The Value of a Written a Philosophy Statement

July 1, 2019 Paul Henny DDS

When asked about The Pankey Philosophy, L.D. Pankey famously responded, “What do you mean when you ask me about The Pankey Philosophy? I am not familiar with the document, although I do recall writing an essay entitled A Philosophy of Dentistry by L.D. Pankey.”

Most dentists are comfortable acknowledging that L.D. Pankey was a great philosopher and that he was the first well-known philosopher in dentistry, but most dentists don’t think of themselves in a similar fashion; rather they like to think of themselves as being prototypes of practicality. This is why most dentists never even think about the value of writing a Philosophy Statement.

Just what is a philosophy statement?

A philosophy statement is a statement of core beliefs, and a validated philosophy is a philosophy statement which has been affirmed through its frequent use, reference, and revision. It is, therefore, a living creed around which a person or group of people live their lives.

A great example of a validated philosophy statement was how Wilson Southam and the Group at Cox operated a number of years ago. Cox was a progressive dental equipment designer and manufacturer located in Stony Creek, Ontario. Wilson Southam was an investor, a co-owner, as well as the philosophical leader of the company. Cox had developed a philosophy around which all of its equipment would be designed – a concept is called, “the computerized dental cockpit,” fashioned similarly to how a fighter pilot might operate. And Cox preferred to sell its equipment to only those who understood its philosophy…only to those who understood the “why” behind the “how” and the “what.” Cox believed in this so strongly that it held workshops centered around its philosophy at Stony Creek.

A philosophy statement can also be called a “core beliefs statement.” A good example of a philosophy statement is the Nicene Creed, co-authored after the center of the Roman Catholic Empire was moved from Rome to Constantinople. At that time, Christianity was in a fractured state, with many different sects, and with many different belief systems. The Nicene Creed was co-created by the Roman Catholic leadership with the intention of having it function as a unifying document around which everyone could agree, so that the church could again move forward.  It states, “We believe…. We believe.”

It’s a well thought out basis for behavior.

So, a philosophy statement represents a statement of beliefs, which is so basic and so fundamental that it provides a rational and comfortable basis for you and your care team to determine what it is that each member of a care team should do, as well as what they should choose not to do.

William James was a physician who lectured at Harvard in the late 1800s on Philosophy and Psychology. He is considered to be America’s first psychologist and was thought of as a “pragmatic philosopher.”  In this regard, James said, “There is nothing more practical than having a personal philosophy.” In the case of dentistry, an applied philosophy (validated philosophy) is practical as well, as it naturally leads to an organically-driven team, deep in mission, and high levels of personal autonomy and interpersonal trust.

A philosophically-aligned team is essential for the creation of a philosophically-driven community.

Barkley a year or so before his untimely death in 1977, said during an interview with Avrom King said: “If I had one wish that could be granted, it would be that every dentist would take the time to create a written philosophy statement.” Let’s talk about why Bob would make such a statement.

The creation of a relationship-based/health-centered practice is a perfect example of the creation of a philosophically-driven community, with the word community being used as a reference not only to the creation of a care team, but also to the patients of a practice, its associated suppliers, mentors, and facilitators. All of the members of this community are philosophically aligned through either careful selection, development, or both.

A community of this type begins with the creation of a care team which has co-authored a written statement of philosophy. This is because you cannot have a true health-centered dental practice without a philosophically-aligned care team which listens well, are true helpers, and who facilitate healing in each other, as well in those with whom they come in contact. One or two people acting alone, simply cannot apply a practice philosophy as others, who are in contact with patients, will create too much confusion and mixed messages in the minds of the patients.

A personal philosophy statement starts the ball rolling.

The dentist might begin the process of thinking through a personal philosophy statement by answering these questions:

  1. Who am I? (What are my values and core beliefs?)
  2. Who do I want to become? (How do I want to see my life unfold?)
  3. Why do I feel this way? (What is my personal purpose in this life?)

To develop your philosophy-driven community (care team, patients, suppliers, mentors and facilitators) the dentist next shares his or her personal philosophy with care team members and leads them in co-authoring a practice philosophy statement.

Remember: A philosophy statement is a statement of core beliefs, and a validated philosophy is a philosophy statement which has been affirmed through its frequent use, reference, and revision. It is, therefore, a living creed around which a person or group of people live their lives.

A co-authored and applied practice philosophy statement produces multiple benefits.

Here are four concrete benefits of co-creating a written group philosophy statement with your care team:

  1. It will establish a standard of behavior for everyone to live up to and aspire towards.
  2. It will allow for that standard of behavior to be used in a situationally appropriate fashion, and therefore not be used dogmatically, as everyone recognizes that every person and every situation is unique.
  3. It will function as a centripetal force…as a kind of principle-centered psycho-social glue which will hold the care team together during times of change and challenge.
  4. It will function as the foundational document out of which a practice vision (where are we going long-term) and a mission statement (how we will get it done) can evolve.

