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Podcast: What dentists need to know about sleep medicine

Hello and welcome to Ascent Dental Radio. A program dedicated to the balance between the clinical aspect of health care and the business of health care. And now here is your host, Dr. Kevin Coughlin.

Welcome. You’re listening to Ascent Radio. This is Dr. Kevin Coughlin. You can hear this podcast on Ascent-Dental-Solutions, where the focus is on knowledge, development, training and education. Today’s podcast is for dentists and for the lay public that is interested in learning more about sleep medicine. I want to first, before I get started, give a congratulations and a big thank you to Mr. Doug Foresta. His company, Stand Out and Be Heard, has produced over 30 of these dental podcasts for me and the production and the effort is tremendous. Thank you so much, Doug.

My name is Dr. Kevin Coughlin and this is Ascent Radio. Today, the topic is sleep medicine. Sleep medicine started back in 1895. So it is not new, but it is new to the dental profession. And it appears to me that each year sleep medicine is becoming more and more important, not only for the dental facilities to provide care and service in this area, but for the public to be informed.

Some statistics that may shock us; number one, sleep disorders are more common than asthma and diabetes combined. This means that it is affecting tens of millions of people. You may not be aware of it, but 20 percent of all motor vehicle accidents are associated because of sleep deprivation. The driver is tired, they’re not alert and there’s a motor vehicle accident.

Some notable issues that were associated with sleep deprivation were the Three Mile Island plant that almost blew up, the Challenger, which did blow up. All of these events and in particular motor vehicle and truck accidents, occur between the hours of 1:00 am and 7:00 am. And this is because tens of millions of people are not getting the proper amount of sleep.

Some systemic issues that are associated with sleep deprivation are hypertension or high blood pressure, stroke, dementia, loss of memory, loss of alertness, a decrease in memory, a decrease in alertness. All of these factors have an effect on our ability to perform at a high level and feel good about our overall health.

How does this relate to dentistry? First of all, the American Association of Sleep Medicine is considered the governing body. It provides guidelines and the standard of care for dentists and physicians to follow to provide the public with the highest level of education and with the proper processes and procedures to help our population address this chronic, severe problem of sleep deprivation.

In lay terms, most people consider going to a dentist for snoring. Their significant other is disturbed and irritated because the individual snores and that snoring creates a situation which is uncomfortable and embarrassing.

In reality, the proper process and procedures to provide excellent care in sleep medicine is the following; first and foremost, you should seek out a dentist that either has certification, designation or a minimum of 25 hours of training in the appropriate sleep medicine courses.

Many dentists provide sleep medicine care and treatment, but most do not have the designation, the certification or the minimum requirements and as a lay person, you may want to seek out those qualifications. This certainly doesn’t mean that a dentist that doesn’t have these qualifications can’t provide adequate care and service, but first and foremost, you may want to consider those three options in choosing a dentist to provide this care.

The next thing to look at is how is sleep dentistry provided today in the United States. Many times, there’s confusion and the lack of ideal care and service. Step one, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine is the patient must have what is called a PSG, or a polysomnogram. This is a level one sleep study done in an area hospital where the individual stays overnight and their eye movement, muscle movement and cardiac evaluation is constantly monitored along with their blood pressure, their inspiration, expiration and a combination of all these factors will determine whether the correct diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea is present or not present.

By definition, obstructive sleep apnea is determined by the number of times an individual stops breathing during their nighttime sleep. As a general rule, between zero and five is considered normal, between five and 15 is considered mild obstructive sleep apnea, between 15 and 30 is considered moderate obstructive sleep apnea and above 30 to 60 episodes is considered severe. It’s critical that this proper diagnosis be made.

In most cases, this is going to be done by a physician in a sleep facility and in most cases, it will be covered by your medical insurance and in most cases, the gold standard of treatment at present time is called CPAP, which stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. In 2017, the C has been dropped and now the correct verbiage would be PAP or Positive Airway Pressure because some of the newer CPAP machines do not provide continuous positive airway pressure, but it comes intermittently and some patients respond better.

It is critical for the lay and professional individuals to make a proper diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea. If in actuality you do have this condition, this condition can be life-threatening. It can increase your chances of stroke, hypertension, diabetes, memory loss, physical activity, concentration and alertness along with a decrease in your autoimmune or your ability to fight diseases. I bring this up because many times we as dentists will simply treat the patient for a snoring disorder. In order to follow the appropriate guidelines by the American Association of Sleep Medicine, you shouldn’t be taking that course of action, in my opinion, and in many others in this field.

Step one is make sure the PSG study is done. Once you’ve been diagnosed, the gold standard, as discussed earlier, is the CPAP unit. However, 80 to 85 percent of the public are unable to tolerate the CPAP unit. They find it constrictive, some people feel claustrophobic, people find it difficult to sleep. Generally, most people have the most difficult time during their first seven to 14 days. If you can get by those seven to 14 days, usually, most people adapt and they’re quite comfortable with the CPAP unit. However, the vast majority of patients don’t make it those 14 days and are looking for alternatives. And those alternatives from a dental standpoint, in most cases, are what we call Intraoral Devices or Mandibular Advancement Devices. Mandible standing for the lower jaw.

There are an entire slew of perhaps 75 intraoral appliances and they all have advantages and disadvantages. But in sum and substance, the major driving force is the appliances should be comfortable. They should fit well. They should be able to advance your lower jaw in increments of one millimeter or more. They should be easily adapted and changed based on your particular needs.

I’m not going to waste time and energy going through each individual device, but suffice it to say that the intraoral appliance many times could act and provide as much success in obstructive sleep apnea as the CPAP unit when it comes to mild and moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea.

For those individuals who have severe obstructive sleep apnea, the gold standard is still the CPAP unit. However, for those patients who can’t tolerate it or refuse to use it, they’re still much better off with an intraoral appliance. Keep in mind that these intraoral appliances should last at least three years or longer. In most cases, the fees will range anywhere from $800 to $2,200. The reason for the vast variety of fees depends on the type of appliance and whether the adjustment visits are associated with the overall cost of the appliance.

In most cases, the correct process and procedure is the dentist will deliver the intraoral appliance. It’s first constructed by impressions of the top and bottom jaw. Those impressions are done in the dental office and then a construction bite is taken with the lower jaw in a protrusive or forward position. Generally, the upper and lower teeth are separated between two and five millimeters. And generally within seven to 14 days, the appliance is fabricated either in the dental office or at a professional dental laboratory.

The device is then delivered to the patient, and in most cases, the patient should be seen within seven to ten days to make any additional adjustments to make sure that the patient is comfortable.

Common complaints with the intraoral appliance are that patients will state that their teeth are a little sore in the morning. Their temporomandibular joints may be a little uncomfortable from the protrusive force placed on by the appliances. Overall, the results tend to be good to excellent, but keep in mind the subjective findings are not good enough according to meet the standard of care.

After the adjustments to the appliance have been made and the patient feels more rested, more comfortable and their significant other states that they hear less snoring or no snoring at all, the correct process and procedure is to have a follow-up PSG examination so that we can look at the objective studies and determine ocular movement, which is an EOG, muscular movement which is an EMG, and brain waves and cardiac issues which are an ECG or an EKG. The reason for this is we’re looking for objective evaluations to determine that the intraoral appliance is providing the high level of care and service to improve your overall health.

Keep in mind that there’s nothing that will make you feel better than a good night sleep. We’ve been providing intraoral appliances for sleep disorders for many years now and it is amazing to me how much better patients state they feel, how much better and more alert they are after the use of an intraoral appliance or a CPAP unit.

Keep in mind that there are some specific things that can be done to reduce your need for each of these devices. Number one for a female, you should try to keep the diameter of your neck less than 14 inches. For a male, less than 17 inches. Your base body mass index should be less than 30.

Losing five to ten percent of your body weight will significantly improve or reduce the need for an intraoral device or an extra-oral device. These are things that really can not only improve your overall health, but reduce or eliminate the snoring.

Keep in mind that all patients that are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea they all snore, but all people who snore do not have obstructive sleep apnea. By definition, apnea simply means the sensation and lack of breathing for a duration of five to ten seconds or longer. They are significantly different than a snoring event and that’s why the correct diagnosis is imperative.

Keep in mind that this information, along with other information, will be brought to you in future podcasts. For those individuals that are suffering from snoring, in summary, get the proper diagnosis first and then if the CPAP is effective, go forward and if it is not, consider seeing your dentist who has certification, designation or a minimum requirement of 25 hours or more in continuing education devoted strictly to sleep medicine.

A simple trick for our listeners to determine whether an intraoral device would be effective at eliminating or reducing snoring is as follows; make the snore sound. Just sitting in your car right now or sitting at home, make that snore sound [snores] now take your lower jaw and move it forward as far as you can and attempt to make that same sound and you’ll find that if you can, then more than likely, the intraoral appliance is the root to go and you will have an effective and successful result and save yourself thousands of dollars and hours of time. I</span

t’s a simple trick that most of us can us at home. And the reason I explain it this way is sometimes snoring and sleep apnea is caused by an upper airway or nasal passage obstruction. When that’s the case, an intraoral appliance would be much less effective or not effective at all.

Another cause of sleep apnea or snoring is some kind of central nervous system disorder. And again, in most cases, an intraoral appliance will not be effective. However, overall, over 90 percent of all sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea is caused by occlusion of the oral cavity or back of the throat by the tongue. By bringing the lower jaw or mandible forward, the tongue is advanced forward and the airway is open.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s podcast. You’ve been listening to Dr. Kevin Coughlin and this is Ascent Radio and you could get more information on my website www.ascent-dental-solutions.com.

And again, my thanks to Stand Out and Be Heard, Mr. Doug Foresta, who’s produced this podcast. Thanks again and I look forward to talking to you soon.

Formula for a great dental practice: S.P.E.C.I.A.L.

I have one word to help you build a great practice.

It’s special. Well actually, it’s S-P-E-C-I-A-L, bold letters and period too.

It’s no ordinary special. It’s a special special.

Confused? Sure you are. Let me explain.

The letter S stands for scheduling.

Having firm control of your schedule is essential to delivering great service. The single biggest mistake I see in many practices – including the 14 I own – are issues about either being scheduled too lightly or too heavily.

The second letter is P for Production.

It’s about understanding net production and what you’re writing off with insurance companies, government plans and such. In the end, it’s critical to have a profitable end-of-day and end-of-month bottom line.

E is for Education. Training, education and communication should never end. It starts with a morning meeting, continues with a pickup in the afternoon and the day should end with a meeting. This ongoing training and education should be built on proven successful processes and procedures.

C is about Collection. If the dollars are not collected for procedures done, your practice will fail. You have to ensure you have enough profit to expand and improve your staff and business. Collection is the gasoline for the engine, and you must understand that the goal is to collect 100 percent of what’s owed to you.

I stands for Insurance. You, your team, your managed service organization and especially your front desk personnel must clearly understand the differences between insurance plans because different plans have different reimbursements.

A stands for Accounts Receivable. I use the rule of 45 days meaning that if your net production is,45 days, your accounts receivable should ensure payments are made within 45 days.

So if your net production is $100,000 a month, then your accounts receivable should be approximately $150,000. If the accounts receivable are in excess of that, your policies and procedures are not working or they’re not being implemented.

Lastly, L stands for Liability. My personal opinion is there is no better way to reduce your liability than having written treatment plans that are signed and agreed to by your patients. Failure to get signed treatment plans that clearly state risks, benefits, options, and costs is a mistake that will cost you time, money, stress and aggravation.

So that is S-P-E-C-I-A-L. I can assure you it will be special to you if you follow each letter, day after day.

