UMKC 2011 Midwest Dental Conference ends on $1.5 million note

UMKC School of Dentistry alumni combine gifts to fund Endowed Chair in Practice Management

Four years may sound like a long time, but for dental educators, that never seems to be enough time to teach dental students all they need to know before they graduate. Because time is limited, one subject that traditionally takes a back seat to clinical education is practice management — the business side of being a dentist.

That’s about to change at the UMKC School of Dentistry, thanks to donations from Gary McCabe Ross (DDS ’80) Albuquerque, N.M.; Charles Squire (DDS ’68) and Mrs. Margit Squire, Wichita, Kan.; and Onas Johns (DDS ’32, deceased), Springfield, Mo. Their combined gift of $1.5 million has enabled the School of Dentistry to establish an Endowed Chair in Practice Management. The gift was announced on Saturday, April 9, at the 2011 Midwest Dental Conference Alumni and Friends Recognition Breakfast at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City, Mo.

“With this gift, my wife Margit and I wish to further the commitment to excellence at the UMKC School of Dentistry by helping future dental professionals make wise and informed decisions regarding practice management and enhance the quality of their overall patient care,” Dr. Squire said. “Our gift is a very small payback for the tremendously positive experiences received from the profession of dentistry that all started with the unselfish devotion to teaching and mentoring that have helped make the School of Dentistry a nationally-recognized leader in dental education and dental related research.”

“Some years ago I came to realize that the UMKC School of Dentistry provided me with the education and technical skills to practice my chosen profession; however, few of us ever entered dental school with the slightest notion that in order to become successful in the practice of dentistry, we would also have to become successful in the arts of the business world,” said Dr. Ross. “Today’s announcement of the Endowed Chair and the proposed curriculum is the culmination of the coordinated efforts of Dean Marsha Pyle, Dr. Charles Squire, myself and others dedicated to the advancement of the UMKC School of Dentistry and to the dental profession as a whole. Today is truly a dream come true for me.”

The person appointed to the Endowed Chair will work to develop a curriculum that will focus on exposing students to the realities of running a dental practice, such as how to finance a practice, manage debt, handle personnel matters and set realistic financial goals. The Endowed Chair will also manage the day-to-day operations of the dental school’s proposed Innovation Clinic, which will operate just like a small dental practice. Through the Innovation Clinic, students will see patients from the Kansas City community and will have a chance to build both their clinical and business skills. Students will work alongside dental hygiene students and dental assistants and will be involved in the clinic’s day-to-day operation, including scheduling, ordering supplies, solving personnel problems, record keeping and billing.

“Applying principles of evidence-based decision making to product and equipment choices provides the opportunity to bring scientific review into the reality of daily practice,” said Marsha Pyle, D.D.S., M.Ed., Dean of the UMKC School of Dentistry. “Since the school’s inception in 1881, we’ve been educating excellent dental clinicians. By establishing a faculty position and a facility dedicated to practice management, we’re making an unprecedented commitment to preparing our graduates to be both excellent dentists and successful business people.”

“Practical education of this sort aligns perfectly with UMKC’s mission to give our students what they need for rewarding and successful professional lives,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton. “I am grateful to Dr. and Mrs. Squire, Dr. Ross and Dr. Johns for these gifts that will make practice management a central piece of dentistry education at UMKC.”

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