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Paul Henny DDS

Dr. Paul Henny maintains an esthetically-focused restorative practice in Roanoke, Virginia. Additionally, he has been a national speaker in dentistry, a visiting faculty member of the Pankey Institute, and visiting lecturer at the Jefferson College or Health Sciences. Dr. Henny has been a member of the Roanoke Valley Dental Society, The Academy of General Dentistry, The American College of Oral Implantology, The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantology. He is Past President and co-founder of the Robert F. Barkley Dental Study Club.

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Quid Pro Quo

June 12, 2019 Paul Henny DDS

Like many aspiring students on a track toward dental school, I studied Latin with the hope that someday my understanding of Latin root word forms would translate into a greater value to me as a dentist.

That day never really came as an obvious epiphany, but rather as thousands of subtle moments later while reading, listening, or learning.

Not Your Standard Definition…

And it also came the day when that I started to attend The Pankey Institute and saw the tag line was “quid pro quo,” and it confused me. It confused me because all standard definitions of quid pro quo sound transactional – something is given or taken in return for something else, so it did not line up with the Institute’s preferred definition: “Give before receiving,” which has a much different tone…a much different intention.

Even today, due to my Latin training when I see “quid pro quo,” I have to stop myself and insert the Pankey definition when thinking about my profession. And I would argue that it is deeply important that we all do so, because viewing dentistry primarily as a transactional business is to devalue it down to a highly skilled trade. And this totally neglects the spiritual and more holistic aspects of our work which are the true source of joy, fulfillment, and meaning over long careers – a lesson Dr. Pankey routinely taught.

The Pankey Institute’s definition of quid pro quo is more aligned with words like Scott Peck’s “love” (selflessly giving to another with the sole agenda of helping them to grow and to become healthier and more fully functioning). The Institute’s definition is more aligned with trust and investing…investing in the sense that we believe that if we selflessly facilitate in others’ greater self-knowledge, self-understanding, and personal empowerment, they will reciprocate by gifting us an opportunity to help them achieve their goals.

What is the quid? What is the quo?

In other words, we offer our true and sincere caring as the “quid,” and if done in the right way, at the right time, with the right person we get the “quo” in return, as a reward experienced as a new trusting and deeply helpful relationship which yields respect, admiration, and appreciation in an ongoing fashion.

We get emotional confirmation in return. As dentists serving patients in our professional capacity, we get proper financial compensation in return as a SYMBOL of how much the person values the relationship and what it has brought into their life.

“Because I care.”

In a recent sermon, our minister said: “The summons for us as people of God…those who are called to be full of compassion, mercy, and love, is to live in such a way that people ask ‘Why’? Why do you feed me? Why do you clothe me? Why do you visit me when I am sick? Why do you do these things for me? And our response will be, simply, because I care…because I love you.”

Quid pro quo…THAT is what it means to me.

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Paul Henny DDS

Dr. Paul Henny maintains an esthetically-focused restorative practice in Roanoke, Virginia. Additionally, he has been a national speaker in dentistry, a visiting faculty member of the Pankey Institute, and visiting lecturer at the Jefferson College or Health Sciences. Dr. Henny has been a member of the Roanoke Valley Dental Society, The Academy of General Dentistry, The American College of Oral Implantology, The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantology. He is Past President and co-founder of the Robert F. Barkley Dental Study Club.

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Celebrate The Pankey Institute’s 50th Anniversary With Us

March 5, 2019 Pankey Gram

The Pankey Institute’s 50th Anniversary celebrates the thousands of dentists who have learned and advanced their practice of dentistry through relationship-driven education principles pioneered by Dr. L. D. Pankey. We’re kicking off a year long celebration to honor half a century of transformative professional growth. 

Here’s how you can get in on the fun:

50 Years of Dental Continuing Education Excellence

The Pankey Institute was opened in honor of Dr. L.D. Pankey, a dental visionary who supported patient care designed to ensure oral health longevity while inspiring dentists to greater career satisfaction. Throughout 2019, we will celebrate the organization’s history, as well as its impact on dental professional across the US and internationally.

The celebration will culminate in the Pankey Annual Meeting, which will be held on September 13-14 at the Ritz Carlton, Key Biscayne.  Our theme is “The Future Starts Now, and are hosting some of dentistry’s top speakers. During the event plan to join us for the Triple Plus Club dinner, do yoga with Sheri Kay, get out and stretch your legs for the Fun Run/Walk and tour the newly renovated Institute at 1 Crandon Blvd. 

Dr. Pankey’s philosophy has changed the lives of over 25,000 dentists since the Institute was founded 50 years ago. Celebrating this legacy is about every one of the clinicians in our community and all that they themselves have done to transform their practice of dentistry for the benefit of patients.

We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as we make 2019 a year to never forget! Thank you for all your support of the Pankey family. Learn more about our upcoming programs here and read more about the Pankey experience here!

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Experience Cuban Cuisine on Key Biscayne

September 14, 2017 Pankey Gram

New to the Key? Interested in expanding your culinary oeuvre? If you’re attending a Pankey course, you should add Cuban to your list of must-try Key Biscayne cuisine. 