If you want to learn how to be special and more, don’t hesitate to contact me at drkevin@ascent-dental-solutions.com or at www.ascent-dental-solutions.com.

Podcast: Doug Foresta on how podcasting can help your dental practice


Hello and welcome to Ascent Dental Radio. A program dedicated to the balance between the clinical aspect of health care and the business of health care. And now here is your host, Dr. Kevin Coughlin.

Kevin: This is Dr. Kevin Coughlin, owner and creator of Ascent-Dental-Solutions, with a focus on education, development, training and coaching. I’m excited today to bring to you a guest, Mr. Doug Foresta, who specializes in podcasting for businesses.

In full disclosure, I created Ascent Dental Solutions sometime ago and noticed that it was spattering. And after meeting Mr. Foresta, he introduced me to the concept of podcasting and what it could do for my business. And I cannot explain how it has rocketed to a more successful level that I never dreamed possible. With no further ado, I’d like to introduce Mr. Doug Foresta. Doug, thanks so much for taking time with this podcast. Can you just give me a little background about yourself and the business, please?

Doug: Thank you so much, Kevin, and thanks for having me on. When I first started podcasting, I didn’t even know what podcasting was. I moved here to Massachusetts from New York in my late 20s and went back to school, became a therapist and I wanted to get the word out about what I was doing and the work I was doing and thought I would go into radio.

At the time, I was working with a business coach and I said, “Why don’t I go into radio?” And she said to me, “Do you know anything about radio?” And I said no. She said, “Do you have any connections in radio?” And I said no, and she said, “Why don’t you try podcasting?” And I said, “What is podcasting?”

I started off podcasting as a way to get my own messaging out and overtime people started asking me how do you do that, how do you do podcasting, can you help me with podcasting? I never thought when I started doing it that I would be helping anyone else. It was never my intention to do that. But as I found it to be very effective, other people wanted help with it and so here I am.

Kevin: We’re glad you’re here and we’re excited about not only what you’ve done for my business, but what you can do for other businesses. Could you briefly explain the diverse clients that you’re currently dealing with?

Doug: Sure. One of the nice things about podcasting is it works for such a wide range of people and organizations. I can tell you that I currently have a large portfolio of clients in government and nonprofit, probably because of my social work background. But I produce podcasts for the National Association of Workforce boards, California National Association, San Diego Metro Career Centers as well as lots of speakers and coaches and authors.

I’ve trained literally hundreds of speakers and coaches from all over the world to do podcasting. And I produce podcasts for people including speakers, including Jennifer Brown who is a inclusion and diversity expert and many other coaches, speakers, authors.

I think that the common thread between all of the different organizations and people that I help is a desire to create some type of positive change in the world. So that probably would be the common thread.

But that’s what’s so cool about podcasting is that whether you’re a nonprofit organization, a profit, I also produce podcasts for Insurance Licensing Services of America, so truly quite a wide range of people and organizations. But again, I think the common thread being a theme of creating positive change in the world and the desire to use podcasting as a way to get the message out in a larger way.

Kevin: I know most of our listeners are in the healthcare industry, and in particular with an emphasis on oral health and dentistry. But one of the things that I found that was so amazing with the podcast is the diversity of the listeners and the contacts that I’ve been able to make with your expertise and your knowledge.

Just briefly, I was able to do a podcast with Ms. Debra Rowe who has just a phenomenon background and expertise in communication and health care, along with several other individuals. In particular, I’m now talking to the Kellogg Foundation on oral health and how to improve it for children.

Recently, we did a podcast with Judith Brown who coaches, teaches and consults on inclusion in the office for Fortune 500 companies. All of this would not have occurred without the expertise of your business, your contacts and podcasting in particular. Is that common or have I just been exceptionally lucky?

Doug: One of the things that I think people don’t realize about podcasting, people ask me what’s the difference between podcasting and radio, I think one of the ways of looking at podcasting is absolutely it’s a broadcasting tool, but it’s also an amazing networking tool.

I’ll tell you when I realized this was, I remember I was sitting in Barnes & Noble — we live in western Massachusetts — I was in a Barnes & Noble in Holyoke, Massachusetts and I was reading a book called Imagination First by Scott Noppe-Brandon and this book was talking about the power of imagination and education and workforce. And I thought to myself boy, I’d love to get involved with the work that they’re doing and I thought I’d love to interview the author.

The thing is that the author of that book, Scott, was at the time the executive director of the Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts and I thought well, there’s no way that they’re going to come on my podcast. But I reached out and almost immediately I heard back from them. And it was really funny because I thought why would they do this?

We did the interview, it went really well and afterwards I thought I’d like to run one of these imagination conversations that they have. At the time, they were doing these conversations all across the United States in every state and so I reached out, they said, “Well, we already did one with the governor of Massachusetts.” And I thought, well I’m not the governor but I thought what about doing one in the western part of the state.

From that, I was able to facilitate an imagination conversation. From that, I was then invited to something called America’s Imagination Summit and there were all of these amazing people there. There were NASA astronauts, the people from IDEO, all these amazing companies and organizations, Deepak Chopra was there, Sir Ken Robinson whose TED Talk has been watched more than any other TED Talk.

When I went there, I said, “Hi, my name is Doug Foresta,” and they said, “Oh, we recognize you from your podcast,” and that’s when I realized the power that podcasting has in terms of being able to get the word out and connect with other people.

So yes, podcasting is a great broadcast tool, but it’s also a great way to get access and to meet people that you would just never meet otherwise. And for that reason alone, I think podcasting is such a powerful tool.

Kevin: I would say I’m 100 percent convinced of that analogy. I’ve seen it in my own business, Ascent Dental Solutions. Let me ask you another question, Doug. Is there particular metrics that someone new to podcasting like myself and people listening if they wanted to go in it, do you expect 50 people to listen to the podcast, 50 million people? Is there a way or a metric system to determine how powerful this is and is it working for you as an individual or a group?

Doug: That’s a really great question and I could tell you that the average number of downloads, according to Libsyn, which is a leading podcast hosting service, the average number of downloads for a podcast episode over 30 days is 160 downloads. So that gives you some kind of idea of a metric of if you’re doing better than that, you’re doing better than average. But it really is a good question because one of the first things that I ask clients to think about when they start a podcast is what does success mean for you.

For me when I first started with podcasting, I wasn’t really worried about making money from it. I wanted to get my message out in a bigger way, I wanted to build up thought leadership. But for other people, it might be podcasting is a way to get more opens for your email list, which might ultimately mean that you’re trying to sell more products and services, get more clients.

So it really depends. You have to decide for yourself. Some of the organizations that I work with that are nonprofits, definitely their goal isn’t necessarily the goal of making more money, but it might be getting more people to utilize their services or staying top of mind with clients.

So you really have to decide for yourself what does success look like for you. And actually my number one piece of advice before you start a podcast is to really think about it and make sure that you know what success looks like for you. Because otherwise, let’s say if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.

So it’s really important to decide for yourself what that metric of success is, but certainly you can watch the downloads and see if you’re growing your listener base and audience base. That should certainly be at least one part of that metric of success.

Kevin: For some of the listeners here that may not be familiar with podcast, this podcast, how does the vast majority of people download it? What are the actual steps and systems to download a podcast so that the listeners have access?

Doug: That’s another great question, Kevin. What I can tell you is that iTunes is definitely the primary way. From what we know from watching the statistics is that iTunes is the king of podcasting. People are accessing iTunes via their iPhones and now we have, as well, iHeartRadio, Google Play, Stitcher Radio which are allowing people to listen from their android phones.

Podcasting is definitely mobile. I would say that that’s one of the nice things about podcasting is you can download it to your mobile device and listen to it on your tablet, your iPad, your iPhone or your android phone whenever you want.

Having said that, one of the things I hear people say is what if I have an audience that isn’t really mobile savvy? What I have found is that we can get people to listen to your podcast in a variety of ways. You can send it out as a link in an email, I definitely recommend doing this, putting it as a player on your website.

So even for people who, let’s say, aren’t that savvy with getting a podcast off of iTunes and don’t normally listen to podcast, if you put that podcast on your website, put that player there, that gives you an opportunity for people to very easily just click on a player and be able to listen to a podcast, even if they don’t go to iTunes. So really depending on your audience you can tailor the ways that people do listen to your podcast.

Kevin: That’s a nice segue because almost every dentist and health care provider that I’m aware of they have a website. So you strongly recommend that the podcast be downloaded to the website so that there’s access to it, not only along with iTunes and iHeart, but also on their particular website?

Doug: Absolutely. I definitely recommend putting the podcast on your website. Because again, some people are going to find you on iTunes and Google Play and these other ways, but if you’re getting traffic to your website, you’ve got a built-in audience of people that are already going to your website. Just make it clear, make it easy for them to find and click on and that’s a great way to just get a head-start in building that listener base.

Kevin: I suppose my business with 14 dental practices, practicing dentistry full time for the last 30 somewhat years, most of the dental offices that I’m associated with, we have some kind of marketing in the reception room.

We have flat screen TVs which promote products, services and care and we promote this podcast on those flat screen TVs so when people are sitting in the reception room, they have the ability to hear different topics. Would you recommend that also?

Doug: Right. The bottom line is go where people are. If you know that that’s where your audience is, go where they are. That’s just a great marketing principle in general. Absolutely.

Kevin: Some short facts about podcasting. I know when you were coaching me, introducing me into the strength of podcasting, generally you want to keep the podcast at what timeframe for an average listener?

Doug: What the data tells us from medicine research is that there’s a drop-off after about 22 minutes of podcast listenership which really correlates to the average American commute. My recommendation is good average podcast like this, 22 minutes. People can then subscribe on Stitcher Radio, soon to be an iHeartRadio, Google Play, et cetera. If people are listening and they want to go to do that.

Kevin: And we’re trying to expose the health care profession in general, but dentistry in particular, the power and the strength of promoting a message that’s interesting to the general public and to our peers. And I can tell you with 14 dental practices, 150 employees and practicing dentistry full time for the last 34 years, there’s very few things that I found that has created the reach and the power of podcasting.

And I have to give a plug and full disclosure. I could tell you until I met Mr. Foresta, I met Doug, he coached me, we talked about it, we came up with a strategy, it’s been a tremendous shot in the arm for my personal self-satisfaction and the business. And I have no one to thank, but you. And I say that publicly and I say it in private. How can people get in touch with you, Doug, if they need additional information or perhaps your expertise developing their podcast?

Doug: They can go to www.dougforesta.net and if they go there, they can actually get a free gift there. So they can go to, again, www.dougforesta.net. They can also email me at dougforesta@gmail.com.

Kevin: I don’t want to put you on the spot, but as we get ready to close today’s podcast, can you give the listeners a general cost? What kind of investment would someone have to make to start this podcast and get things rolling? Do you mind answering that question?

Doug: I can tell you that you can certainly learn this yourself, but it is something that you have to think about your time and whether it’s worth it for you. If you’re a dentist and your job is your business, do you want to stop what you’re doing to learn podcasting? In the beginning, I used to teach people podcasting, but it was really clear that people didn’t want to learn how to do the technical aspects of podcasting. They just wanted it done. So primarily, now that’s how I work with people, is we handle all the backend, me and my team handle the backend of things so you don’t have to take time out of your business to learn podcasting.

The other thing I would tell you is, first of all, I tell people not to look at it as an additive cost, but rather to think of it as how could I switch over some of my marketing dollars from things that I’m doing in more traditional marketing to podcasting which has a longer shelf life than a flier or a brochure. And I could also tell you that it really is very cost-effective when you think about comparing it to having a professional video done.

