What’s the Benefit of Small Group Learning?

August 15, 2018 Denison E. Byrne, DDS, MAGD

Small group learning is the linchpin of lifelong professional satisfaction. 

My partner Nancy and I are excited to be the co-directors of Pankey Learning Groups (PLGs) at this time in the history of the Pankey Institute. Small group learning has always been one of our greatest joys.

It was in small groups that we really cemented our learning together. We had a chance to ask the professional and personal questions we might not have in other less safe environments without people who “understood.” We shared in good feedback with mentors and peers. Discussions were honest and helped us see others and ourselves more clearly. And we made dear friends for a lifetime.

So when we were asked to do this job three years ago, it was easy to accept the challenge. We did our best to build upon the program that Mark Murphy had initiated for us. With lots of hard work from PLG hosts, facilitators, our alumni that donated cases and workshop material, and especially a stellar in-house team, we feel good about where we are today. 

Pankey Learning Groups: Providing Support & Education Opportunities

We are really excited about what the future holds. With Dr. Lee Ann Brady on board contributing her vast experience in educational development, we all have a better sense of how PLGs can support the other components of the Pankey Institute. PLGs will now support the Essentials series, focus courses, and on-the-road courses like Worn Dentition and Pankey On the Podium.

We have a fantastic line-up of new modules. Treating doctors are interviewed and provide additional insight and understanding. We are also developing a selection of mini-modules. These topics include sleep medicine, practice management issues, and behavior.

In response to PLG requests, we are getting increasingly clear about how we can support our independent model (eight three-hour modules) and our facilitated model (two sixteen-hour weekend workshops) as well as how we can combine them with other educational offerings from Pankey. We feel this is consistent with the Pankey Philosophy to individualize our offerings for each PLG within our overall educational framework.

We are planning opportunities to support our hosts, facilitators, and ambassadors by developing resources and training to optimize the PLG educational experience. There has never been a better or more exciting time to supplement your professional growth by participating in a Pankey Learning Group!

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Transform your experience of practicing dentistry, increase predictability, profitability and fulfillment. The Essentials Series is the Key, and Aesthetic and Functional Treatment Planning is where your journey begins.  Following a system of…

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About Author

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Denison E. Byrne, DDS, MAGD

Dr. “Denny” Byrne graduated from the University of Maryland Dental School and has been in restorative practice in Baltimore for 40 years. He is a member of the Pankey Faculty and Co-Director of Pankey Learning Groups. In addition to being the husband of a dentist, father of a dentist, and grandfather, he is keenly interested in facilitating small group learning, golfing and sailing. He enjoys cooking and is a fan of C.S. Lewis.

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Developing a Shared Path of Learning

July 25, 2018 Denison E. Byrne, DDS, MAGD

The phrase, “You can do this!” when offered by a trusted friend at the ideal time can help us put thoughts into actions around our learning. 

My partner Nancy and I always aggressively pursued dental continuing education for many reasons. We were racking up hours, techniques, ideas, travel, and expenses way beyond the norm.

As we went along, I started to notice a disjointedness to my learning. While I was in charge of my path, I missed discussing the journey with others.

Learning How to Learn With Likeminded People

One afternoon, while sitting in a study club meeting with two of my mentors, Rich Green and Jay Anderson, we were discussing our schedule and next meeting. Jay looked at me, winked, and said, “You can do this!” He meant that he thought I could organize a similar study group.

That was an interesting thought. The idea of gathering people in my network and developing a shared path of learning was attractive to me. Here were my next steps: 

  • I spent some time clarifying in my mind exactly what I was looking for.
  • I had coffee, lunch, or a drink with about a dozen of my peers to see what they were interested in and whether our goals meshed.
  • I gathered interested people together to “meet and greet” and develop a shared vision, direction, responsibilities, and tentative schedules.
  • I lined up facilitators and we were off.

The benefit to me was a local community of likeminded peers bolstered by the significant input they gave about the program. I learned more not only about dentistry but also about working with small groups. There was plenty of downtime with many of my dental heroes.

Of course, there are always nitty gritty aspects of creating a new study club. But those of us on the Pankey Learning Group team stand ready to help you with the process because, “You can do it too!”

How do you make sure your CE learning is deep rather than surface? 

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DATE: February 27 2025 @ 8:00 am - March 3 2025 @ 2:30 pm

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About Author

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Denison E. Byrne, DDS, MAGD

Dr. “Denny” Byrne graduated from the University of Maryland Dental School and has been in restorative practice in Baltimore for 40 years. He is a member of the Pankey Faculty and Co-Director of Pankey Learning Groups. In addition to being the husband of a dentist, father of a dentist, and grandfather, he is keenly interested in facilitating small group learning, golfing and sailing. He enjoys cooking and is a fan of C.S. Lewis.