Map showing route from Pankey to Oasis CafeLuckily, just across the street from the Pankey Institute is a small (but recently renovated & expanded) walk-up restaurant called ‘Oasis Cafe.’ Ordering at this local’s favorite can seem intimidating at first to those unfamiliar with Cuban cuisine, but it is actually a great experience.

The cafe is such a local institution it doesn’t have a sign, so we created a map to help you find it!

The food isn’t fancy, but it is real cuban food! You probably can’t go wrong with any selection, so it’s worthwhile to simply see what’s cooking today or ask for recommendations from the Oasis staff.

On the other hand, you could try out some of our favorites:

Pankey Favorites – Cuban Food at The Oasis Cafe

1. The Cuban Sandwich

This sandwich is not like other sandwiches. You either love it or your hate it. Cuban sandwiches are legendary for their salty-savory expansion on the traditional ‘ham and cheese.’ Trust us, they are on a whole new level.

Cuban sandwiches are filled with three different types of meat: ham, roasted pork, and salami. Pickles, mustard, and Swiss cheese add depth to the flavor profile. Everything is then squeezed between flaky, soft Cuban bread (a delight in its own right).

2. Cafe Con Leche or a Cortadito

Coffee with milk? It sounds simple, but a true cafe con leche from a Cuban establishment is a very specific type of drink made with strong cuban espresso. Despite not actually being food or ‘cuisine,’ cafe con leche is an essential part of a Cuban-inspired meal. If you like your coffee stronger, ask for a Cortadito.  Think of it as a smaller, more intense cappuccino. Get it the way the locals like it: “con azucar” (with sugar).

3. Empanadas

Empanadas are a savory pastry usually made with beef. They are universally adored for their reasonably doughy, deliciously fried exterior and flavorful insides. You won’t be able to stop at just one, we promise. They are filling, moist, and perfect for an on-the-go lunch.

4. Guava & Cheese Pastelitos

Think of fruity cheesecake filling in a warm, flaky, fresh-baked pastry. Its a delicious, authentic cuban pastry with a unique, islands flavor.  There are other flavors and even savory versions with meat, but we recommend you just ask for a “Guava & Cheese”.

5. Sweet Fried Plantains

“Maduros” as they are called are a delicious treat, often included with a meal as a side dish. Plaintains look like large bananas, but have a different flavor and texture.  Even if you don’t like bananas, you may like Maduros, which are fried (but not breaded). The sugars in the fruit are caramelized, and many like them slightly burnt.

How important is a satisfying local food scene to you when taking CE? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! 

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5 Thoughts Every Dentist Has During Their First Pankey Course

July 3, 2017 Pankey Gram

More than anything, Pankey is a family that grows every year to include a wide variety of dentists practicing across the world.

One thing we all have in common are many of the thoughts that ran through our head during our first Pankey course. These range from the personally insightful to the downright hilarious.

5 Thoughts Dentists Have During Pankey Essentials 1 

1. “I wish I lived on a beach island.”

As you leave Miami to cross the Rickenbacker Causeway and enter Key Biscayne, you begin to realize why Pankey is where it is. Mangroves line the sparkling blue coast and you pass a long strip of sunshine-soaked public beaches. Lush greenery rises up on both sides of the road. Soon you’re arriving at the literal paradise of a tiny island dotted with luxury resorts, mansions, and amazing Cuban food. Speaking of Cuba…

2. “I probably shouldn’t have had that third Cuban coffee this morning.”

You may have been warned about the super-strength effects of a Café Cubano, but the cups were just so small and unassuming (and let’s admit it, delicious) that you downed two to three in quick succession. Not long after, you got a jolt of razor sharp caffeine. Baptism by fire, as they say. You show up to the Essentials 1 (link) course introductions and realize you’re nodding like a maniac to everything the instructors say. Don’t worry, they love the enthusiasm.

3. “I didn’t expect to meet my best friend in dentistry.”

You’re getting to know people who aspire to practice dentistry the same way you do. It’s eye-opening to discover you aren’t alone in wanting to sharpen your skills and create a professional lifestyle that leaves you passionate rather than exhausted. You’re already forming lifelong relationships with dentists who will become genuine friends as you walk similar paths toward career fulfillment.

4. “I have a lot to learn.”

Dentists who sign up for E1 are usually hungry for growth in their professional lives. You take the CE because you want to learn about occlusion and how you can do higher-end restorative dentistry. As the lessons build, your desire to practice the way you’re being taught multiplies, but you also realize it will be a long path of dedication. You didn’t expect to learn how you could design dentistry so that you could truly love it. Pankey CE changes your perception of the care you can offer and feeds the flames for further learning.

5. “I’ve finally found my home in dental CE.”

No matter how long you’ve been in dentistry (or even right at the beginning), there comes a point where you wonder, ‘Is this as good as it gets?’ After coming to Pankey and being immersed in the inspiring philosophy, you find that the answer is, ‘No, it can always get better.’ You’ve become part of a community that yearns for more satisfaction in their careers. You’ve finally found your dental home.

What revelations did you have during your first Pankey course? It would be awesome to hear from you in the comments!

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