You could literally have a year of podcasting for what it would cost you maybe to produce one or two professional videos. So very cost-effective. And like I said, one of the things that I do is help you so that, if you really decide podcasting is right for you, you don’t have to waste your time, which is money, learning podcasting, learning the technical aspects of podcasting.

Kevin: Just one last point I’d like to make; what I’ve personally learned is the frequency of the podcasts are also important. And as I’m doing my own research and getting more familiar with the podcast system, someone who does a podcast once every other year isn’t as effective and yet some people do ten podcasts a day, that also may not be effective. In your expertise, what’s perhaps the best rate to promote a podcast, the number of times it should be done in a week, a month or year?

Doug: I often say that podcasting is like exercise. If you go to the gym once, you say I tried that, it didn’t work. Podcasting is not one of those things that you can do once or twice and then walk away from it. The most important thing is consistency. I have organizations that do podcasting once a month, but they do it consistently and they do well with it. I would recommend at least once a month, ideally twice a month. And what I tell people is try it twice a month, see if you like it, and then you could move to weekly if you think that it’s something that you really want to do.

But even if you do it once a month, you’ve just got to be consistent about releasing it at the same time every month. And when you do, you’re definitely going to see more results with two podcasts a month than one podcast a month. So consistency and don’t overwhelm yourself, but give it some time and allow yourself to see what the results are.

Kevin: Doug, I want to thank you so much for your expertise. I want to thank you personally for what you’ve done for me and my company, Ascent-Dental-Solutions. I hope our listeners have enjoyed tonight’s podcast and I look forward to talking to you in the future.

If you have any questions or comments about how you can be helped by Ascent-Dental-Solutions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me and my contacts. Thank you again, Doug, for a wonderful evening and I appreciate your expertise.

Doug: Thank you so much.

Podcast: Kim Ades on the mindset secrets of successful dentists


Hello and welcome to Ascent Dental Radio. A program dedicated to the balance between the clinical aspect of health care and the business of health care. And now here is your host, Dr. Kevin Coughlin.

Kevin: Good afternoon. You’re listening to Ascent Radio. This is Ascent-Dental-Solutions with a focus on knowledge, consultation, development and training. My name is Dr. Kevin Coughlin and I’m excited to introduce you to our guest, Ms. Kim Ades. Kim is President and Founder of FOM, which stands for Frame of Mind Coaching.

Her focus is that she’s an author, a speaker, an entrepreneur, a coach and perhaps most important of all, a mother of five. Kim has been recognized as one of North American’s foremost experts on performance through thought mastery.

By using her unique process of integrating online journaling and her coaching, Kim will help the dental profession and health care profession in general improve not only their company, their personal lives, but their team members that support their company.

Kim, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to be with me. Can you tell us a little bit more about Frame of Mind and when you started it and why you started it?

Kim: I’ve been at this for about 11 years. I coach highly driven entrepreneurs, executives, professionals, that type of population, but I started it at the time because I found that there was a gap in the coaching industry.

I found that most coaching companies were focused on helping people achieve goals through the process of managing their behaviors or giving them a list of things to do or creating a strategic plan and then holding them accountable to that plan. And my feeling was that these professionals are pretty driven. They know what to do, but for some reason, something prevents them from doing the things they know that will help them achieve their goals.

And I realized that that has something to do with the way they think. Perhaps it has to do with their belief systems, their perspectives or their emotional resilience and I decided to create a company that focuses exclusively on helping people get past whatever it is that prevents them from achieving their goals. That’s where Frame of Mind Coaching started.

Kevin: I could tell you I would consider myself an expert in the field of dentistry. And as a wet thinker dentist myself, I could tell you that sometimes we’re so overwhelmed. We’re wearing so many hats; we’re businessmen and women, we’re health care providers, we’re psychologists with our staff, we’re emptying the trash. We’re doing a thousand things at one time and perhaps most difficult is running the business of dentistry, dealing with finances and insurance.

As I got more familiar with your company and with you, this mastery of your thought process, of using your mind and controlling your ambitions and your desires really struck a chord with me and I think it’s going to strike a chord with many of our listeners today. Can you explain a little bit about the importance of journaling and actually what does it mean and how does your company use it?

Kim: When we coach people, we start with a six-month process, but it’s the first ten weeks that are really paramount. Here’s what happens in the first ten weeks; there’s a call once a week and every call is recorded. We ask our clients to listen to the recording. The reason we do that is so that they can start to hear how they show up. The language they use, the speed at which they speak, the intonation, the stories they tell over and over again. And really they can start to become observers of their thinking and how their thinking sometimes holds them back and often times propels them forward.

So that’s part A, but part B is the journaling aspect which you asked me about. Every single day for those first ten weeks, we ask our clients to journal in an online journal. No days off, no weekends, no vacations. The reason we do that is because we want to see how our clients think across situations, across relationships, across environments.

Because the way you think in one place will transmit or transport to another place. And so we really want to examine how a person’s thinking affects them and their outcomes. And so we ask them to journal and share with us what’s going on for them. We ask specific questions and they respond. But they’re in contact with their coach — I have a team of coaches — every single day for those first ten weeks. So it’s profound.

What does journaling do? It allows us to get a big download of data that, for the coach, enables them to examine what are these patterns that get you tripped up, that cause problems for you. The philosophy is the way you think has more impact on everything that you touch, you see, you smell, on every outcome that you have than any other factor.

So if you want to change something about your life, before taking massive action, we want to examine the thinking that causes you to act and behave the way you do.

Kevin: Kim, I was particularly struck by Frame of Mind, I know you’re the president of the company, but the core values of your company. Could you just touch on what those core values are and what they mean to you as President and CEO of Frame of Mind?

Kim: Of course. We have five core values. We talk about them all the time with our team and they transmit into everything we do with our clients.

  1. Personal Growth: As coaches, we’re committed to our own personal growth, but as service providers, we’re committed to the personal growth of our clients. The philosophy there is that if we’re not growing as coaches, it’s very, very difficult to be of assistance to our clients. So personal growth is a huge value of ours. 
  2. Leadership Impact: Always, we look at it from two perspectives. We want to work with leaders who have a ripple effect on their communities, on their families, on their businesses, on their industry. So it’s who we work with that’s important, but as a coaching company, we want to play a very important role in the coaching world and provide a methodology, a philosophy that has a profound effect and really turns the coaching industry around. So we play in the role of leadership. 
  3. Innovation: We like to be at the leading edge of innovation in terms of our perspective of coaching, in terms of our approach to coaching and the technical platform we use. We want to be innovative and we want to explore ideas that haven’t been explored before and also put things on the table that for most people they feel are challenging. We want to challenge status quo. And so we’re very eager to do that in an innovative way. 
  4. Generosity: When I talk about generosity, it’s not only financial generosity, but we believe in generosity of time, generosity of spirit, and really as coaches, giving everything that we have to give to our clients. So if we have an expertise in something, let’s pretend it’s knitting, that we would share with our clients. But if our clients are in a desperate situation and they don’t have a call scheduled, we will give them our time generously. So that idea of generosity, give what we have to our clients. 
  5. Intimacy: I think in many ways, this is one of the most important values. The philosophy is this, is that the relationship that exists between coach and client is critical for client movement, development and achievement. And only when the client can really trust the coach that that could happen. And so that intimate relationship is crucial. That is why our coaches and our clients are in contact every single day, that’s why they go deep, that’s why it’s a two-way relationship as opposed to an arm’s length relationship and that’s why intimacy is so important for our clients. But even internally as a company, that it’s a company that is here designed where coaches support one another and we’re growing together.

Kevin: When you mention the intimacy, I’m struck by it because you’re really creating an atmosphere of trust. You want to believe in these people, like these people and trust these people. What I call the BLT. And you’re sharing some secrets, not only about your business, but your personal life.

In your experience over the last 11 years of being the President of Frame of Mind Coaching, what do you find is the single strongest event that’s preventing your clients from getting from point A to point B?

Kim: It’s interesting that you ask what is the single strongest event and I would say it’s not an event because an event for you may have a different impact as it might have for me and it may be the same event. So it’s not so much what event has the biggest impact, but what belief has the strongest impact or what type of thinking prevents clients from moving forward to the greatest extent.

So what we find is that people have a set of beliefs they have maybe inherited or picked up or absorbed along the way and those beliefs severely inhibit their progress. It could be something like I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t have the expertise. I don’t have the education. I’m not good looking enough. Who would trust me or who would give me their money, or whatever it is, but it’s usually around the idea of self-doubt; I’m not good enough, I’m not enough and I don’t deserve it. It’s around that.

That’s the biggest one that shows up over and over and over again. What we see is extensions of that, but that’s the core issue that keeps popping up.

Kevin: What do you think the root cause of that is, Kim? Is it the way we’re brought up, is it the environment, is it the circumstances that we’ve gone through in our personal and business life? In your expertise, is there something you can share with the audience and maybe some of our listeners will strike a chord and connect and get over these…?

Kim: It’s all of that. It’s the way you were brought up, it’s the experiences you have, it’s the relationships you have, it’s the messages you’ve receive. And really what it is it’s the meaning you assign to the experiences you have. But one of the things that I find over and over again, you talked about how you were brought up. Do you have children, by the way?

Kevin: Yes. I have three young adults now.

Kim: Young adults. But when your children were young, and I see a lot of parents right now with young children, when our children are young and perhaps you can remember when you were young as well, our parents they take pride in their ability to raise you right. And what they do is they influence you, they impart their wisdom, you could say. And how do they impart their wisdom?

By telling you what to do; go brush your teeth, go to bed, you need to get good sleep otherwise you won’t be able to function in the morning, you better eat your dinner before you have dessert. And so what do parents do? And again, their intentions are 100 percent pure and good. That they want to influence you in a positive way to be healthy, successful and well-adjusted human beings, but what parents do, inadvertently, is they give instruction for pretty much everything.

And so what do we actually want for our children? We want them to grow up to be great decision makers, to be contributing citizens, to be confident, to be successful, to have wonderful relationships. But as parents, we interfere in the process of allowing their confidence to develop, of allowing them to make their own decisions.

I’ll give you an example. How many times do we tell our children don’t eat too much candy? You should only eat X amount, and we don’t give our children a method to self-regulate and that ends up affecting them long, long into life.

Kevin: I could tell you through personal experience. My mom and dad, who are both alive and in their 80s, for as long as I can remember, they always said, “I’ll trust your judgment. I’m sure you’ll make the right decision and if you don’t, you’ll make the corrections to make a better decision.”

Once I had my own family, my wife and I, it’s very difficult, at least for me in particular, to not impart what I think they should be doing. Why they should be doing it. And I never realized how difficult a task it was, but by luck or happenstance, my parents had always done that and I think it’s helped me and my brother dramatically.

Kim, as far as Frame of Mind and your coaching, your participants, your clients, do they stay with the same coach or do you mix coaches up depending on particular aspects of your client’s desires? How does that work in your company?

Kim: No, they stay with the same coach the whole time and only if after they finish a minimum of six months, many times people go on for years and years, but after they finish their first six months, some of them choose to learn how to coach.

We train people in the Frame of Mind Coaching method and really equip leaders and parents and outgaining coaches how to incorporate critical coaching skills in their business and personal lives. And so they come for training and in that case, I do the training. So usually, they have their coach and then if they’re ready for certification and learning how to coach, again, not everybody wants to do that, but for those who do, I do the coaching.

Kevin: For our listeners, what’s the best way for them to contact Frame of Mind Coaching? Your website, maybe you can spend a little bit of time and go through that.

Kim: Best way to contact us is www.frameofmindcoaching.com. One of the most interesting things on that website is there’s an assessment. It allows you to assess your thinking at this point in time.

