How will the stimulus bill impact your dental office?

For dentists wondering how the Federal stimulus bill will impact their office, or searching for best practices to stabilize and strengthen a dental team in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, a webinar on Tuesday, March 31 will provide answers and options.

“The Practice Interruption” hosted at 5:30 p.m. ET will offer expert advice from Dan Wicker, CPA, Cain Watters and Associates partner and managing director, and Dr. Todd Engel, owner and founder of Engel Institute. They’ve teamed with Benco Dental to present this free webinar to assist dentists today, tomorrow and when the practice doors open again.

Register here.

What are the March 31 webinar objectives for dentists?

The Coronavirus pandemic has sparked a frenzied selling of stocks and mandatory lockdowns all over the country. Businesses of all sizes have been disrupted by the virus, as a result of local and national reactions. For dental practice owners, having to close their doors for business quickly carries implications on their personal finances.

Tuesday’s webinar, sponsored by Benco Dental, Cain Watters and Associates and the Engel Institute, addresses those topics and more. Register here.

From Dan Wicker: “Overview of the New Legislation and the Impact On Your Practice”:
* How will the stimulus bill impact my office?
* What do practices need to know?

From Dr. Todd Engel: “Best Practices to Stabilize & Strengthen Your Team, Your Patients and Your Practice”.

Ready to register?

To register: click here.

Coping During Crisis? Join a free March 25 webinar from Dental Intelligence & Benco Dental

The Coronavirus pandemic has dealt all employers with never-before-heard-of challenges. Understandably, there are many questions and concerns, and a complimentary CE webinar Wednesday answers many of them. For starters:
* What’s the interplay between vacation time, sick leave, PTO and unemployment benefits?
* How does the new/pending legislation affect dentists?
* What should be on the checklist to shut down the office for an extended period?
* What is telehealth and how does it work?
* How should my practice shift marketing focus over the next six months?
* What is the best way to host a virtual team meeting?

On March 25, five experts in the dental and business professions — Tim Twigg, Laurie Owens, Fred Joyal, and Benco’s own Linda Anderson and Bob Zamrock — will share solutions when Benco Practice Coaching and Dental Intelligence join forces to host the complimentary CE webinar.

From 1 to 5 p.m. EST., event hosts Kay Huff and Curtis Marshall will welcome opening guest Chuck Cohen, Benco Dental Managing Director. Four Continuing Education credits will be issued to anyone who participates in all four hours of the live session.*

What can dental professionals expect to gain during Wednesday’s free webinar?

Insight on a wide array of topics, including:

  • Human Resources,
  • Legislation,
  • Leadership During Crisis,
  • Telehealth,
  • Situational Marketing, and
  • How to properly shut down your office for an extended period of time.

Don’t wait to register.

Here is a link to sign up today for Wednesday’s free webinar.

* Note: This webinar will be recorded and shared afterward.  However, only those who attend the live webinar will receive Continuing Education credits.

Cain Watters offers toolbox for dentists managing cash flow, staffing during COVID-19

By Cain Watters & Associates, Registered Investment Advisor // Guest Column

As the country continues to address the implications of COVID-19, we know many of you are uneasy about the coming weeks and months for both your family and businesses. 

Elective closures continue and it is undetermined whether mandated closures will be enacted.  For example, Ohio is requiring rescheduling or postponing elective procedures and Virginia is recommending practices close for two weeks, while some areas are currently seeing limited to no disruption. 

With the landscape changing in varying degrees by geographic region, we wanted to offer our recommendations around cash flow and staffing, as well as additional resources available to the CWA community.

Based on your personal situation, access to cash flow and level of risk tolerance—the ideas offered below are simply suggestions to keep in your toolbox over the coming weeks and months, should you need them.

