Updates in Dental Medicine: Team Building & Conflict Management

updates_in_dental_medicine-200On April 5, 2013, faculty and students gathered at the Boston Common Hotel and Conference Center for the second annual “Updates in Dental Medicine.” The “Updates” are part of a continuing faculty development series designed to meet the self-assessed needs of the Faculty. “Dr. Neal Fleisher and I worked closely with the GSDM Faculty Development Task Force and the ADEA Academy for Academic Leadership (AAL) in structuring the series” said Dr. Judith Jones, co-Chair of the Task force on Faculty Development.

In the morning, Dr. Clyde Evans of CE Consulting led the group in a team building interactive workshop. Dr. Paula O’Neill—professor of Diagnostic Sciences and Associate Dean for Educational Research and Professional Development at University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Dentistry—led the group in a conflict management and case-based conflict resolution workshop in the afternoon.

Dr. Evans outlined fundamental principles and attributes of high performing teams along with the roles and responsibilities of team members. The faculty and students worked in small groups to experience and practice the principles and dynamics of teambuilding.

Dr. O’Neill discussed the situation of conflict and related behaviors, feelings, and consequences and outlined strategies for considering the viewpoint of others in a conflict. She also discussed conflict resolution tactics between individuals, small groups, and organizations, and looked at personal preferences toward conflict management as indicated by the Thomas Kilman Instrument (TKI).

Attendees of the workshops engaged in lively discussion and debate on the topics at hand in a constructive day of collaboration.

Director of Group Practice and Clinical Associate Professor of General Dentistry Dr. David Russell said:

At its very heart, the individual practices, in the upcoming pre-doctoral group practice model, are a team of individuals united to care for an individual patient. The team of care givers are general dentists, specialists, teachers, students, and supporting staff that form a dynamic group dedicated to their common interest, the patient. The recent workshop on April 5, in a most timely way, helped us to understand the fundamental principles and attributes of high performing teams. Additionally, in any diverse team, such as a group dental practice, there is bound to be differences of opinion and even conflict. The conflict management portion of the workshop discussed important strategies to recognize and consider another person’s viewpoint. We will benefit from both programs as we embark on this new and exciting project.

Said Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter, “These workshops are an excellent step forward in our progress toward fulfilling Goal 8 of our Applied Strategic Plan: ‘Recruit and retain an excellent and diverse faculty and staff.’ I am pleased to witness such an engaged gathering of Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine faculty and students.”

Photos are available on Facebook and Flickr.