One of the things that I explain to people is that if you want to make massive change, before you start engaging in a big plan or start taking massive action, it’s super important to understand where your starting point is, what direction are you facing.

And so that assessment allows you to stop for a minute and take a snapshot of where you are right now in order for you to understand where you want to go and how to get there. So that Frame of Mind Coaching assessment is a really great exploratory tool, great beginning place for anyone who wants to visit.

Kevin: You know what I noticed about your website and about company in particular, and maybe you could comment on this, is that so many times the CEO or the CFO or the leader or the president, we look to these kind of experts such as yourself to help us.

But I’m wondering isn’t it just as beneficial to that leaders, president or CEO’s team members, their employees, to get engaged to help them get the proper mindset and the proper direction and if everything works out appropriately that has to be good for your company and has to be good for your team members and employees? Am I on the right track or would you disagree with that?

Kim:  You’re 100 percent on the right track and I would even simplify it and kind of move it away from a business scenario; any person who really wants to live an extraordinary life, any person who wants to have great relationships, have great health and feel better and know that they are living passionately and in the right place, anyone like that is a candidate for Frame of Mind Coaching or coaching.

Smart CEOs understand that those people who come to work engaged and passionate and really turned on, those people are going to contribute a whole lot more. So smart CEOs say, “Yes, we need to get all our team engaged in all of this.”

Kevin: Kim, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed communicating with you, learning about your business and how you can help people like me and companies like mine. And in the dental profession in particular where I think sometimes so many of us are wearing so many hats, we don’t take time to really understand where we’re going, why we’re going in that direction and how we can improve that journey. How do our listeners reach out? How do they get in touch? What’s your website, telephone number? How can people get in touch with you?

Kim: My email address is kim@frameofmindcoaching.com, the website is www.frameofmindcoaching.com and phone number is 416-747-6900 and if you want to reach me, that’s extension 221. I want to say that there’s lots and lots of information about us on our website, blogs, videos, testimonials, all kinds of things and so I’m happy, happy to share with anyone who wants to learn more and even give you some journaling questions to think about so that you can start your own Frame of Mind exploration.

Kevin: Thank you so much. I’m sure our listeners are thoroughly enjoying your expertise and the information you shared with us. My name is Dr. Kevin Coughlin and you’re listening to Ascent Radio. This podcast along with others can be heard on www.ascent-dental-solutions.com.

I also want to give a plug to my podcast expert Mr. Doug Foresta. Without his expertise, his training and his help, none of these podcast would be available. Doug’s business is Stand Out and Be Heard: Podcast Production and Consulting and he can be contacted at dougforesta@gmail.com.

Thank you very much for listening and I look forward to speaking to you on our next podcast. I hope you enjoyed the show.

My name is Dr. Kevin Coughlin.

Podcast: Creating a special practice


Hello and welcome to Ascent Dental Radio. A program dedicated to the balance between the clinical aspect of health care and the business of health care. And now here is your host, Dr. Kevin Coughlin.

My name is Dr. Kevin Coughlin. Welcome to the following podcast which specializes in organization, development and training and education for your dental team or health care unit. The name of my website is www.ascent-dental-solutions.com. I can be reached by email at drkevin@ascent-dental-solutions.com. I hope you enjoy the following podcast.

I’ll start by stating that in almost all of the information that I share for the last 33 years of practicing dentistry and continue to practice dentistry, unfortunately, almost nothing I say is original and this particular podcast is no different.

I have been fortunate to take thousands and thousands of hours of continuing education and listened to many great thought leaders, not only in the dental profession but in the business profession and I have modified or addressed many of their comments to suit the needs of what I feel would be an ideal dental practice.

The following acronym will help you develop a special dental practice. Special spelled S-P-E-C-I-A-L.

I would ask you to remember the word special and start with the letter S, which stands for Scheduling. If your dental practice does not have control of the schedule, your life will be miserable and your results will be just as bad.

The most important concept is the time value of money. And over 33 plus years the single largest mistake I see in practice over practice in the 14 practices that I own are mistakes with the schedule, either scheduled too lightly or too heavily.

I cannot emphasize the amount of training and time that is necessary to inform your front desk managers, receptionist, team members how to schedule appropriately. There is an art to this and that art starts with the ability to profile the patient and their problem. I would strongly recommend that the individuals answering the phone should know whether the patient is a new patient or existing patient.

They should be able to determine whether they have a problem or no problem at all. If they have a problem is it top, bottom, right, left, front or back, the duration of the problem and the intensity of the problem simply by asking the following, “Mr. or Mrs. Smith, on a pain level scale of zero to ten — zero no pain, ten the most severe pain — how would you rate this?” Then you want to know the duration of the problem as you’re gathering this information which usually will take no more than three minutes on the phone.

The next issue is to be able to profile the patient with either a CareCredit check, a Wells Fargo check or some type of preliminary check for dental insurance and finance reasons to determine if it is most likely Mr. or Mrs. Smith are going to stay and want a root canal build up in crown, an implant or they’re simply going to want a prescription and deal with the problem later on or simply go for a lower type of production procedure such as an extraction because they are not interested in the time or investment in saving their teeth.

This profiling and screening of the patient will dramatically improve your schedule and dramatically improve your bottom line, but perhaps most importantly make your life much more enjoyable.

The second letter in developing a special practice is P for Production. Obviously we know production is important but keep in mind what you really want to concentrate is net production. This simply means that in many types of the software what I’ll see is the office production but not net production. This means that the dental insurance has one fee and your office has another fee.

For example, you may charge $1,500 for a PFM or Porcelain-fused high noble crown but your insurance company may only allow you to charge $950. Understanding net production and what you’re writing off with insurance companies, government plans, et cetera, is critical to have a profitable end of the day and end of the month bottom line.

The next letter is E for Education. If I could emphasize one thing, training, education and communication should never end. It starts with a morning meeting, it continues with a pickup in the afternoon and it should end with an ending meeting.

If you feel that you can communicate without really communicating, trust me your practice has problems. This ongoing training and education should be built on proven successful processes and procedures and those processes and procedures should be written, explained and understood.

Next in the word special is C and C stands for Collection. At the end of the day if the dollars are not collected for the procedures done, your practice will be a failure. You will not have enough profit to expand and improve your staff and your business. Collection is the gasoline for the engine and you must understand that the goal is to collect 100 percent of what’s being produced.

Failure to obtain that goal or have the proper processes and procedures to obtain that goal is shame on you and the results will have long term negative effects.

Next in the word special is I, and it stands for Insurance. You, your team, your managed service organization have to clearly understand the type of insurance plans and most importantly your front desk personnel because different insurance plans have different reimbursements.

As a general rule, evening hours and Saturday appointments, Sunday appointments, early morning appointments, lunch time appointments should be saved for the highest producing and production type patients possible. This means that you are dedicating your time and effort, taking away from your family and friends, you should be rewarded with the highest financial gains.

This starts by fully understanding each patient, their type of insurance and what the reimbursement is going to be for that insurance and almost more importantly, your front desk understanding what is covered, what is not covered and what your patient will be expected to provide for finance in fees.

Next in the word special is the letter A, and A stands for Accounts Receivable. Over and over again I find that the staff is completely disconnected on what healthy accounts receivable should be. I use the rule of 45 days. That simply means what your net production is, your accounts receivable should be 45 days of that.

So if your net production is $100,000 a month, then your accounts receivable should be approximately $150,000. If the accounts receivable are in excess of that, your policies and procedures are not working or they’re not being implemented. If they’re far below that, you may want to take a hard look that your financial policies may be so strict that you’re losing opportunities to provide additional care and services.

Lastly, the L stands for Liability. In all businesses, you want to reduce your liability or risk. My personal opinion is there is no better way to reduce your liability than having written treatment plans that are signed and agreed to by your patient in writing. Failure to get these signed, scanned written treatment plans that provide the risks, benefits, options, costs is a mistake that will cost you time, money, stress and aggravation.

There’s no reason in the world you cannot also have a very special practice providing you focus on scheduling, production, education, collection, insurance, accounts receivable and liability.

If you need help with the processes and procedures in these specific areas, don’t hesitate to contact me at drkevin@ascent-dental-solutions.com or at www.ascent-dental-solutions.com. My website focuses on knowledge, development, training and consultation.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the podcast and thanks so much for listening. My name is Dr. Kevin Coughlin.

Podcast: Russell Trahan on how to use publicity to grown your dental practice

Hello and welcome to Ascent Dental Radio. A program dedicated to the balance between the clinical aspect of health care and the business of health care. And now here is your host, Dr. Kevin Coughlin.

Kevin: You’re listening to Ascent Dental Solutions and Ascent Radio. I’m proud to introduce to you our thought leader today, Russell Trahan, who is owner and CEO and President of the PR/PR public relation firm. For the last 20 years, he has used his expertise in marketing and publicity, and in particular, I believe he can help the medical profession and the dental community in particular to improve our practices, improve our awareness and just overall help our businesses grow and prosper. Welcome, Russell. Thank you so much for joining us this evening.

Russell: Thank you, Dr. Coughlin. It’s my pleasure to be here.

Kevin: I understand you have some additional experiences at Stanford University that is unique for helping your business, PR/PR, and our businesses of health care in particular. Is that correct?

Russell: I did my grad work there in organizational management. Truth be told, full disclosure, I’m always very careful because you want to have truth in advertising and truth in publicity, I did my grad work there but I did not complete it. So I’m always very careful not to say that I graduated from Sanford, but I attended Stanford.

Kevin: That’s quite an honor in itself.

Russell: Thank you.

Kevin: Give the listeners a little bit of background of some of the companies that you’ve dealt with in the past.

Russell: Sure. PR/PR specializes in content experts. The client best served with our media relations is one that’s looking to position their expertise, their unique position, their controversial stance in front of their target market. Many of our clients are thought leaders in their industry, be it dental, medical, be they lawyers or business leaders, authors, particularly non-fiction authors. So anybody that wants to get name recognition in front of their target market.

Kevin: What, in your opinion, is the most effective and efficient way for us to accomplish that?

Russell: These days, it’s definitely through use of social media coupled with print media. Everybody thinks it would be sweet and sexy and everybody thinks they’ll be famous if they can get on TV or if they can get on radio. But really for that residual return on your publicity effort, online coupled with print are still the most effective.

People save magazines, they rip out pages, they bookmark, they download, they email information to friends. So to get that really long term result, because people may see your message today but not be ready to respond to it tomorrow or even next week, but when you’re online or in-print, they can always come back to it when they are ready.

But in broadcast media, which like I say, it’s great for a blip and it’s great for a spike, but next month, next week, that message is gone. So still stating online and in print is the best way to reach your target market.

Kevin:  Russ, my market is health care but dentistry in particular. There’s approximately 150,000 active practicing dentists in the United States and the average practice has between six and eight employees, revenues of between 800 and a million dollars. Is that too small a company to consider a firm like yourself or a strategy that you’re discussing?

Russell: Not at all. Really the size of their practice isn’t relevant. When publicity serves you the best, when you’re ready to start a publicity campaign or a publicity strategy is when either you’re new to the market.

Whether you’ve got one employee or six or ten, if you’re new to a market, you want to establish that name recognition. You want to position yourself in front of your potential client. Or if you are introducing a new service or you are introducing a new product. Maybe you didn’t work in a certain area before and now you’re adding that to your practice and you want to let both your established clientele and a new market know about that new service or product that you’re offering.

And also the very well established dental practice. Whether you’ve been in business for two months or two years or 20 years, you could really benefit from a publicity strategy because there are all those new dentists coming out of school and starting up their practices. So you need to maintain your name awareness in front of your established clientele as well as try to capture some new markets on occasion.

