The second-annual Dean Kenneth B. Chance, DDS, Endowed Distinguished Lectureship was held on Thursday, Nov. 16, in Samson Pavilion. Faculty, staff, residents, students from the Schools of Dental Medicine, Medicine, Applied Social Sciences and Nursing attended the event.
After a reception, Jacquelyn Nance, Esq. (LAW ‘92), president of Philanthropic Solutions, Ltd., Case Western Reserve Trustee Executive Committee member, and daughter of the late Jefferson Jones, DMD, spoke about how the lectureship aligns itself with the mission of Case Western Reserve and the Cleveland Clinic to bring future doctors, dentists and nurses together to collaborate in addressing current and future health care challenges.
Mrs. Nance introduced the honored lecturer, Karen P. West, DMD, MPH, President and CEO of the American Dental Education Association. In her presentation titled Being a 21st Century Influencer: Creating Change in the Academic Health Professions, West discussed the hurdles she experienced in leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When it came time for the first ADEA national conference of her tenure as president and CEO, West had to make a difficult decision—to cancel the conference and have her staff go fully remote, at the cost of $2M. But West says it was worth the cost.
“There will always be times that we face the unknown,” said West. “We must always have confidence in our abilities.”
Due to West’s strategic thinking during the pandemic, ADEA was able to take a leadership role in the field of oral health. In collaboration with FEMA and Henry Schein, ADEA distributed 3M KN-95 respirators during the crisis.
“We must look ahead to the next 100 years of oral health, and position ourselves to counter threats and seize opportunities,” said West. “The number of students seeking enrollment in dental school is declining, and the cost of oral health and health-centered professional education will soon be cost prohibitive,” she continued. “Underrepresented and marginalized faculty, staff and students have fewer positive experiences. We must prepare doctors for collaborative practice with shared health records, and invest in future academic leaders, leadership development and faculty and staff recruitment.”
West described the many ways ADEA is already addressing these threats and opportunities with its DEIB initiatives, Interprofessional Education Collaborative, leadership programs and advocacy publications and coalitions.
“Dr. Karen West delivered a powerful, thought provoking presentation that fulfilled the vision of this lectureship,” said Dean Kenneth Chance. “Those attending were inspired and challenged to become influencers. The event was a great success.”