MANAGING CASH FLOW

Managing cash flow will be essential to get your practices through this time.  Here are some ideas to maintain or increase your cash flow should you need it:

  • Discontinue payroll for the doctor, spouse and any children.  Instead, take only required draws (shareholder distributions) from the business for cash at home.  This will minimize payroll taxes, federal taxes and 401(k) deferrals through this volatile time.  These can all be made up in the future when cash flow resumes.
  • Reevaluate dental and office supply purchases, and consider stopping purchases with exception for those products that will get you through the coming weeks.
  • Call your bank and request interest-only payments on your practice and/or building loans for a period of 1-3 months. Additionally, if you are making excess payments (above the minimum required payments) on any personal or business loan, adjust this until normal cash flow
  • If needed and available, access available lines of credit on the business or personal residence.  If you do not have a line of credit, contact your bank to see if an emergency line of credit could be available.
  • Contact your credit card companies.  Because of your history with these companies, you can request to skip a payment with no penalties or interest.  Additionally, many of your cards may have low interest cash advance options that could be used if needed.
  • Pause any automatic funding to Defined Benefit and 401(k) plans.
    • If your plan is at T Bank, we are working with the trust department to streamline this process.
    • If your account is at TD Ameritrade, you can call 800-431-3500 to stop or decrease automatic contributions.
  • Consider taking withdrawals from personal investment accounts (non tax-advantaged).  If your personal account is at T Bank, liquidations occur on Friday and T Bank does need notice.  As such, do not delay if you want to take a distribution soon.
  • Consider loan options on your 401(k). Loan provisions may allow you to take up to $50,000 for both the doctor and the spouse.  Note:  If your plan does not allow for loan provisions, this can take some time to get done.  CWA is currently working with Peeples and Kohler and The Nolan Company to see how we can speed up this process.
  • Minimize personal expenses. Now may be a good time to sit down with the whole family and discuss how you can minimize spending in the coming weeks.

STAFFING & THE RELIEF PACKAGE BILL

While staff costs are the largest single expense in your business, it is also the hardest to reduce, especially during hard times.  We all care for our staff, but also must manage the business.  The Relief Package Bill 363-40, passed by the House on March 14, is supported by the President and is expected to pass the Senate. 

There are four main areas affecting employers:

  • Emergency paid sick days: The bill would give workers 14 days of paid sick leave available immediately. It ensures sick leave to those impacted by quarantine orders, or those who must stay home to care for their children. The bill reimburses small businesses through a payroll tax credit (those with 500 or fewer employees) for the cost of the 14 additional days of leave.
  • Emergency paid leave: The bill would create a new federal emergency paid leave program for those unable to work because they have COVID-19, are quarantined, are caring for someone with the disease, or are caring for a child due to coronavirus-related school closings. Eligible workers would receive benefits for a month (the program goes up to three months), and the benefit amount would be two-thirds of the individual’s average monthly earnings. Those receiving pay or unemployment compensation directly through their employers aren’t eligible.
  • Small Business Exemption:  Under the current bill, there is an exemption for the above requirements for businesses under 50 employees.
  • Expanded unemployment insurance: The bill would direct $2 billion to state unemployment insurance programs and waive measures like work search requirements or waiting weeks to those either diagnosed with COVID-19, or those who have lost their jobs due to the spread of the virus.

Should the Senate vote to approve, we will know more.  As we get concrete info on the bill, we will communicate further as to how this affects your business and more recommendations on how to move forward.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

We are lucky to work with fantastic vendors that are also here to help.  Here are a few available resources you should find helpful:

WEBINAR: Coronavirus & the Dental Professional: A Critical Update

March 19, 7:30 CST. Sponsored by Seattle Study Club. While general healthcare guidelines are available, Dr. Leslie Fang has modified these guidelines specifically for the dental profession. Don’t miss this live webinar, which will not be recorded.

WEBINAR: Coronavirus Guidance and Updates for Employers

On-demand, available now.  CEDR‘s experts in employee law answer some of the most common questions, from people coming back from travel, sending a sick person home, employees who want to stay home, to getting sick notes from doctors.

FACEBOOK GROUP: Join the CEDR HR Basecamp Facebook group for ongoing information, updates and to ask the experts questions. Only for dentists and medical, it is a free private group which you will need to apply to.