Kevin: I’ll just digress a little bit, but a story that you just jogged my memory on is approximately 17, 18 years ago, Sports Illustrated contacted me and they were interested in me doing an article on dentistry. It was a full page and at that time I think it was about $5,000. And I hummed and I hawed, I just really struggled did I want to spend that kind of money, would there be any reach for it?

And the long and short of it is, it’s just as you stated. About 18 months later, a gentleman came in with that article and he said, “I’ve been saving my money. I think that you’re an expert. I sense that you’re an expert and I’d like you to restore, not just my mouth back to normal health and function, but my wife’s.”

That gentleman spent almost $90,000 over the next six months. It just amazed me that without any prior knowledge, you hit the nail right on the head. He actually had the magazine with the article that I wrote and obviously that was a terrific return on investment. And I have not stopped marketing for my practice which now has over 100,000 patient visits a year, 14 locations and it continues to grow. And it’s thanks to people like yourself that made me think outside of the box.

If I’m not putting you on the spot, what would be a typical budget for an average dental practice? And I know there’s no such thing as average. Would you put a dollar amount on? What would you recommend?

Russell: Certainly, and I would be happy to answer that in just a moment if I can segue back to what you just said though, because it brings up an excellent point that many, I’m sure, dentists are thinking about as they’re considering publicity is they would think why do I want national press?

What good will national exposure get me? My market is here within a 50 mile radius of my practice. But how impressive was it in the eyes of your clients to see you in a national magazine? For you to use that quote “as seen in Sports Illustrated” when you are marketing to your local community? So even though you may think I’m not ready for national press or I don’t need national press because my market is local, to get that national exposure and then be that big fish in your local market pond is a wonderful way to gain that name recognition.

To answer your question directly, a good publicity campaign you’re probably going to want to budget anywhere from on the low side probably $1,000 a month anywhere up to probably $3,000 a month, depending on what combination of avenues you want to pursue. Obviously, social media, very strong, people sit down and Google everything these days.

So for you to have an online campaign positioning your name and your expertise so that when they sit down and Google “hometown dentist” your name comes up above the scroll. In the old days with newspapers you always wanted to be above the fold, but these days with everything being online, you want to be above the scroll.

And then you obviously couple that with the print media, local magazines, neighborhood newspapers, local monthly magazines as well as that national exposure. But comfortably in the range of about $1,000, you shouldn’t have to spend any more than $3,000.

Kevin: What exactly does your firm PR/PR do? I know that I’ve used you, I’m a client and I know exactly what you’re doing for me and I’m just ecstatic about the results. I’m also incredibly impressed with the expertise and professionalism, but I’m sure it’s not cookie cutter. I’m sure you are tweaking it for individual needs. Could you expand on the social media, but in particular the print media? Are these articles less than 1,000 words, more than 1,000 and so on?

Russell: Certainly, I’d be happy to. We are ecstatic with your results as well so glad to hear that you’re happy with them. You give us great content to work with so we’re glad to be able to get those results for you. The typical article these days that editors are looking for is about the 800 to 1,000 word range, about two, two and a half pages. This is longer than your average blog post which is about 300 to 500 words, so you’ve got the chance to lengthen it there to really get your point across in the 800 to 1,000 word range for the article.

Also these articles, it’s very important editors are looking for content. The editor of your local neighborhood magazine, the editor of your community monthly magazines, they are looking for content. They want educational, informational articles. It’s very important that you make them bullet-pointed, that you make them benefit-oriented, that you make them action-stepped.

These types of magazines would love articles on the top five myths of children dentistry, the top seven things you can do to make your teeth last longer. These are just off the top of my head. If you’ve got something controversial or if you’ve got a unique stance on something, that’s even better.

But then because the articles themselves are non-advertorial, the article is content driven, at the end of the article is the resource box. This is where the promotion comes in. This is where it comes in about you, your practice, your education, your specialty. This is where the call to action comes in. For more information call this number. To learn more about it, click here and you put your website on it.

That’s where the promotion is going to come in. Because when the editor realizes that you’re offering content that is going to benefit their reader, they will be more than happy to place your article for you.

Kevin: How many publications would you say on average are going out on a monthly basis? Let’s say to some of our listeners who are not as savvy with marketing and are probably just thinking about it, would it go into 10, 20, 50, 100? On average, how many magazines are reached?

Russell: In your case, since we are placing your articles into the national trade and industry and association magazines, our average for other clients is 14 placements per article. Yours are actually doing a little bit better than that because I say you’ve been giving us great content and we truly appreciate that, but focusing on that type of market typically you can get about 14 placements per article.

The way we pitch them out on a non-exclusive basis, the insurance industry doesn’t care if the restaurant industry uses it and the real estate industry doesn’t care if the landscaping industry uses it. So we can get a typical article placed into a dozen or more different magazines. If your market is different, like you said it’s not a cookie cutter system customizing it for each of our clients, that number may go up or down according to the market you’re seeking to be positioned in front of.

Kevin: Again for our listeners, I am a client of PR/PR. I’ve been extraordinarily pleased with their care and service. But just for those listening, I actually write the article. I come up with the ideas, sometimes I get some coaching and some input, and then those articles can be cleared up by the editors at PR/PR and they’re giving me points that they think maybe could be polished up or perhaps I should go into more depth or less depth and that expertise has been very insightful for me.

I can just tell you a true story, last Friday, I got a phone call from a dentist in Florida. He was interested in having me coach. He’s got four practices. He’s interested in expanding his market. He listened to the podcast, he read some of my articles on leadership and that’s a direct impact from my association with PR/PR.

Russ, as we’re getting ready to close, is there a way for our listeners to reach out either through email, Twitter, LinkedIn? How’s the best way for our listeners to get in touch with your company?

Russell: Thank you. Again, I’m so pleased that you are pleased with your results. The best way would be to visit our website www.prpr.net. My employees joke with me that whenever I say that’s Papa Romeo Papa Romeo dot net, it makes it sound like an Italian restaurant, not a publicity agency. But we are www.prpr.net. And then on the website there is a contact request form. They can give me their name, their email address, their phone number, whatever their preferred method of contact is. And write me a little note. Let me know what it is they’re looking for. Do they want to set up a call, do they just want some preliminary information? But that would be the best way to get directly in front of me is through our website www.prpr.net.  

Kevin: You’ve been listening to Russell Trahan, owner and CEO or PR/PR. My name is Dr. Kevin Coughlin, owner and producer of Ascent Radio and you’re listening to Ascent-Dental-Solutions, with a focus on knowledge, consultation, training and development.

I also want to give special thanks to Mr. Doug Foresta who has produced these podcasts over the last several months. And great thanks Russell for taking the time this evening to speak with that. I appreciate your expertise and your help and good luck in the future.

Russell: Great. Thank you, Dr. Coughlin. It was my pleasure. Thank you.

Podcast: Chris Widener on how to build influence and grow your dental practice


Hello and welcome to Ascent Dental Radio. A program dedicated to the balance between the clinical aspect of health care and the business of health care. And now here is your host, Dr. Kevin Coughlin.

Kevin: Welcome. You’re listening to Ascent Dental Radio. This is Ascent Dental Solutions with a focus on knowledge, consultation, development and training.

Although we’ve done many podcasts, this podcast, in my opinion, is extremely special. Chris Widener is widely recognized as one of the top speakers in the world today. He’s spoken all over the world in places like Germany, Spain, Russia, China, Egypt, Singapore and Australia. Of course, he’s spoken all over the United States and Canada. Chris speaks to groups as small as 100 and as large as 25,000.

His focus is on coaching right now and he’s willing to take dentists, dental leaders, dental hygienists, assistants, small organizations and large managed service organizations and show them how through influence and leadership they can improve their bottom line and just overall, besides money, just make the practice, the service and care they provide better.

Chris has clients as large as General Electric, Cisco, Microsoft and Harvard Business. His mentors were Mr. Jim Rohn, considered as one of the most successful speakers in the last 50 years and Zig Ziglar, considered one of the greatest motivational, personal development and leadership experts of the 20th century.

Both of those leaders selected Chris and Chris has taken their programs, their information and knowledge and brought it to an even higher level.

Chris, welcome so much to Ascent Dental Radio. Thanks so much for taking your time. In regards to health care and dentistry in particular, can you explain in your experience how important influence and leadership is in building a business, small or large?

Chris: One of mentors was a guy named John Maxwell. Jim Rohn was also one of my mentors, but John always said that everything rises and falls on leadership. And I think that that’s a great quote because whether it’s a large business, a multinational corporation or a small mom and pop grocery store or, of course, a dental practice, I do believe that everything rises and falls on leadership. How you grow your business, how efficiently you run your business, the satisfaction of the employees that work there.

And so it’s been my focus for the last 20 years or so to focus on leadership and helping people, whether they are in a large corporation, or they’re running a small business, which most dental practice are a small business. They might make a lot of money, but it’s a relatively small group of people in a one location.

Obviously some have multi-locations, but helping people expand their business, make their businesses more efficient, make it more profitable and it always starts with the leader. It always starts and rises and falls with the person who’s setting the strategy, who’s casting the vision and who’s responsible for the execution of the game plan.

So it’s imperative that dentists become better leaders. Those who are running their practices can drastically improve their business by becoming better leaders.

Kevin: In your 20 years of experience in this particular area, are there specific traits that you’ve noticed that make some leaders more successful than other leaders?

Chris: Yeah, absolutely. In fact, one of the things that I teach on, in fact, it’s the primary thing that I teach one, comes from my book called The Art of Influence and it’s how to gain trust, respect, admiration and loyalty.

So those four things. How do you gain trust, respect, admiration and loyalty? Whether it’s from your employees or it’s from your patients if you can gain trust, respect, admiration and loyalty, you’re going to build a bigger business. People are going to be dedicated to coming back to that business. They’re going to refer other people to that business.

And those four things come from four traits and if you’d like, we can just talk about those four traits. How do you build trust, respect, admiration and loyalty?

I’ll start with the first one: Trust. Every relationship between a leader and a follower or a seller and a buyer is predicated upon trust. For example, does the person coming into your practice trust that you really need what it is that they’re saying that you need? Are you really charging them the going rate or do they trust that you are highly skilled in your practice?

And so it’s imperative for us to build trust with those who we’re either selling to or employing. And the way that you build trust is through integrity. And so I find that the number one, and I always say integrity is number one, you can put the rest in whatever order you want to put them in, but integrity is the foundation to building strong leadership that last over years.

You can’t see me because we’re on a podcast, but I always hold my palm out like I’m holding up a mirror and I always ask the people, my audiences, to just look in the mirror.

Am I the type of person that other people trust? Am I the type of person that operates out of a single set of morals, ethics and values or am I duplicitous? Do I operate out of a dual set or sometimes even three sets of morals, ethics and values? Those who operate out of a single set of morals, ethics and values, who operate out of integrity are going to have trust from those who they either lead or they sell to.

And so that’s the number one trait of a successful leader, is to be a person of integrity and to make sure that your practice is a practice of integrity.

Kevin: I can tell you that when I listen to you speak, I get actually a little chill. I can’t concur more. I’m sure I didn’t coin the phrase, but I heard it somewhere and it’s called BLT. You want your service and your product, you want people to Believe, Like and Trust in you.

So really this trust, actually in my opinion, and maybe you can help me with this, it’s really your core values. Those core values, in my opinion, are developed at a young age and they’re reinforced over time. Would you concur with that?

Chris: Parents can instill it in us or we can come to a conclusion later on in life that this is something that we have to adhere to.

