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Learn the business side of dentistry through University of Florida course

Gainesville, Fla.—Dr. Matthew Nawrocki's degree from the University of Florida College of Dentistry prepared him for the clinical side of dentistry. But the business side? He needed some more help.

This wasn't something the 30-year-old Jacksonville, Fla., prosthodontist realized until he purchased two general dental practices with the intention of merging them. Like most dental students, Dr. Nawrocki had a short course in practice management while in dental school, but it wasn't until he put himself in charge of managing the business that he realized how much he was missing.

"The course in dental school was just enough to tell you what you don't know and kind of scare you," Dr. Nawrocki said. "There's so much stuff on the business side you don't know about, and it's a little daunting."

He found the answer within his alma mater. This fall, the University of Florida College of Dentistry will offer its first Executive Practice Management Certificate Program for Dentists. The 13-month program, launched by the university's Continuing Dental Education Office, will prepare dentists to become business owners and executive managers within their practices.

Image: Dr. James Haddix
Dr. James Haddix
"Dentistry has needed a program like this for years," said Dr. James Haddix, associate professor and assistant dean for Continuing Education at the University of Florida College of Dentistry. "I have students that come back to me all the time who tell me that they wish they had gotten better business training in dental school. I don't think it's unique to our dental school. I think dental education in general doesn't emphasize the business aspects of dentistry as much as we need to."

Dentists who enroll will learn about finance, practice operations and compliance, human resources, and sales and marketing. The course will also tackle buying or building a practice, becoming an associate, debt reduction through overhead control and wealth accumulation for practice transitions.

It includes monthly weekend face-to-face meetings in Orlando plus a supplemental online Web course. The classes will be small—between 15–25 dentists—and topics are divided into 13 modules, with one module taught one weekend per month.

"Our ultimate goal of this program is for our participants to develop the business skills they need to increase their practice's efficiencies and create solid financial growth and stability so that, ultimately, they can focus on serving their patient's needs," Dr. Haddix said.

The University of Florida is an ADA Continuing Education Recognition Program recognized provider and students can receive 186 hours of CE from the practice management program. Those who are accepted must be practicing, actively-licensed dentists, newly graduated dentists or graduating dentists in dental school.

Tuition is $15,487 and does not include travel or accommodations in Orlando.

The content of the practice management course intrigued Dr. Nawrocki and his twin brother Dr. Andrew Nawrocki, a prosthodontist in Ormond Beach, Fla., but the price really sold the idea. They had been researching programs they could enroll in to gain business skills and had considered other practice management courses or even getting a master's in business administration. These programs would cost them anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000, Dr. Nawrocki said.

"From a cost benefit standpoint, I really think it's excellent," Dr. Nawrocki said. "It is really one of those programs that takes you from A to Z, start to finish."

For more information on the Executive Practice Management Certificate Program for Dentists, visit http://epmfordentists.com or contact Michelle Hopkins at 1-888-550-4590 or mhopkins@dental.ufl.edu.