Educating the Next Generation
Deutsch hosts free two-day course at new facility
The first course at Deutsch Dental Arts' sparkling new educational facility in Sun City West, Arizona, was all set. Attendees were coming from as far as Australia. But the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything, including forcing the cancellation of that inaugural course. When vaccines became available and regulations began to loosen enough to allow for in-person courses again, laboratory owner Arian Deutsch, CDT, had a different vision for his first event.
"Everyone was feeling the impact of the pandemic, and we were fortunate enough to be in a position where we could afford to give back," says Deutsch, who has owned his laboratory for 14 years. "We decided to offer a free course. I had a vision of reaching out to individual technicians who were opening their own laboratories for the first time and providing them with an education that would not be company-driven, but rather just passing along what we have learned over the past 30 years in the laboratory profession."
Deutsch primarily used social media to identify candidates. He wanted to find people who might not be well-known on the lecture circuit but who showed a passion for the work and were inquisitive. Upon identifying the six—his training facility is built for small groups to foster more engaged learning—he sent invitations. All the participants needed to do was handle their own travel and accommodations, but the course was free, meals were provided, and everything from models to a live patient was covered.
"A few of them were definitely cautious at first," Deutsch says. "For the most part, I did not know these people, and they did not know me. One of the technicians was asking friends in the industry about us, thinking it might be a scam, but his girlfriend convinced him to take us at face value, so he went for it."
The course covered everything from basic dentures to complex implant rehabilitations.
"It was awesome," Deutsch says. "We did so much preparation that when the time came, I was able to focus largely on just enjoying it and getting to know the participants and their stories. It just felt like it went by so fast, but we covered so much ground."
Deutsch and the participants joined a group chat on a messaging app together a few weeks prior to the course, and he says the discussions were so lively that sometimes he could hardly keep up.
"It was beneficial for them to realize, ‘I'm not alone in this experience of opening my own laboratory,'" he says. "They can learn from their peers who are going through the same thing in other parts of the country. It has been a cool experience."
Deutsch says the need for education in the industry is "tremendous." After the free course, his next three sold out in a week. He has hosted both technicians and clinicians from around the country.
The group from that first course still stays in touch, including in that group chat, and Deutsch expects that to continue.
"The important thing that stuck with me is that this group made friends for life," Deutsch says. "They can have very frank discussions amongst themselves, and they can reach out to me with questions, such as how much they should be charging for certain restorations. We have had to learn so many things the hard way over the years, so it has been nice to be able to share what we have learned, and hopefully these younger laboratory owners can avoid some of the pitfalls and get on a fast track to make their laboratories profitable and successful."