Kevin: Your second point was admiration?

Chris: Yeah. Admire. To be admired by people. And that doesn’t mean celebrity status or anything like that, but it does mean and probably falls in that likeability that you talked about as well. But people who admire people who are optimists, who are friendly, who are happy people.

If you got to go to the dentist, I got to tell you, I’m 50 years old, never had a cavity. But if you got to go to the dentist, wouldn’t it be better to go to a friendly dentist who you like, somebody who’s optimistic and happy? If they’re going to stick a drill in your mouth and charge you hundreds of dollars, you ought to at least make them feel good. And the way that you make them feel good is by being an optimistic, positive, happy person.

People admire people like that. People want to be around people they like and they like people who are optimists and happy people.

Kevin: Terrific. Your third and fourth points?

Chris: Respect: respect comes from excellence. When somebody walks into your practice, do they see excellence? Do they see average? Do they see poor? What do they see?

I’m talking about the quality of the carpets, the artwork on the walls, the smell of the room, the people behind the counter, the way that they’re treated by the dentist. I’ll give you an example as it regards to excellence.

I went to a naturopath for a while and she was great. She was really great. In addition to doing naturopathic medicine, they sold things like weight loss plans and things like that.

I moved to Seattle down to Scottsdale, Arizona about five months ago. And my last meeting with this woman, who is my naturopath, who I really liked, I said, “Can I talk to you about something?” And she said yeah.

I said, “You sell lots of health products, you sell a lot of weight loss products,” they have a map at their front counter and all that. And I said, “I don’t mean to be a jerk, but everybody that works your front desk is really overweight, but you’re a health place. And look, I’m no skinny person, but I don’t know that that says what you want it to say about your practice.”

She said, “Oh yeah, I was just talking to my husband about that last night.” And she said, “I can’t hire people based on their weight.” And I said, “Yeah, I get that. But wouldn’t it be great if the people who were working your front desk actually were excelling at health?”

And so what do people think when they come into your office? Everything they look at, whether the first impression or their lasting impression, what are they thinking about as it relates to excellence?

Because when they’re going out and they’re sitting to have coffee with somebody and somebody says, “Hey, I’m looking for a dentist,” you want them to say, “Oh, you’ve got to go to my dentist. I totally trust him, he’s an amazing guy, he’s so happy, he makes me feel good all the time and you know what, every part of their practice is just topnotch.”

That’s what you want them to say. You don’t want to say, “I kind of like my dentist, but the office kind of smells a little bit.” So every single level you want to excel and to do the best that you can and that breeds respect from people.

Kevin: I couldn’t agree more. I can tell you our organization sees over 100,000 patients in a year and day in and day out, in my opinion, the general public doesn’t actually understand what the actual dental needs are. They’re really like a lamb waiting to be slaughtered.

And it’s easy to take advantage of our patients. And once they feel, whether it’s correct or incorrect, that that trust has been lost, that respect of admiration, they’re gone. And as I like to tell when I do my training, you never lose one patient or a client. You lose the husband and the wife, the kids, the neighbors, the friends, family and relatives.

Chris: Absolutely. Let me tell you a story. I moved from New Jersey in 1991 to Seattle and right before I moved to New Jersey, I went into a car mechanic and he said, “Oh, you need all new brakes.” I didn’t make much money at the time and I go, “Okay, I’m going to push this off until I move to Seattle.” I said, “Thanks a lot.”

Came to Seattle, moved to a little town called Issaquah, and I pulled my car into an auto mechanic and I gave him carte blanche, “I need new brakes. Just fix my brakes, call me when they’re done. He said, “Okay, will do.”

About 20, 30 minutes later, he called me up and he said, “You don’t need new brakes. Who told you you needed new brakes?” And I realized that some scrupulous guy in New Jersey had told me I needed new brakes and this guy said, “No, you got like probably 15,000, 20,000 miles left on these brakes.”

Guess who I went to for an auto mechanic for the next 25 years until I moved to Scottsdale. He showed me that he was trustworthy.

Kevin: And almost more importantly, how many people you referred to that auto mechanic.

Chris: Dozens.

Kevin: Dozens. I can tell you in my own small practice, we receive about 940 new patients a month and the number one reason they left the practice is that trust factor deteriorates. And we’re all at fault.

A day doesn’t go by that I don’t make a mistake, but for our listeners, hopefully through your coaching program, you can educate, inform, not just the doctors, but the team members that support that doctor in that organization the importance of trust, admiration and respect. And why don’t you talk about that fourth item now for a little bit.

Chris: The last one is loyalty. Loyalty is what you really want from customers, patients, in the dental world. You want loyalty. People that will come back and come back and come back and they’ll take their kids there and then when their kids graduate, they’ll keep going there.

And like you’ve mentioned a number of times already on the podcast, they tell their friends, they tell their brother, they tell their neighbors, “You got to go to this dentist.”

And the way that you do that is through service. The way I put it is, because everybody says, “We have customer service. We serve customers.” But I don’t just mean doing the actual cleaning of the teeth or doing the root canals, I’m talking about considering their interest more important than your own.

Zig Ziglar, I used to co-host a TV show with him. It was one of the great honors of my life. Zig had one of his most famous quotes. He said, “You can have anything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want out of life.”

What is it that people want when they come to the dentist? They want great service, they want many of them to have their fears calmed, and they want it done at a price that they can afford. And understanding their perspective when they come in and serving to that need that they have is going to make them loyal to you.

I come in, I’m always a little scared, somebody might say, “But you know what, the doctor is so great with me. He’s got great chairside manner. They always give me great service. It doesn’t hurt, it feels better afterwards. They always do the right thing.”

Making sure that their needs are met — Robert Schuler used to say, “The way to wealth is to find a need and fill it,” and that’s the key. That’s how you build loyalty, people that keep coming back again and again and again and referring other people to the practice.

Kevin: Well, Chris I know how busy you’ve been. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you commenting on trust, admiration, respect and loyalty. Could you spend a few minutes and tell our listeners how they can reach out to your coaching program?

I also think that so many times in healthcare, we focus on the patients, the patients, the patients. But a huge part, the other part of the equation, is your team members, your employees, the people who are working day to day in the trenches.

They really have a huge affect not just on the care and service, but the overall decorum of your practice. And a coaching program such as yours I think could be invaluable, not just to the doctors, but the support team for those doctors. Could you tell us how we can get in touch with you?

Chris: Sure. You know the old saying “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” well, if your dental hygienist ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. So it’s so imperative to invest in our employees and especially our key employees and invest in ourselves so that we’re better leaders so that they enjoy working there.

Because if they’re not happy working there and it’s drudgery, then they’re going to give poorer service to the people who are your patients. So it’s not just patient focus, but making sure the employees are happy and growing and well compensated and positive work atmosphere and the like and then at the top, creating yourself as a great leader.

I do an annual coaching program that I only take ten clients at a time. It’s for the full year and work with them on becoming better leaders, growing their life, accomplishing their goals.

You can find out more about it at www.chriswidener.com/private-coaching. You can check that out and it gives some details there. You can fill out the form if you’d like some more information and I’ll give you a call and we can talk it through and see if we’d be a good fit for each other for 2017.

Kevin: I can tell you if we don’t take you up on it, it’s our mistake. Shame on us. I firmly believe people don’t want to work somewhere, they want to be part of something.

And when people are part of something, the trust, the loyalty, the admiration, the respect are all part of the practice. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule. I know you have an additional engagement, an additional talk.

Chris, thank you so much for spending time with Ascent Radio.

We’ve been listening to Ascent Dental Solutions. The focus is on knowledge, consultation, development and training for health care, but dentistry in particular, and experts like Chris are out there to help us take advantage of it.

Chris, thank you so much. I really appreciate your help and expertise.

Chris: Dr. Coughlin, I appreciate you inviting me to join you and your listeners.

Kevin: Thanks so much.

Investing in dental tech good for patients and your team

We’ve all seen the articles in dentistry trade magazines and skimmed the ads targeted specifically at dentists with some money to spend. Shiny, exciting new technologies that promise of increased productivity and higher profitability. What’s not to like? Sign me up!

But let’s take a step back and ask the fundamental question – is it really worth it to invest in new technology when what you have already does an adequate job?

Well there are two answers and the both start with an emphatic “yes.” The first yes, is that any investment in new technology is great for both patients and your team members. When it comes to choosing and referring your dental practice to others having a reputation as  a dynamic organization is on the cutting edge with new strategies and tools instills confidence and pride in your customers/patients.

Now what about the tech itself?

Let’s not beat around the bush. Some of the technology that is out there would have been science fiction just a few decades ago. In a recent podcast with Kevin McGonigal we discussed a software-driven product that creates a 3D image of dental procedures. For example you can show a patient the exact method you are going to use to execute a dental implant.

This kind of technology also engages and excites your team as they learn more about these procedures, giving them on-site training. And let’s not forget that a practice that’s tech heavy is an enticement to potential employees. After all, who wouldn’t love to work in a practice that looks forward on a constant basis?

In general employees who know what they are talking about and patients who understand procedures increases  the education component for patients and in doing so, speeds up the process of getting a procedure done. For those sitting on the fence about getting a procedure, the 3D can help push the decision from a maybe to yes and that will have a definite impact on your bottom line.

There really is no downside to investing in good, useful new technology. Because if you’re not, your competitor up the street will and that will leave your practice looking a little dusty and unattractive to new patients.

Podcast: Renee Simone on transformational vs. transactional leadership

Hello and welcome to Ascent Dental Radio. A program dedicated to the balance between the clinical aspect of health care and the business of health care. And now here is your host, Dr. Kevin Coughlin.

Kevin: This is Dr. Kevin Coughlin. You’re listening to Ascent Radio — Ascent Dental Solutions with a focus on knowledge, consultation, development and training.

Today we have an extremely interesting podcast with Ms. Renee Simone. She’s a small business owner of an outstanding private practice in western Massachusetts called Change Happens, Inc. She’s a licensed independent clinical social worker, a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, a licensed RN and she’s in the process of finishing her clinical doctorate in nursing practice.

’ve had the pleasure of meeting Renee several months ago and over several conversations and meetings, I have found her intensely interesting and I have also found a tremendous similarity of medicine and dentistry. I’ve always felt that they are very similar, but in particular, how registered nurses, doctoral nurses and the entire nursing profession and its effect on health care can be so dramatic.

But in particular, Renee’s forte is leadership and how she integrates with other health care practitioners and the qualities that she’s seen dealing with leadership and how health care teams can be better motivated to really ultimately do the most, which is improve health care and outcomes for our patients.

Without any further ado, Renee, thank you for joining me this afternoon. I’m sure our listeners will be incredibly pleased with the information you can provide to help, not just small businesses, but large businesses. Tell me what you found and what you think the direction of health care is going and how leadership is a critical part of that.

Renee: Sure, I’d be happy to talk with you a little bit about that, Kevin. First of all, I just want to say thank you so much. I have so enjoyed meeting you and getting to know you as well and your work and I think that it’s just so important to have these conversations and I hope to be helpful.

My biggest focus and hope is to be able to serve and to fill gaps and to help folks stay ahead of the curve and to really be a leader also in the highest capacity and a high scope of whatever I’m practicing. So I really appreciate you having me here as well.

Kevin: You’re quite welcome.

Renee: As far as what I hope that the nursing profession can bring to changes in health care, this is a very, as other times in history, it’s a very chaotic and active time of change.

There’s a lot of pressure and I’m sure in a lot of other businesses in health care, the pressure is in productivity and cost savings while at the same time not compromising quality. So I think that can be a very challenging space to practice in.

Kevin: Some would say almost impossible.

