Interested in Ethics?
Ethics organizations promote critical thinking among students. Promoting ethical practices early on facilitates ethical practices later during our careers.
UConn has now joined the national group Student Professionalism and Ethics Association (SPEA) and started our own UConn SPEA. We conduct monthly meetings of case reviews or community speakers.
November 4, 2011: First interest group meeting
January 18, 2012: Lunch and Learn speaker Dr. Robert Hall (Hartford Dental Society’s Peer Review, Patient Relations and Ethics Committee member) – Experiences as a peer review board member
February 2012 TBA: Dr. Jonathan Meiers (Chair, Section of Operative Dentistry) – Overtreatment in dentistry
We’ve gotten off to a great start so far. All students and faculty are encouraged to make suggestions on what types of programs would be particularly interesting. You can contact us here.
Feel free to ‘like’ our Facebook group UConn Student Professionalism and Ethics Club
Information on starting your own SPEA
At the Student Professionalism and Ethics Association (SPEA) website, one can find a variety of resources to aid in your efforts. They have a “SPEA Startup Kit”, which is an application to be officially recognized as a chapter of SPEA. It is also a fantastic tool that walks you through the steps of how to go about doing it. They also include a variety of meeting ideas and a sample constitution. Additionally, SPEA has begun to hold yearly conferences, which chapter members are more than welcome to attend.
National SPEA is divided into Regencies, our regency is number 6 and consists of all the dental schools from CT, MA, MI, NJ, NY and PA. The regency representative is Steven Cagliostro from Tufts. He is a fantastic resource for beginning an SPEA chapter and even spoke at the recent ASDA District 1 meeting.
At UConn, the SPEA group is still very new. Our goal was to start small and build a repertoire of solid events and speakers. We have had monthly meetings in which we discussed ethics cases provided online by the Texas Dental Journal. I would recommend reviewing the more recent ones, as they reach as far back as 1993 and can be outdated. If your group demographic does not have the same ethics background (ie. First years have not taken ethics course yet) then I would recommend either a crash course on terms such as beneficence, justice, autonomy etc. Otherwise, it’s difficult to facilitate a meaningful discussion. We also made a list of current issues in dentistry we would like to learn more about:
- Amalgam versus composite
- Overtreatment in dentistry
- Hollistic dentistry
- Water fluoridation
- Care to 3rd world countries
- Implant dentistry
- ADA political influence
- Mid-level provider
- Asymptomatic 3rd molar removal
- Issues with limiting how many people can go into the profession
You can easily use these topics and ask professors to give a lunch and learn talk. So far we have had Dr. Robert Hall discuss his own experiences as a member of the Hartford Dental Society’s Peer Review, Patient Relations and Ethics Committee. Our next meeting will be in February and we will have a faculty member speak to us about overtreatment in dentistry.
If you would like more information or advice regarding starting your own SPEA or even just starting your own unaffiliated dental ethics organization please do not hesitate to email me.