We hope this information is helpful to you should you need it.  We will continue to communicate our thoughts, recommendations and resources as they become available.  Please visit our COVID-19 Resources Page for transcripts of prior communications and additional resources as they come available.

If you have specific questions, please reach out directly to your planning team.

You don’t have to navigate this alone, our advisors are here to help. REACH OUT

About the Blogger

Cain Watters is a Registered Investment Advisor. Cain Watters only conducts business in states where it is properly registered or is excluded from registration requirements. Registration is not an endorsement of the firm by securities regulators and does not mean the adviser has achieved a specific level of skill or ability. Request Form ADV Part 2A for a complete description of Cain Watters investment advisory services. Diversification does not ensure a profit and may not protect against loss in declining markets. Past performance is not an indicator of future results.

COVID-19: Connect with an expert at free 03.17 webinar

Leslie Canham CDA, RDA, shown above, has been bombarded with coronavirus questions.

To provide reliable resources and timely facts, the recognized infection control consultant and speaker is presenting a free webinar with Benco Dental. Register here.

“I’ve immersed myself in gathering facts and trusted resources to disseminate to my clients and audiences. Hopefully, we can dispel some of the myths and hysteria, and get back to the business of providing dental care to our patients.”

Leslie Canham CDA, RDA

On March 17 at 9:30 p.m. ET (6:30 p.m. PT) she’ll present a free webinar, “Coronavirus: What Dental Professionals Need To Know,” hosted by the nation’s largest independently owned dental distribution company.

Attend a free coronavirus educational webinar for dental professionals

Register here. https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2272256632991403277

Leslie Canham will present a free webinar March 17 at 9:30 p.m. ET (6:30 p.m. PT) , “Coronavirus: What Dental Professionals Need To Know,” hosted by Benco Dental.

Need to manage exposure now?

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued revised interim guidance on how to manage exposure to a person who has, or is suspected of having, COVID-19.

Learn more about the expert

Leslie Canham is a Certified and Registered Dental Assistant with over 48 years of experience in dentistry. Leslie sought to continue her career by exploring the continuing education needs of dental personnel. Her research led to OSHA compliance training for dental offices. Dentists, astounded by Leslie’s expertise began referring their colleagues to her. Soon her outstanding reputation spread throughout the dental community.

She is authorized by the Department of Labor as an OSHA Outreach Trainer in General Industry Standards. Leslie’s memberships include:

  • The Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention
  • The Academy of Dental Management Consultants
  • The Speaking, Consulting Network
  • The American Dental Assistants Association
  • The California Dental Association
  • The California Association of Dental Assistant Teachers
  • National Speakers Association

Leslie is listed as a “leader in consulting” by Dentistry Today. She is a Certified Speaking Professional, which is a designation conferred by the National Speakers Association. Fewer than 10 percent of speakers worldwide hold this professional designation.

It is earned by a proven track record of speaking experience, expertise, a commitment to ongoing education, outstanding client service, and ethical behavior. 

Hygienists: Are you ready for the Rocky Mountains? Dona Schulz and RDH are!

Congratulations to RDH Under One Roof on celebrating a milestone! This summer, July 16-18, an event in Denver will mark two decades of their dedication in offering quality dental hygiene education.

To share the excitement, RDH magazine spotlights 11 Colorado licensed hygienists on its January cover and within its pages. Among them: Dona Schulz, MBA, RDH, the Lead Clinical Coach and Technology Trainer with Benco Dental, the nation’s largest privately owned dental distributor (shown below, first row, third from right).

Photo courtesy RDHmag.com

Dona brings more than three decades of expanded dental practice experience to Benco, where she trains dentists and practice teams on dental CAD/CAM, digital x-ray software and equipment. She is certified in Straumann Dental Wings, 3M True Definition Scan technology and Glidewell TS 150 Mill.

“Dona elevates practices to create interoffice synergy, balance and growth while achieving clinical excellence.”