Renee: Yes. We were listening to a podcast or a talk for one of our classes on nursing leadership and one of the gentlemen talking there said that he feels it’s sort of like the triple threat of management where you have three hats that you’re trying to balance out; quality, time and money.

And whenever you focus on one of those, the other two suffer. So certainly I think that’s to your point where it can seem very challenging and almost impossible.

Kevin: If you were to review those criteria, are they equal? Is there one that you would put more emphasis on another? I know with the corporations getting more involved with medicine and in dentistry in particular, but that pressure for short term profit and perhaps short term gain but long term failure is always there. Can you address that for our listeners?

Renee: Sure. I think that’s the trap, the question. I think we have to look at what we’re really asking. Because that question; which one is more important, I think it just continues to unintentionally get us sucked into the merry-go-round or the trap of trying to choose.

And that sort of to me has been like an undercurrent in health care that people aren’t really aware of and talking about where it kind of pulls you down. I’d liken it to trying to stay alive or survive when you’re being sucked in by an undertone. It doesn’t help to fight.

What really needs to happen in order to survive and make headways is to learn how to step outside of that current. So I really don’t think there is a solution. And I think the longer we try to kind of go round and round on our minds about trying to choose and prioritize, that’s part of the trap.

Kevin: If you were to tell the listeners out of all the criteria with your extensive experience in health care, what are some of the qualities you look for in people who are excellent in management, excellent in leadership, understanding that they’re really two different topics, two different skills and many times, managers try to be leaders, leaders try to be managers.

And sometimes that doesn’t work and I don’t think in our day to day lives in health care we think that there is a difference. Most of the time, the doctor feels that they are the manager and the leader and many times they are the most ill-equipped to do either of those because they lack training. Can you address that?

Renee: Sure. Before I go onto that, I just want to finish up. This will kind of be a segue into talking about that a little bit. I didn’t intend to side-step the question about which one is more important. What I wanted to do is use that to say that that’s where I think exactly service leadership or leadership in a transformational way addresses the wheel of insanity with trying to prioritize.

So to me service leadership is really a way to step outside of that current and really affect change from that position. Because management — a lot of the literature talks about, in nursing anyways, applying and understanding the differences in types of leadership. So there’s something called Transformational Leadership Style and there’s another style called Transactional Leadership.

Transactional Leadership is really speaking to more of what you’re talking about, that managerial style. That management style. Transactional leaders are really more about developing followers, organizing tasks, making sure the job gets down.

They’re really more task oriented and there’s no place in that with the pressure of productivity and cost effectiveness and instant gain. There really is no place for reflection. We don’t really have time to think, not just in our business world, but in our personal lives often.

So transformational leadership really is more about stepping outside of that current, thinking about what we’re saying, thinking about what we’re doing. And really trying to find ways to be innovative, think outside the box, be willing to take risks, have a vision and helping people follow that in the sense that where people are kind of walking together instead of being directed.

I think of the difference between the image that I’ve seen a lot between a boss and a leader. The world has plenty of bosses and managers. We don’t need any more of those. And it’s not really being effective anyway in terms of progress where health care wants to go. Because bosses tend to be more directive and telling people what to do and managing. And there are some people who like to do that.

Transformation Leadership on the other hand or leadership qualities is more about serving, how can I help you get to where you want to be. And the more that you, I think, empower other people, the more that that power gets recycled back into the relationship and has meaningful change.

Kevin: Do you find that these transformational, is this being taught? Is this being taught in the nursing field, is it being taught in health care as far as you can see or is this something we sort of stumble along and say this works better than that and there’s really been no preparation for it, you just sort of learn by the seat of your pants?

Renee: I think that’s a great question. I’m going to draw on a little bit of what our conversations have been because I think you made an excellent point that there’s really nothing new, necessarily, out there.

A lot of times, we stumble on things because of our own learning curve and our own ignorance and lack of awareness. So from that perspective, actually in my studies, I’ve learned more about what’s out there. Because as a doctorally prepared nurse practitioner, we are more encouraged and trained to accept it when we don’t know the answer to something, but the more important thing is know who to ask or how to find it.

So I’ve been exposed to a lot of incredible information that’s been around for a while on the differences between leaders and managers. I just haven’t looked or known where to look.

And so I think that we’re exposed to it in our training, however, that’s — actually, I’m glad you asked that because one of my core passions is to find ways to not reinvent the wheel, spend a little bit more time looking and talking to one another about what’s already out there and borrowing from each other what’s working.

So from a transformational leadership perspective, I think clinical social work model since its inception — clinical social work was born in 1929 in the Chicago settlement houses. And since then, clinical social work has always maintained a commitment to supervision; clinical supervision, skilled clinical supervision, as a way to develop processionals and help new therapies to be the best practitioner they can be.

Kevin: If you were to talk to the audience listening to us now, do you see the value in mentoring, preceptoring, role modeling? I know for myself, there’s been people in my life that they weren’t intending to be a teacher for me, but they sort of acted as a role model. I saw how they interacted at bedside or chairside, I saw how they interacted with team mates, staff, employees and that combination is how, unfortunately, I learned.

There was no class that I went to through my four years of medical dental training to say, “Oh geez, this is how I treat Mr. or Mrs. Smith or their children.” Is that changing in health care? Do you see an improvement in that area? Are there courses that are out there that are focusing on not just the didactics of medicine, which we’re all comfortable with, but that undertone, that patient care, that ability to teach the people around you these leadership skills?

Renee: Excellent question again and that’s what I hope to offer and to bring to health care because there isn’t really anything concrete, formalized, standardized, operationalized around those qualities.

In any profession that I’ve seen, as you mentioned, a lot of times we learn informally. So a lot of the terminology and language that’s similar in dentistry as in nursing, health care, when you talk about mentoring, precepting, guiding, being a support, I think that health care does those things informally and intuitively.

When they’re a good person, they’re a good practitioner, they want to give back, they want to help, they want to teach, they like to teach, like you’ve said, but there really isn’t much structure around that. And I think that that’s exactly the direction that is coming next.

Kevin: At your business, is that where the focus is? If people wanted to reach out and have you help them, are you doing that? Is that something that you offer? Is that something that you’re trying to pursue?

Renee: Absolutely. In fact, that is all about what my quality improvement project I’m working on now for the doctoral program is incorporating and integrating — because  I have a passion for integration so this is just another extension of that — integrating the specific principles from a clinical social work model that apply to supervision.

And helping overlay them and incorporate them into other preceptorship programs from nursing to start, but I think they’re applicable to dentistry, I think they’re applicable to other types of health care, I think they’re applicable to other profession.

Because to me, leadership is practicing at the highest good or the highest level that we can be in any profession or in any role.

We get taught that in nursing school. As leaders the rhetoric is you can be a leader regardless of your role, whether you are a floor nurse, whether you are a charge nurse, whether you are a nurse manager, most importantly, when you are trying to manage or lead or oversee things. So I agree that that’s something that can be incorporated into business.

Kevin: I know from just my own personal experience just in the last few weeks, I’m offering a clinical course and it’s on implant surgery and surgical guides and 3D imaging. And within 24 hours, I got 18 people in my company to sign up because they want to know how.

But it’s interesting when I want to get them together to talk about leadership, and I don’t know if you’re aware of it, but I’ve got probably 400 listings on leadership and I researched 12 factors that were important in leadership. And the funny thing is it’s hard to get people to sit down and talk about that.

My summary of leadership, and I can’t say it’s something that I came up on my own, I probably heard it or copied from someone, but leadership to me means the ability to influence people in hopefully the correct direction.

There’s a lot of leaders that can push you in a bad direction, they’re still leaders. But I think good leadership comes by influencing people in the right direction. Would you agree with that or would you want to comment on that?

Renee: I think that’s true for a basis and a start, is the ability to influence. In fact, one of the transformational qualities, one of the four core qualities is idealized influence. So I think that’s very important. I don’t think that comes with pushing, necessarily, because again you can push someone, however, you don’t know which direction they’re going to go in.

If you pull them by effectively leading and modeling and showing, then it’s easier, I think, because then you’re sort of leading and moving together in the same direction. Then people do see you as a trustworthy, dependable, authentic, competent person.

Kevin: Renee, if individuals listening to us today wanted to reach out to hear more about your style and how you can direct and help them in their own personal lives or in their business lives, is there a way for our listeners to reach out and contact you?

Renee: Absolutely. One of the easiest ways is going to be through the website, which is www.changehappensinc.com. You’d be able to reach out through that website to me through email. My personal email is renee.simone50@gmail.com. And then my business contact information the easiest way to text or call that business number is 919-793-6862.

Kevin: So you’d be happy to go to different locations and put on a seminar to help team members improve in their leadership and just the way they integrate with patients, is that correct?

Renee: Absolutely. That’s something that doesn’t feel even like work to me because it’s one of my passions and I really enjoy giving back in that way. And I think I’ve experienced through the results of the growth of my own small practice or business that the return on investment is just incredible.

Kevin: I want to thank you so much for your time. I do want our listeners to know that Renee Simone also has another business and that business focuses on insurances and insurance needs.

And we hope to get her back because quite honestly, although I’ve been in health care for 34 years and still practice every day, I was blown away by this particular area of let’s say life insurance, but life insurance in a different way that I had never really thought about it. And I would consider Renee extremely knowledgeable in this and I’d like to get you back. Would you mind talking to our listeners about that?

Renee: I’d love to. Thanks.

Kevin: I want to thank everybody for today. I hope you enjoyed. I want to personally thank you Renee for your expertise and taking time out of your busy schedule. As always, I want to thank Doug Foresta. Without his ability to put this product together, we would not be here today.

And as always, please feel free to reach out to Doug and his company if you’re interested in podcasting. I can certainly tell you that it has been a big boom to my career and just to my office and my bottom line. It’s an excellent way to communicate.

You’ve been listening to Ascent Radio. My name is Dr. Kevin Coughlin. If you need to get in touch with me or look for additional information, I can be reached at www.ascent-dental-solutions.com.

Thank you very much for listening and Renee, thank you.

Podcast: Alice Warner on how the W.K. Kellogg foundation supports oral health


Hello and welcome to Ascent Dental Radio, a program dedicated to the balance between the clinical aspect of health care and the business of health care. And now here is your host, Dr. Kevin Coughlin.

Kevin: Good afternoon. This is Dr. Kevin Coughlin from Ascent Dental Solutions. You’re listening to Ascent Radio which focuses on knowledge, consultation, development and training. Today’s podcast, I’m excited to introduce you to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Our guest today is Ms. Alice Warner and she also has some support team members, Dina and Lynn. Good afternoon, Ms. Warner. Thank you so much for taking your valuable time to talk to us about the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Can you give us a little bit of background for our listeners who are primarily dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants from all over the country and all over the world at this point, can you give us a little background, Ms. Warner, about the Kellogg Foundation and your job in particular?

Alice: Certainly. And thank you, Dr. Coughlin and all of the work that you’ve done, in conversations up to this time, exploring the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and our relationship to oral health throughout the time since our founding. It is a delight to talk to all of the oral health professionals. And I would really, really like to thank all of you for the work that you do day in and day out because our founder, Will Keith Kellogg, in 1930 as he was establishing his foundation created a children’s charter.

He was invited by President Hubert to a national commission on child welfare and development. And during that gathering of about 3,000 professional folks and Mr. Kellogg, he was introduced to a lot of the aspects of what is it that allows children to thrive and to be healthy. He talked about productivity throughout the lifespan and to be happy and educated and he said, “Do what you will with the money, but do something to help the welfare of children.”

