Dentsply Sirona’s Smart Integration Award recognizes female dentists and dental technicians from around the world who are working in a smartly integrated practice or lab environment and who offer their patients excellent, modern treatment solutions, according to the company. Teresa A. Dolan, DDS, MPH, vice president and chief clinical officer at Dentsply Sirona, discusses the award and why it matters.
Q: The Smart Integration Award by Dentsply Sirona has existed since 2019. How did it come into being?
A: The Smart Integration Award honors extraordinary success stories and innovative ideas of female dentists and dental technicians. Modern dentistry is all about innovation, and technology is changing rapidly. As the leading company in the field of digital dentistry, we always strive to find the best possible solutions in the digital workflows of dentistry practices. The key to our success is communicating with our customers. By asking our customers how connected workflows support efficacy and how they integrate the patients’ needs into treatment, we can find ways to optimize dental treatment.
Q: The Smart Integration Award recognizes female talent in dentistry. What is the specific situation of women in this profession today?
A: Today, more and more women work in the field of dentistry. In many countries, over 50% of students at dental schools are women. The creative potential of women in the profession will shape the future of dentistry, and we are committed to supporting their professional advancement.
The Smart Integration Award and Expert Development Program are tailored to the specific demands of women leaders and innovators. We learned a lot from research on this topic. For example, support in developing professional networks is a priority. So, with the Smart Integration Award, we wanted to establish a platform for building a strong international network of female talent within the profession.
There is also a considerable demand for education and training that empowers women professionals to open or grow their own practices. We get a lot of positive feedback for the women-centered environment of the competition and network. Many female professionals feel more comfortable in this setting.
Q: How important is it for a company like Dentsply Sirona to consider specific needs of men and women in the field of dentistry?
A: The integration of different perspectives enables us to develop technological solutions holistically. We work with female and male dentists, technicians, hygienists, and team members and learn about their needs in detail so that we can offer relevant innovations that best meet the expectations of our customers. This can be different requirements in terms of ease of use, but also in terms of comfort and ergonomics.
To continuously develop our portfolio, we establish contacts with the most talented dentists from their early career and through their career development. In programs like the Global Clinical Case Contest and SCADA student research competition, we cooperate with universities around the world and provide professional development opportunities for their very talented students, and thus help ensure that the best possible treatment continues to be available to patients in the future.
Q: Dentsply Sirona is continuously investing in dental education programs. What is the focus of these programs?
A: With training and education, we strive to empower dental professionals all over the world. This is part of our purpose and mission as a company. We want our customers and dental professionals to bring forward modern dentistry and deliver the best possible treatments to their patients.
Today, dental professionals can choose from a wide range of in-depth education programs. This education happens online and in-person through Dentsply Sirona Academy and key educational partners. We continue to open new education centers in markets around the world.
With our Women in Dentistry program, we invite professionals to hone their skills in a wide range of topics. With EPIC—Educate, Practice, Innovate and Connect—we introduced the Women’s Dental Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, and bring female practitioners from all over the United States together for two days of education centered on CEREC, networking, and building a community of women CEREC users.
Clinical education is part of that foundation upon which the industry moves forward, delivering better oral health care and ultimately improving the lives of patients. The numbers prove that our education and training programs are at the pulse of dental professionals’ needs. In 2020, more than 1 million dental professionals in 80 countries participated in one or more of our 7,289 courses.
Q: What is the process to apply for the Smart Integration Award 2021 as well as the requirements?
A: Registration is open online until June 28. All female dentists are invited to submit their success stories or ideas for improving workflow and/or patient experience through the use of connected products within Imaging, Treatment Centers, Digital, Orthodontics, Endodontics, Dental Conservation, Dental Technology, Hygiene, Implantology, Equipment Management, Design, and User Experience.
The award is open to both women who own their practice as well as women dentists who are employees whether they are specialists or work in a general practice. Participants are free to design their entry however they like using photos, video, text, or sketches.
Q: Will the award presentation be digital, and have you already confirmed a date?
A: While we would be thrilled to be able to meet in person for an award presentation, we will continue to monitor the pandemic situation globally. Safety is our main concern and therefore we will hold off on a decision until a later date.
Dr. Dolan leads Dentsply Sirona’s global clinical affairs and is responsible for its strategic direction. In this role, she oversees professional education activities in accordance with ADA CERP standards and guidelines. She also supports the unique clinical initiatives and strategies of each Dentsply Sirona business unit. Prior to joining Dentsply Sirona in 2013, she worked with the University of Florida College of Dentistry, serving as both a professor and dean. Dr. Dolan is a a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Rutgers University and earned a DDS degree from the University of Texas. She also holds a master of public health degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Dolan’s areas of specialization are in dental public health and health services research, as well as gerontology and geriatric dentistry. Among a multitude of honors, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Dental Health Services Research Scholar and also completed a Veterans Administration Fellowship in Geriatric Dentistry.