RDHMag.com

Also spotlighted in the magazine’s January issue:
Kari Brennan, RDH,
Becky Comstedt, BS, RDH,
Susan Cotten, BS, RDH, OMT,
Jennifer Geiselhofer, RDH,
Edie GIbson, MS, RDH,
Lani McBeth, BS,
Diane Osso, MS, RDH,
Cindy Purdy, BS, RDH,
Angie Rhoades, RDH, and
Jackie L. Sanders, MBA, RDH.

“Each of these individuals have a unique path that drove them to their current roles in our profession.”

RDH Chief Editor Jackie Sanders, MBA, RDH

Read the complete coverage: https://digital.rdhmag.com/rdhmag/202001/MobilePagedReplica.action?fbclid=IwAR1EZchubMwFfvDsWjDs0myMHssDW2aRlVIjJK4Wv0Ghhin1LHL8TrxkSMo&pm=1&folio=Cover#pg1

What can you expect in addition to the Rocky Mountain view?

Focused solely on dental hygienists, RDH Under One Roof provides opportunities to earn up to 20 CE credits in general sessions and workshops on topics including: • Cannabis • Anesthesia • Vaping • Periodontics • Special Needs • Oral Cancer • Alzheimer’s • Sleep Apnea and • Pharmacology.

Want to register you or your team?

Learn more about conference packages for the event slated for the Gaylord Rockies Convention Center in Denver.
Find additional details and register here today.

Lewis Berk and Leah Berk stand facing and smiling at the camera at a trade show. Behind them is a graphic representing an ion with the words Pulpdent right above it.

Pulpdent’s Family Lineage Remains at Company Core

As a young boy, Pulpdent Corporation founder Dr. Harold Berk quickly discovered his calling to help the less fortunate restore their smiles. He later pursued a dental degree, studying at the Forsyth Dental Infirmary in Boston, which focused primarily on the oral health needs of Boston’s disadvantaged children and provided advanced clinical training for graduate dentists. There, he developed a paste that would support the natural healing process for patients in the Bay State and around the world.  

That product was Pulpdent, a premixed calcium hydroxide paste used for treatments like pulp and root canal therapy. Dr. Berk began selling the product in 1947. Today, Pulpdent Corporation’s third generation, Leah Berk, Pulpdent Media and Communications Manager, and cousin Lewis Berk, Pulpdent Strategic Operations Manager, work with their family to continue a legacy that began over 70 years ago.

“Dr. Harold Berk was my grandfather, and company founder. Dr. Berk and Benjamin Rower started a company to manufacture and market the product known as Pulpdent Paste. The company name was eventually changed to the Pulpdent Corporation in honor of Dr. Berk’s original product.”

Leah Berk, Pulpdent Media and Communications Manager.

Today, the multi-million dollar company is a world leader in esthetic bioactive restorative dental materials. Leah, with the company four years, plays a significant role marketing the company’s wide array of award-winning products and its mission.

“My role is to create, package and distribute content for print and digital media channels. I help tell the story of Pulpdent, our products and the people who use them. One of the highlights of my job has been the opportunity to collaborate with practitioners and industry thought leaders to develop content pieces that educate and inspire clinicians.”  

Leah Berk, Pulpdent Media and Communications Manager.

She is not alone in her quest. Five family members also work to grow and manage the dental business in Watertown, Massachusetts as part of Pulpdent’s leadership team.

They include Dr. Harold Berk’s sons — the second generation — Ken, Fred and Don, and his grandchildren — the third generation — Lewis Berk, Strategic Operations Manager and Leah.

The Pulpdent family team thrives together; it’s no wonder why the company has continued to grow and provide dental products for industry professionals for nearly eight decades.

“We have two generations working together with complementary skill sets and are continuously learning from one another. The older generation has over 130 years of combined dental industry knowledge, while the younger generation has experience with newer technologies and social media. Having grown up together, we know what makes each of us “tick” and how to communicate effectively with one another.”

Leah Berk, Pulpdent Media and Communications Manager.

Family collaboration and company growth has enabled Pulpdent Corporation to add new and innovative products to its dental catalog. Most recently, the company has introduced the first light cure composite designed to mimic the properties of natural teeth: ACTIVA Presto.

