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Leadership, communication among skills dentist learned in dental practice management program

June 20, 2016

By Kelly Soderlund

Dr. Oppel
After being in practice for 30 years, Dr. Fred Oppel will be the first to tell you his leadership and business skills could use some refreshing.

It's the main reason he enrolled in the ADA's Executive Program in Dental Practice Management, an online program through the ADA Center for Professional Success where dentists learn about financial management, enhancing marketing strategies and other business skills they may not have been taught in dental school.

The certificate program consists of six 10-hour courses that combine insight from the nation's leading dental practice management experts and ADA-selected business lecturers from the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business.

"I enjoyed it very much," said Dr. Oppel, who practices in Portage, Michigan. "I thought it was very educational. I think it would beneficial for a lot of practitioners, particularly young practitioners coming out of dental school right now."

Dr. Oppel began the online program in January 2015 and finished before the end of the year. His courses included Legal and Ethical Issues in Dental Practice; Negotiation and Conflict Management; Understanding Leadership; Business Strategy and Systems; Dental Team Management; and Financial Management.

"I've already used some of the leadership and communication tools with patients and my staff," Dr. Oppel said. "I feel like the courses have helped me increase efficiency in my office.

Dentists must take all of the courses to receive a certificate or they can pick and choose and receive continuing education credit where appropriate. Dentists can access the Web-based courses through their desktop or laptop computers, smartphones or tablets.

"Dentists who have been practicing a long time have become accustomed to certain ways of doing business," Dr. Oppel said. "This course expands your horizons immensely to a lot of different components of business management. It's a great way to grow your practice."

To learn more or to register for the program, visit