What is the Clinic Club?

Eight prominent dentists in southeastern Michigan founded the Detroit Dental Clinic Club in 1914.

Two of the founders, Drs. Marcus Ward and Russell Bunting, later served as deans of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.  Dr. Ward served as president of the American Dental Association. And, all eight served as presidents of the Michigan Dental Association. For nearly a century, the Clinic Club has been a training ground for dental clinicians and leaders in dentistry.

The Clinic Club meets three times each year for Board meetings followed by educational programs. The Clinic Club is organized into Sections representing various dental specialty areas. Each Section is autonomous and plans its own programs and activities during the year.

OBJECTIVES of the Clinic Club include promoting high standards of dental science, art and literature, providing mutual improvement among dentists, and contributing to the advancement of the dental profession by presenting continuing dental education clinics, lectures and publications.

SECTIONS are incubators where learning and mentoring take place. The goals of a section are research and teaching. An active section is often a combination of general practitioners and specialists with liaisons to dental school faculty. This mixture offers varying viewpoints that stimulate participation and continuing interest. Younger members appreciate the opportunity to work with and learn from more experienced members. Members learn from each other while attending section meetings and developing clinics. Sections also act as filters in evaluating dental concepts, procedures, products and publications. Quality people, active participation and interesting programs are ingredients of a successful section.

SECTION MEETINGS are forums with short agendas followed by program presentations. Members have opportunities to discuss problem cases, polish a clinic, introduce new ideas or plan future section activities. Programs with outside speakers touch a wide variety of subjects involving professional growth in clinical and practice management areas as well as personal and interpersonal development.

Speakers for section programs have included dentists, physicians, psychologists, attorneys, accountants, economists, computer specialists, ergonomic engineers and manufacturing representatives. Section meetings have also been held at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and the L. D. Pankey Institute in Florida. Occasionally, a section will combine a meeting with a social function such as dinner at a restaurant or club, a boating or pool party, a football game, a family outing or a holiday celebration.

SECTION MEMBERS aspire to mastering their subject—being continuous students in their area of interest. Their activities include study, research, collaboration, and sharing information through table clinics, essays, limited attendance clinics, audio-visual presentations, case evaluations, office tours and writing articles for professional publications. Each member must contribute to keep the section vital. This cooperation produces knowledgeable, enthusiastic and stimulating clinicians.

Good clinicians know their subjects from personal experience. The clinician is aware of the successes and the failures, the pros and cons, the strengths and weaknesses associated with the subject of the clinic. After selecting a specific topic, the clinician reviews dental literature, consults with colleagues, mentors and prominent clinicians, designs the visual aids and script, sharpens speaking abilities and updates the clinic content regularly. A dental clinic presentation or publication contributes to the advancement of the profession and the personal development of the clinician. The benefits of membership in the Clinic Club go beyond establishing professional and personal relationships. Skills developed in research, clinic organization, public speaking, writing and leadership are of value in family, religious, business and community endeavors.

CREDIBILITY is a necessary quality for any organization. Evidence-based research, clinical practice and journalism are foundations of professionalism. Information must be considered from many perspectives—validity, accuracy, reliability, controversy and contradictory. Integrity commits the dentist to promoting high professional standards. Maintaining competence requires continual self-assessment and lifelong learning.

KNOWLEDGE gained is power; knowledge shared is progress. Study club members master a subject for the benefit of the club members. Clinic club members master a subject for the benefit of the members and enthusiastically share this knowledge with their profession. Both the clinician and the audience benefit from a well-planned presentation. The audience learns something new about a procedure or material. The clinician gains from knowledge learned in clinic development and audience feedback and appreciation. This mutual sharing contributes in a small but positive way to the advancement of our profession.

SHARING knowledge with the profession is the primary purpose of the Clinic Club; mutual improvement of Club members is necessary but secondary. The Clinic Club goes beyond a study club or social club. In the past, when these priorities became reversed, the Club has suffered. When research and techniques were shared freely the Club has prospered.

Detroit Dental Clinic Club members contribute time, energy and skills to improve the art and science of dentistry. In return for their efforts, clinicians enjoy professional fellowship, experience accomplishment and discover one of the basic principles of successful living—The more you give, the more you receive in return.

Most dentists have developed solutions to problems in their practices that would be of value to their colleagues. Table clinics, lectures and publications are available forms of continuing education that allows dentists to share these ideas. Clinic Club members have presented clinics on all continents of the world except Antarctica.

PROFESSIONAL GROWTH: Membership in the Detroit Dental Clinic Club provides unique opportunities for professional growth. By developing a plan of study, research and clinic design, members enhance their own knowledge and skills. By presenting table clinics and essays at dental meetings and writing scientific articles for dental publications, members contribute to the advancement of their profession. And, by meeting and working with outstanding clinicians at Club meetings, members grow both personally and professionally.

The Detroit Dental Clinic Club is a fellowship of professionals willing to contribute to the advancement of dentistry. Its members accept the challenge of presenting clinics and publishing articles because it benefits their practice, their profession and their personal lives. It is a privilege and an honor to belong to a group with a rich tradition of leadership and goodwill.