ACTIVA BioACTIVE products help stimulate the formation of apatite (the building blocks of teeth), chemically bonds to teeth and help protect against decay. The products in this line are the first dental resins with a bioactive ionic resin matrix, shock-absorbing rubberized resin and reactive ionomer glass fillers. The material actively participates in cycles of ionic exchange, which helps tooth maintenance and oral health.

Learn more about the product line here.

How can a family business partnership thrive?

Leah shares advice for aspiring family partnership:

“Capitalize on each family member’s unique skills and experience. Have everyone play to their strengths and find ways to compensate for their weaknesses. Understand that what may be obvious to one family member may not make sense to someone else. Take the time to explain and re-explain your ideas and realize that it takes time for everyone, even family members, to assimilate new information.”

Leah Berk, Pulpdent’s Media and Communications Manager.

It also helps to spend time outside the office together.
Leah says she and her family have fun outside the dental industry. They often spend their summers together on the sandy shores of Cape Cod, swimming, boating, playing tennis and grilling.

“We all love to cook and often have potluck dinners together,” added Leah.

Want to learn more about ACTIVA BioACTIVE?

Contact your Friendly Benco Rep or visit Benco.com

Can high production and excellent customer service go together at the same time?

The answer is…absolutely! Production is the key factor in any business because without it there is no profit or income. At the same time, dental practices are service businesses. And excellent customer service—or as we at Levin Group like to call it “Five-Star” customer service—can be the factor that sets your practice apart and catapults production to another level.

According to the Levin Group Data Center, most practices score themselves much higher on customer service than patients do. Why? They feel that they are always very nice to their patients. And while they are, the kind of customer service that makes a lasting impression—Five-Star customer service—involves much more than being nice.

Five-Star customer service requires a specific program that is followed and continually reinforced. Take the Ritz Carlton for example. They have 21 principles that every employee is taught to follow. They review these principles regularly, almost daily actually, with different employee groups. They are so dedicated to customer service that they empower employees to spend up to $2,000 when necessary to solve a guest problem.

“Of course, dental practices are not hotels. But they are a service business that should have principles of customer service that lay the foundation for the patient experience. When patients have an ultra-positive experience they equate that with excellent clinical care and their trust level goes up. Trust is the key factor in case acceptance and practices with outstanding customer service typically have higher case acceptance and, therefore, production. This is why production and customer service go hand-in-hand.”

Five-Star customer service also leads to increased production through high patient retention and referrals. Patients become so enamored with the service they receive in the practice that they never want to leave and are always motivated to tell other people about their great experiences.

I was recently on an airplane headed out to a seminar when my seatmate realized I was a dentist. She spent the next 20 minutes raving about her dentist and how incredible he is. She had been with him for 35 years and said that she never wants to go to any other dentist for the rest of her life.

So if you’re wondering about how production and customer service fit together it doesn’t get any clearer. Outstanding customer service always leads to outstanding production.

About the blogger

Roger P. Levin, DDS is the CEO and Founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with over 30,000 practices to increase production. A recognized expert on dental practice management and marketing, he has written 67 books and over 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the U.S. and around the world.

To contact Dr. Levin or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit www.levingroup.com or email rlevin@levingroup.com

Gain vision, energy for your dental practice with Kay Huff

When it comes to dental practices, Kay Huff’s got vision.

It was over 30 years ago that this one-woman whirlwind began helping teams as a dental practice coach, and since then she’s been channeling that energy as a driving force to help hundreds of practices reach and exceed their professional goals.

Passionate about her work, this Director of Coaching with Benco Dental’s Practice Solution Team brings a strong background in dental business systems, team motivation, leadership, and practice profitability.

Last week at the Greater New York Dental Meeting, Huff was inducted as a Fellow in the International Academy for Dental Facial Esthetics. This honorary service organization is driven by the mission of fostering interdisciplinary relationships and cooperative education in the area of facial esthetics.

Kay Huff was inducted December 2, 2019 as a Fellow in the International Academy for Dental Facial Esthetics.

