During this wonderful month of June, we would love to highlight the up-and-coming SPEA chapter at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry. I had the opportunity to ask their new chapter president, Pegah Khosravi-Kamrani, some questions. From the answers to these questions, we hope you can get a better idea of how UNC’s SPEA chapter is set up and what amazing things they are doing to spread the word about SPEA!
How many members do you have in your SPEA chapter?
Our chapter is actually unique in that every student is a pre-enrolled member of SPEA! In this regard, we don’t actually take formal dues and our events are open and free-of-charge to all dental students.
What are some things you have done to increase membership?
To increase awareness and presence at our events, we focus planning events that are relevant and beneficial to a range of students, from those at the beginning of their dental school journey to those approaching graduation. For example, we like to host events that will provide practical advice that can be applied both in our school clinics, on rotations, and in private practice. We advertise and send out reminders about our
events through our Facebook page and through our school newsletter. Lastly, we always provide lunch or dinner – which never hurts!
What are some problems your SPEA chapter has faced? How have you overcome those?
I believe one problem our SPEA chapter has faced is the issue of whether we’d like to become an exclusive club that charges membership fees and hosts more involved events. At UNC, SPEA has always been a group each student is a part of formally a part of and this allows our events to be open to anyone (and our events are quite successful as far as outreach). However, by becoming an exclusive group that has dues, we could host more involved events (such as dinners and certain speakers) and have a greater presence at conferences. We decided to continue to stay an open group for this
academic year while we weigh the pros and cons of each option, keeping our future open to the possibility of becoming an exclusive group.
What has been your most successful event this year? (Please provide a summary of the event)
In March, Dr. Wester (president of our state dental board) talked about issues brought to the board, such as alcohol and drugs, upcoding (charging for a more complex surface than providing), OS treating patients without an adequate preop consult. He also discussed the importance of legislature laws such those requiring yearly opioid courses and continuing education for prescribing narcotics. He discussed sleep apnea and our limitations in diagnosing this disease. He touched upon DSO’s and the importance of us doing only procedures we feel ethically reasonable. He also discussed the ethical implications of Smile America and the importance of informed consent. Lastly, he concluded with the ethical implications of our heavily debated and controversial CITA examination. He entertained many questions and discussion regarding CITA, its pros, and cons. It was incredibly informative and inspired our future events to be just as beneficial with regard to current issues and policies.
Have you done any fundraising? If so, what types of things have been successful? If not, how have you received funding in the past?
We are fortunate to have received a generous donation from a past alumni dedicated towards events focused on ethics and professionalism. This donation covers our lunches and we aim to be budget-friendly with our events (making food the only cost of the event). Any leftover money from
the donation that we did not spend can be re-invested for the following term, which has allowed us to use this donation for the past few years!
Although Pegah stated to me that their chapter is not a “formal” membership as of now, they are growing and doing some great things. Keep up the amazing work UNC! For any questions feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or Pegah at email@example.com. We hope to see UNC at SPEA’s Annual Session this year in San Francisco. If you would like to register for SPEA Annual Session held from September 6-7 this year, or want more information about it, click here.
*Note that the picture only includes their D3s in the presidency. Their D4 leaders were off on rotations at the time this picture was taken