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Fostering Long Term Study Club Relationships: Part 2

January 10, 2018 North Shetter DDS

Fostering long-term relationships with other clinicians is an admirable goal. In my last blog, I talked about a study club I’ve been part of for forty years. How we’ve kept it going this long comes down to timing and commitment. We were brought together by Pankey and continued to develop our clinical and personal interests throughout our careers. Read on to learn how we’ve kept our study club going this long …

Relationships, Friendships, and Support From Study Clubs

During our regular study club meetings, we argue dental techniques, philosophy, and technology. We discuss our business successes and failures and share ideas on how to improve. Individually we offer to mentor our younger colleagues. We have provided solace and support after death and divorce, as well as tough love in situations where a member needed honesty as well as support. 

We continue to come to meetings even though several members drive sixty miles or more to attend and several others are now retired. Although we refer patients to one another, we seldom see one another except for at our meetings. We challenge each other to think critically, demand proven research before adopting new treatment modalities, and continue on a path of learning.  

Other members of the group are now approaching retirement. In fact, one member of the group just celebrated his eightieth birthday. We know these facts will force us to consider disbanding. However, when we poll the members we find that no one wants to quit meeting. We may have to meet less often, but we will not give up on the relationships, friendships and support.

For those considering joining or forming a study club, we encourage you to take the risk and commit to making your group one of perennial sophomores.

What do you love about study clubs? Let us know your thoughts! 

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North Shetter DDS

Dr Shetter attended the University of Detroit Mercy where he received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1972. He then entered the U. S. Army and provided dental care at Ft Bragg, NC for the 82nd Airborne and Special Forces. In late 1975 he and his wife Jan moved to Menominee, MI and began private practice. He now is the senior doctor in a three doctor small group practice. Dr. Shetter has studied extensively at the Pankey Institute, been co-director of a Seattle Study Club branch in Green Bay WI where he has been a mentor to several dental offices. He has been a speaker for the Seattle Study Club. He has postgraduate training in orthodontics, implant restorative procedures, sedation and sleep disordered breathing. His practice is focused on fee for service, outcomes based dentistry. Marina Cove Consulting LLC is his effort to help other dentists discover emotional and economic success and deliver the highest standard of care they are capable of.

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Long Term Dental Study Club Relationships: Part 1

January 8, 2018 North Shetter DDS

Dental study clubs can be incredibly valuable for fostering long-term relationships with other clinicians. Curious what that looks like? Keep reading …

Forty plus years ago, a group of dentists in the Green Bay Wisconsin area had the opportunity to meet Dr. L.D. Pankey. In his presentation and discussion, Dr. Pankey told us one of the secrets to success in life was to become a “perennial sophomore.” This means never stop studying and asking, ‘Why?’ 

Forming a Pankey-Inspired Study Club

After meeting Dr. Pankey, a number of us took advantage of attending The Pankey Institute. The Institute was, at that time, in downtown Miami in the DuPont Plaza Hotel. We were lucky enough to learn from, and rub shoulders with, other legendary dentists like Loren Anderson, Harold Wirth, Henry Tanner, and Alvin Filastre.

Although our group did not attend The Institute all at the same time, we soon found one another and started a study club. We decided to meet for dinner at The Union Hotel in De Pere, Wisconsin and discuss dentistry once a month during the fall and winter.

This month we celebrated the study club’s thirty-ninth year of existence with dinner at the same hotel dining room where we have met monthly during all that time. Over the years we have all been back at the Institute and celebrated its new venue. We have continued efforts to remain at the forefront of postgraduate dental education and private fee for service care.  

Our initial group of about a dozen members has grown smaller as we have aged. We have added a few new members over time and lost some members due to age or illness. In our early years, we invited speakers in and sponsored CE programs in the area.  

As we all developed more mature practices and our relationships within the group moved into higher levels of trust, we decided not to try to grow larger. Some may consider that to be self-serving. However, we see our group as having moved from a dental study club to a study club and support group.

We have never given up the goals of continuing to ask ‘why’ and continuing to learn.

To be continued …

Pankey Learning Group Information

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About Author

User Image
North Shetter DDS

Dr Shetter attended the University of Detroit Mercy where he received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1972. He then entered the U. S. Army and provided dental care at Ft Bragg, NC for the 82nd Airborne and Special Forces. In late 1975 he and his wife Jan moved to Menominee, MI and began private practice. He now is the senior doctor in a three doctor small group practice. Dr. Shetter has studied extensively at the Pankey Institute, been co-director of a Seattle Study Club branch in Green Bay WI where he has been a mentor to several dental offices. He has been a speaker for the Seattle Study Club. He has postgraduate training in orthodontics, implant restorative procedures, sedation and sleep disordered breathing. His practice is focused on fee for service, outcomes based dentistry. Marina Cove Consulting LLC is his effort to help other dentists discover emotional and economic success and deliver the highest standard of care they are capable of.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

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I AM INTERESTED IN

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