In the last five years the IADFE opened the Fellowship to consultants by invitation only, and after being nominated by Debra Nash, co-founder of the Nash Institute in Huntersville, North Carolina.

As Director of Coaching with Benco Dental, Huff consults with dental practices and leads educational events across the U.S. In the coming months, she’ll address audiences at a Build Your Future™ design workshop in Costa Mesa California in January, Yankee Dental Congress and Chicago Dental Society’s Midwinter Dental Meeting in February.

Ready to be empowered at your dental practice?

Those heading to Yankee Dental Congress January 30-February 1 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center can benefit from Huff’s insight.
On February 2 from 10 a.m. to noon, she will help dentists take the leap to build better systems, but not before creating their parachutes — high-performing dental teams. Register here.

In “Don’t Forget Your Parachute,” attendees will:

  • IDENTIFY opportunities for team members to increase interoffice communication and empower growth through successful team meetings, department meetings, communication board and morning huddles.
  • SUMMARIZE what it takes to have a successful recare system with a healthy hygiene program, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), a followup system for recare success and the power of words.
  • DESIGN steps to reduce cancellations and no shows by controlling and reviewing downtime.
  • IMPLEMENT systems to fill the scheduling gaps and increase practice profitability.

Want to learn more and attend? Register here.

Interested in finding Practice Solutions for your dental office?

Schedule a session with Kay Huff at 1.800.GO.BENCO.

Watch for details about Huff’s upcoming courses at Chicago Midwinter Dental Meeting: “Piecing Together Your Insurance Puzzle, “ February 21, 2020 from 1-2:30 p.m. and “The Fearless Dental Team,” Friday, February 21, 2020, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Register for “Piecing Together Your Insurance Puzzle. “


Dr. Melissa Ing teaches STEM through Mini Medical School

Do you remember your middle school anatomy class? The endless evenings spent reading page after page about cells and skeletons was a timeless, yet boring, way to learn about our bodies.

The human muscular and central nervous systems were complex subjects I grappled to understand. I struggled to keep attention in class as my teacher presented slides featuring charts and diagrams of muscle groups and functions I could only abstractly and vaguely comprehend. 

Dr. Melissa Ing, an associate professor in the Dept. of Comprehensive Care at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, employs a unique approach when she teaches. Dr. Ing (shown above, instructed a middle school student) manages, orchestrates and creates real-life scenarios about subjects related to health and dentistry through the Mini Medical School program she organized to teach middle school children at Boston’s Museum of Science.

Dr. Melissa Ing, an associate professor in the Dept. of Comprehensive Care at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (shown at right), and her team instruct students about STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) topics before delving into interactive medical investigations and procedures. Photos Courtesy Dr. Melissa Ing

“We teach kids the components of a blood vessel and have them build a vessel using different sized red buttons and white marshmallows to represent white blood cells. We teach them about dental forensics and how it can be used to solve a crime.”

Dr. Melissa Ing describes the lessons she teaches on STEM topics.

“Who Stole All the Toothbrushes?” is an activity where students use medical investigation techniques to solve a mystery. Students do more than listen to lectures; they are fully engaged and active participants in the program.

“We made little plots to go with it, and clues, so that the kids can try and learn about forensics. For instance, a fingerprint, a piece of hair, teeth marks, bite marks, saliva, a lip print on a glass…” says Dr. Ing.

She and her team use a problem-based approach and create situations that students must solve using appropriate medical techniques and procedures. 

“Then, for the next module, a Good Samaritan passenger trips over a piece of luggage at the airport breaking his arm. We teach the kids how to cast a broken arm.”

Her students’ favorite lesson: one where they learn how to suture a wound. Of course, they don’t suture a real, live participant, instead they use bananas. 

Dr. Melissa Ing, shown fourth from right, with her Mini Medical School team of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine students and faculty members. Photos Courtesy Dr. Melissa Ing

“The kids are given masks, gowns and gloves, so they have a great time as a doctor for the day. They sometimes can’t stop stitching the bananas and will name their bananas afterward, which is really funny.”