So we are about children, he established a children’s charter out of that and I’m very pleased to say oral health is one of those very core ideas that he established in those founding documents. The original grant making in 1930 included a lot of funding for the profession of dentistry and the training and education of dentists, both the graduate dentists as well as fellowships, during the war time, additional dentists that were ready to serve the military and to support our nation in the times of war.

So for us, the $88 million we’ve put into oral health since that time, it included all of the members of the oral health team, whether it’s the dentist, whether it was the hygienist and the development of the hygiene curriculum, we had grant making support for that, whether it was the dental assistance and extended functions. Dental assistance in the 70s we worked with the University of Kentucky about that.

And now we are into a phase where we are looking at an expanded oral health workforce because what in each case was called extending the dentist’s hand, each of those; the hygienist, the afters, and now dental therapists, the dental assistants, all of those folks realized that the number of dentists and the population that needed oral health really was very mismatched, even in 1930s. And in the county I live in Michigan, that ratio has not changed since 1930.

We have more people, we have more dentist, but that ratio which he thought was significant in terms of the lack of coverage and lack of care in 1930 remained entrenched in that same place today. And I’m sure that’s like that in many of the places that you live. So we have been proud to take Mr. Kellogg’s legacy. He took all of his wife’s resources and put them into the foundation when he could have funded a legacy to his family. And this was about the future of the nation and the nation’s children.

Just a few other pieces about our framework and then I’ll certainly stop talking so that Dr. Coughlin can throw in more questions that I know that all of you have about who we are, what we do in oral health and why. But our programming really embraces what it would take for all children to thrive and to achieve their greatest opportunity in their life development. He felt that to do that, there were some core things, elements that need to be present. The first was education and learning.

He felt the best way for any generation to advance beyond the generation before was through education and learning. And clearly that went everywhere from early childhood and maternal child kinds of interactions and different training programs through children providers, through education and training for careers and lifetimes and change of careers and career pathways. So that has remained a piece of our funding as well.

We fund in what we call food health and wellbeing. Which is where much of our health and health care and our wellness kinds of things — public health and prevention kinds of strategies live and oral health is a piece of that.

Finally, we have one area that is really looking at what families need to be economically secure to actually help the children and propel them out of poverty and create conditions where they thrive. So those are the core elements. And through that we work with communities who ask for support in those areas and tell us what kind of ideas they have so that their children and their communities can raise the lake for all of the kids. And so our grants do come from communities. We don’t take a position and then fund that position and look for folks to do that, we basically say what are the communities asking for and how can we support that? Because Mr. Kellogg believed that the communities were self-determining and really understood what would be best for them.

Finally, two core strategies that are our DNA, that go through every grant that goes, is we look for addressing racial equity and racial and ethnic and cultural disparities. And in oral health that is really very, very remarkable. We also support the community engagement in those strategies. And finally, we support leaders. I want to just very briefly come back to that because Mr. Kellogg in his opening documents for the first eleven years of our foundation talked about the importance of dentists both as community members and leaders in the community, as well as being service providers.

So that leadership role and that community stewardship role for the dentists — and it was the dentists who are identified — is very, very core as we look and that is why our strategy has always been around extending the dentist’s hands. So I’ll be quiet and Dr. Coughlin, whatever questions you have, Dina, Lynn and I are happy to answer.

Kevin: Thank you for the wonderful introduction to your organization. Since many of the listeners are new to the Kellogg Foundation, I just want you to reassure them that Mr. Kellogg is the founders of the Kellogg cereal empire. Perhaps you can provide some personal anecdotes about Mr. Kellogg and how he started his business and how that business now currently is a public corporation. I just want the listeners to realize that this is the Mr. Kellogg who is the founder of the Kellogg Corporation. Is that correct?

Alice: Mr. Kellogg founded both the Kellogg cereal company and then he founded the Kellogg Foundation as an independent philanthropic organization. So that we do not have members of our board that come from the company and we do not, while the trust that funds the work of the Kellogg Foundation does contain a minimum amount of Kellogg Company stock, it is not the primary part of our trust portfolio and they are independent entities so that neither one of us influences the businesses. But they are the same founder.

I will tell you a bit about Mr. Kellogg. Mr. Kellogg was a Seventh Day Adventist and evolutionist who moved to Battle Creek, Michigan. And his brother who is probably more famous or infamous, depending on whatever stories people want to tell, John Harvey Kellogg, created a place based on many Seventh Day Adventists’ principles around health and wellbeing and what we would almost call like the scientific healing methods of the day that included a lot of fresh air, it also included a diet that was based without meat, caffeine and sugar.

At that time I believe sugar was in there, but at least I know the caffeine and the meat were not a part of a Seventh Day Adventist diet. And so the people that came to the stand, that was a part of the healing that was offered in that time which was the highest science of that time. And Mr. Kellogg worked for his brother. As the legend goes, the Kellogg cornflakes were discovered and new businesses were started.

Our relationship to that, other than having a common founder, the values and principles that we have came from Mr. Kellogg’s writings, they come from who Mr. Kellogg was as a visionary, as a leader. And the other thing I would say about Mr. Kellogg was that we talk about the children and yet at we read the history of his leadership and his company, he very, very much looked at conditions in the community.

For example, in Battle Creek during the great depression, to keep the maximum number employed, the full time working hours was decreased for that period of time so that more people could at least have a livable wage and jobs in Battle Creek. That was really quite innovative. He could have cut things to the bone and he could have disadvantaged that community, but every move that we looked at that’s documented that he made in his business, he also considered the community and the people and that decision making and the work within them and he just felt that there was a lot of opportunity there.

He’s very much related to the work the Rockefeller Foundation and the Kellogg Foundation were responsible for the early establishment of public health departments in the states and also later one in the community level.

That came out of work that he also supported in that founding charter document around immunizations and the importance of food and farm and water and other kinds of resources. So his wish, his values, his principles are reflected clearly to our work today.

Kevin: Where I would like to go now for a few minutes is for our listeners to understand and the Kellogg Foundation has an enormous amount of data and research to indicate the seriousness of the oral health situation in the United States, and we’ll just focus with the United States for now on this podcast.

But I believe the most significant chronic disease affecting the United States right now between the ages of 2 and 18 is dental caries or cavities. As you alluded to earlier in this podcast, these diseases are 100 percent preventable with the correct policies and processes in place, with a stick-to-itiveness to address this problem, it is very correctabl

And I believe your foundation is the leader in taking the action steps in trying to promote education, knowledge and information to, one, make everyone understand the serious nature of the problem.

Many times, people don’t understand that a cavity may not sound that serious, but the effects of losing teeth prematurely, the loss of potential wages because of the disability of losing teeth, the effects on speech, the effects on the psychological well being of growing up with missing teeth, the children that can sometimes be teased and they turn into teenagers and young adults that maybe were rejected from job opportunities because of embarrassing situations.

All of these oral health issues can be addressed and can be solved and your organization is taking on that task. And I’m looking to work with you to create some positive action to educate the dental profession and the ancillary individuals around our profession to say let’s do better and what are the action steps to make it better. Is there some particular things over the last 60, 70, 80 years that the Kellogg Foundation has found that has been particularly helpful in addressing this problem?

Alice: Very early on, it had to do with the shortage of dentists. And today, Dr. Coughlin, as your audience likely knows better than I, that as we look at the projects, then it depends whose projection you’re looking at, we need 7,100 new dentists to meet the current needs. And by 2025 that is estimated the dentist deficit is expected to double. As I said, in my home county, that ratio has not budged and that is a very, very big concern.

I also want to say that as you described very, very well oral health is the number one chronic disease of children, it’s even more common than asthma. The fact of the matter is we also worked with Dr. David Satcher, then Surgeon General of the United States and in 2000, his oral health report on the state of oral health in the U.S. really spoke to I think was a silent epidemic. And we’ve continued to work around with communities who find that this is one of the most pressing problems that they have with very little opportunity for solution.

We have put together funding that we also recognize that kids, and what brought this current attention to the work that we’re doing around dental therapy, is the disparities where you’ve got untreated tooth decay in 3 to 5 year olds being about 11.3 percent and in Alaska Natives and American Indians it would be 43.2 percent.

When we entered to work in Alaska, their rate was 79.2 percent in the native villages and that’s just really not acceptable. And the fact that we don’t have enough dentists and we also recognize that by 2020 — right now the 50 percent of the children being born are what we would classify as minority children, children of color. That is expected by 2020 and 2025 to be all of the states, 27 will join majority-minority states in 2018, by 2020 nationally that will be the trend. The fact of the matter is we need to have pipelines to get the children into oral health professions as well.

We’ve worked with the American Dental Education Association, we have worked with a number of dental professional organizations around this pipeline and also trying to get dentists into that pipeline and working in terms of cultural competence in that area as well.

So this is a large endeavor, we’re working with the Sullivan Alliance, which is Dr. Louis Sullivan, the former secretary of HHS under the Bush I administration is really looking at the health care workforce, and particularly the oral health workforce and the need for expanding both the pipeline and building career pathways within that that both expand that admission and various entry and we’re going to need more education.

So we are looking at all of that and we are also recognizing that in medicine that looking at the team and extending the dentist’s hand could be a piece of those solutions and we have communities that want to test that.

They feel that somebody coming from their community, that is living in their community and has committed to stay in their community is going to be a provider for the long term that will understand and be there in times of emergency. And that’s what we all would hope for all of our families, our friends and our communities and all of the people we love.

Kevin: First of all, Ms. Warner, my practice is over 100,000 patients a year, I have 14 offices in the Massachusetts region and the one thing that I’ve learned about dealing with people is I know when they’re passionate,

I know when they believe what they’re doing and I can tell spending the last 30 minutes with you that you meet that criteria. I believe Mr. Kellogg and the entire foundation would be extremely proud of your just enthusiasm and your goal to improve. And I want you to know from a grassroots standpoint, Ascent Dental Solutions is behind you. And over the next several podcasts, I hope to delve in to mid-level practitioners, dental license practitioners, expanded duty axillaries, the whole combination in most cases are with problems such as we’ve been discussing, oral health for children in particular.

It’s probably not going to be one magic bullet, but a combination of events to make a positive change and try to achieve the goal that Mr. Kellogg wanted to achieve with his foundation.

And the first step is attracting leaders such as yourself and your team mates, Dina and Lynn, to create a better environment of education, knowledge and mutual understanding so that the dental profession can get behind you, we can work together rather than against each other, and create the positive change that ultimately is going to help this younger generation, which will be our future leaders.

I just wanted to thank you and your foundation for an excellent podcast and I thank you for educating our listeners. I look forward to future podcasts where we can get into more of the nit and the gritty of the action steps that will be necessary to create this positive change. My understanding is you’re willing to go forward with this in future podcast. Is that correct?

Alice: That is correct and we do thank you also very much for this opportunity and the privilege of getting to talk to you about something, you’re right, our entire team, our CEO and president and our board, our President La June Montgomery Tabron, you could choose a person at the foundation to talk about this program and there’s equal passion there.

So the field should be just really delighted that oral health is a primary part of a body of work of a funder and I know that that’s a difficulty for the entire oral health field. So we are privileged to talk to you and thank you for making this opportunity available to us.

Kevin: Thank you very much. And for our listeners, you’ve been listening to Ascent Radio. This is Dr. Kevin Coughlin, Ascent Dental Solutions. We’re proud to have our guests are Ms. Alice Warner. She is the director of policy at W.K. Kellogg Foundation and I look forward to future podcasts where we could come up with positive action plans to create change.

I also want to thank Mr. Doug Foresta who has been the producer of this podcast and without his expertise, this would not be happening. Thank you all for listening and I look forward to our next podcast in the new future. Thank you everyone and have a great day.