Over the course of my career I have been in relentless pursuit of dental knowledge. I have learned from the best and this gave me the tools and inspiration to build a very successful practice in Dallas. If we have ever been in a course together you know that I sit up front, I record and video every presentation. Over my 10 courses a year for the last 40 years, I have developed an extensive library of presentations, I guess in some way this collection will form a large part of my legacy (if I can ever get it catalogued properly). I mention this to frame a point that occurred to me recently.
While every presenter/educator has some knowledge and some have a great point of view, the truly great presenters and mentors in the industry are willing to take the lead. Leading is tough and requires the ability to challenge yourself raise the bar and strive to challenge the status quo but also to document the process. Harlod Gelb, Robert Rickets and Wayne Halstrom and a few others fall into this category.
I particularly want to single out a person who has done so much for me in the last 7 years. David Gergen CDT has taught me so much. Several years ago I met David when I had made the decision to establish a best in class sleep apnea practice. I had engaged a famous (infamous) educator from Erie PA who I met at the “50 pearls of dentistry course”. I spent almost $100K to learn what was at that time brand new style of practice, Dental Sleep Medicine. This educator from Erie PA was one of the most enigmatic individuals I have ever met. Almost every direct question got more than one answer, often “what do you think?” To which I would reply “ I don’t know that’s why I asked you.” The only good part of this experience was meeting David Gergen. David came to my practice at his own cost and in a few short months got my practice back on track. I knew that I needed 3 things to get my practice on track:
- A Qualified Patient
- A reliable oral appliance that fit well at the right price
- I needed to get paid for the work I was doing
David rapidly got me back on track. In part his process was to get me involved with the ASBA study club. At that time it was called the Scottsdale Study Club that was where I met Dr Mark Collins, Dr Paul Van Wallegham and Dr Ken Berley they were both going through the same things I was.
David has always amazed me he is a multi millionaire and he always treats me like I am his boss. I asked him why that was. David told me that his credo is “I am always on the side of the practitioner. One case per month or 10 cases per month every practitioner is equal in my eyes”.
Within a year or so I was treating retired NFL players and their families and consulting by phone with dentists all over the country that David was introducing to the NFLPA through ProPlayer Health Alliance.
In the last 2 years I think that David has taken the lead in perhaps the biggest way yet. He is now the executive director of the American Sleep and breathing academy. This is the venue for David to share with the profession his passion for sleep apnea therapy. The clinicians who will lecture at the ASBA are all currently practicing and seeing patients on a daily basis. They all are making it work. There is no reason to answer riddles with riddles. It is simple education provided by a group that is trying to lead by raising the bar staying curious and delivering for the patients.