Students of Dr. Melissa Ing learn how to suture a wound using a banana as their patients.

Dr. Ing isn’t alone. She enlists a team of dental students and faculty members who help make the Mini Medical School possible. 

In 2015, she started the program in Boston, but two years ago, she set sail and took the program to Nantucket Island Public Schools, a school district on an isolated island where students have limited resources to learn about STEM fields—which are occupations that encompass Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. 

The Mini Medical School operates on grant funding and the kindness of volunteers who help make it possible, although when she first visited the school district in 2017, the school didn’t have a grant to pay for the program. Luckily, the town helped the school secure the funds.

The following year, the Nantucket school district received a donation from Innovation Pathways, an award granted by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education, that enabled Dr. Ing and her colleagues to visit a second time.

At Nantucket Island Public School, students use medical instruments and learn how they help industry professionals every day. Photos Courtesy Dr. Melissa Ing

Dr. Ing draws on nearly 30 years of dental experience. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Western Ontario and a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.

After completing her studies, Dr. Ing built and operated her own private practice and taught at the University of Connecticut. Shortly after, she became a full-time employee at UConn, where she held various positions, such as Team Leader and Director of Predoctoral Clinics. After 20 years there, she secured an associate professor position at her alma mater—Tufts University—and began teaching in 2011.

What’s next for Dr. Melissa Ing’s Mini Medical School?

The program will continue at Boston’s Museum of Science. Through grant funding, Dr. Ing and her team hope to return to Nantucket for a third year. She plans to visit Martha’s Vineyard for the first time as well, where students await the opportunity to suture bananas and learn about dental and medical professions.

STEM fields have grown to 17.3 million jobs or 79 percent since 1990, according to the Pew Research Center. Dr. Ing and her Mini Medical School are helping inspire the scientist, physicians and dentists of tomorrow.

Celebrate November, Women and Girls in STEM Month

Find out what the Museum of Science in Boston has in store for Women and Girls in STEM Month: https://www.mos.org/women-and-girls-in-stem-month

WVU rising: dental school innovation center drives change

The dental school’s new innovation center is driving change—and numbers are rolling in to prove it. WVU’s Dr. Lauren Yura talks what’s happening behind the scenes to boost her alma mater’s national profile. 

It only recently turned two, but West Virginia University School of Dentistry’s Dr. W. Robert Biddington Center for Dental Innovation is already having a profound impact. The only clinic of its kind on the East Coast when it opened, it was one of just three nationwide in 2017 where students experience a real-world environment that operates much like a private practice and also get access to the latest technology. (Benco Dental was one of dozens of donors who helped bring it to life in partnership with the Center for Research and Education in Technology, Inc.)

West Virginia University School of Dentistry’s Dr. W. Robert Biddington Center for Dental Innovation was the only clinic of its kind on the East Coast when it opened. In 2017, it was one of just three nationwide where students experience a real-world environment that operates much like a private practice and also get access to the latest technology.

For starters, it’s a recruiting boon that’s shifting the student body’s demographics. The vast majority of dental students—about 80%—were West Virginians prior to the center’s opening. Today, about half come from out of state. With such a major shift, the school understandably felt compelled to start surveying applicants about what drew them. The results: 99% said the center was a major factor in their decisions to apply.

“Students say it’s the first time they feel like real dentists. They get to broaden themselves as clinicians through increased repetition and exposure to more materials. They also get exposed to practice management and what it means to deal with insurance, fee setting, and staff training.”

Dr. W. Robert Biddington Center for Dental Innovation Director and Assistant Professor, Dr. Lauren Yura

All of which, says Dr. Yura, is changing the way students transition. “They’re better prepared, no question. Since it’s a higher-end environment, it’s also influencing where’d they’d want to work, or what type of practice they’d create for themselves.” 

Time will tell, but as a proud WVU alum herself, Dr. Yura is clearly passionate about sending her students into the world as the best prepared graduates in the school’s history.

Dr. Lauren Yura (right) with a dental student at the Dr. W. Robert Biddington Center for Dental Innovation.