the physiological and psychological underpinnings of ethical decision making.  He explained the dynamic interplay between the prefrontal cortex and the limbic system which are integral to analyzing the world around us and pivotal in ethical decision making.  Dr. Tankersley then opened the floor to questions from attendees, providing invaluable insight on topics such as mid-level providers, corporate dentistry, and the future of clinical dental practice.

SPEA’s 3rd Annual Session was immensely successful and enjoyed by all.  If you would like to get involved at the National Level and attend the next Annual Session please stay tuned to our website and social media outlets for updates as they arise.

SPEA 3rd Annual Session Itenerary

Mark your calendars for SPEA Annual Session 2013, which will be held at the New Orleans Marriott, November 1-2.

Online Registration Now Open! Click to Register Now!

Click to Download Official Itinerary – PDF

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Click to Download Official Itinerary – PDF

Download Flier: Annual Session Nov 1-2, New Orleans

Mark your calendars for SPEA Annual Session 2013, which will be held at the New Orleans Marriott, November 1-2.

Update: Online Registration Now Open! Click to Register Now!

Click to Download Official Flier – PDF

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Click to Download Official Flier – PDF