If you were among the forty-or-so of us who attended the combined International College of Dentists (ICD) and American College of Dentists (ACD) Spring Meeting on April 26 at the BWI Airport Marriott in Linthicum Heights, MD, you are probably remembering with some fascination the presentation by Dr. David Chambers, visiting us from the University of the Pacific. This Spring dinner/meeting is alternately hosted by the Maryland Chapters of the ACD and the ICD; this year, the ACD invited David, who is the Editor of the Journal of the American College of Dentists. David is not a Dentist, but has spent his long and distinguished career studying Dentists, Dental patients and public perceptions of the profession; as such, he is a Fellow of the ACD. Our dinner was the final event on his foray along the East coast, which included two earlier major presentations: 1) the combined ICD, ACD and Pierre Fauchard Academy Continuing Education Conference in Williamsburg, VA (April 8-9), where he co-taught a course entitled, “Ethical Dilemmas in Action: A Video Tour with Analyses;” and 2) presentation of the annual Harry W.F. Dressel Lecture at UMSOD (April 25), entitled, “Social Media and Ethics in the Dental Profession”. Although the title of his presentation to us, “The Ethics of Social Media in Dental Practice,” suggested that it might follow closely the subject matter of his lecture the previous day at UMSOD, his casual style made the talk seem more like a one-on-one discussion; indeed, he intentionally abbreviated the formal portion of the session so that he could spend the remainder of the evening addressing questions from the audience, covering the range of social, psychological and political issues currently confronting the profession.
Those discussions were of added interest to those of us who participated in the joint ICD/ ACD Ethics Seminars at UMSOD during the past Winter, particularly given that one of the case studies selected for the students was from a study that David had conducted and posted to the Continuing Dental Education website of the American Society for Dental Ethics (ASDE) a component Section of the ACD. The intriguing feature of each of his cases on the continuing education website, beyond the cases themselves, was that his research had surveyed not only responses by Dentists, but also opinions of patients to the same set of conditions; those comparisons revealed some interesting differences in perspective of which it is sometimes easy to lose sight. Indeed, although the case used with the UMSOD students was not a topic of discussion at our dinner, several of the audience questions were answered with parallel data from other cases, in which he had found disparate attitudes between the public and the profession. If you did not attend the dinner and are still wondering who this non-Dentist is, the brief biographical sketch from his website might help:
David W. Chambers is professor of dental education and former associate dean for academic affairs and scholarship at the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco. He is also the editor of the American College of Dentists. He has served as a consultant to most national dental organizations and dental schools in the United States and Canada, as well as being an examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and on the Commission on Dental Accreditation. He has earned Ed.M., M.B.A., and Ph.D. degrees. He has published over 500 papers in his areas of interest, which include competency-based education, ethics, evaluation, and critical thinking. Dr. Chambers has been a visiting scholar in philosophy at Cambridge University, England; University of California, Berkeley; and the London School of Economics exploring moral issues.
David Chambers is the focal contact for the ACD Gies Ethics Project. He is collecting both academic data and interactive reports (through that website) on ethics in dentistry. The project is expected to result in a book-length report in 2017, following the format of the 1926 Report on Dental Education in the United States and Canada authored by William Gies (1872-1956).