Reinventing Modern Dental Education | UNC-Chapel Hill


Students at UNC Adams School of Dentistry will continue to learn valuable leadership skills to help them excel in their careers as oral health professionals, thanks to a $5 million gift to the school from Dr. Richard and Angela Workman.

The Workmans’ gift establishes the Dr. and Mrs. Richard E. Workman Dental Leadership Endowment Fund. The fund will support innovative leadership courses – including Bell Leadership Institute courses – and professional development initiatives for students in the school’s doctoral dental surgery, post-DDS and dental hygiene programs.

“We know that developing leadership skills is critical to achieving positive patient outcomes and that dental teams provide their best level of care when led by thoughtful and collaborative oral health professionals,” said Ed Swift, acting dean of the Adams School. “We are extremely grateful for the investment in this professional development by the Workmans, and the work the Bell Leadership Institute team is doing to ensure our students graduate with strong leadership skills. »

With a focus on reinventing modern dental education beyond classical clinical training, the Adams School of Dentistry has launched its new Advocate-Clinician-Thinker, orLAWprogram in 2021. ACT provides students with training in leadership, person-centered care, effective decision-making, practice management, and behavioral sciences.

The Dr. and Mrs. Richard E. Workman Dental Leadership Endowment Fund ensures that leadership training programs become a permanent part of the ACT program.

“While in dental school, students obviously need to focus on acquiring the technical and clinical skills needed to enter the profession,” said Richard Workman. “But over the course of their career, advancing their leadership skills will be the single most important variable in their influence within their practice, family and community. This is why I am so honored to establish the endowment that will provide Bell Leadership courses to all students at UNC Adams School of Dentistry.

As medical technology and the practice of dentistry rapidly evolve, Adams School of Dentistry is committed to preparing its students to be agile caregivers capable of critical thinking and adaptable to new technologies, changing disease demographics and emerging healthcare models.

The Adams School of Dentistry and the ACT program also exemplify UNC-Chapel Hill’s emphasis on integrating career preparation opportunities into the student experience. Carolina is strategically committed to ensuring students are equipped to adapt to a rapidly changing global economy and work environment.

“The Bell Leadership Institute is thrilled to be part of UNC Adams School of Dentistry’s important initiative to develop our university’s future leaders,” said Dr. Gerald Bell, Founder and CEO of the Bell Leadership Institute. “Dr. Richard and Angela Workman’s leadership and support for leadership development within the dental profession and the dental schools curriculum provides an important foundation in helping dental professionals become leaders and contributors even further. more effective in their communities and practices.

Tang Blanton ’25 (DDS)participated in leadership programs through the ACT curriculum and said it was an ideal complement to the training he receives at Adams School of Dentistry.

“The Bell Leadership lessons at the start of base camp were a chance to imagine the kind of professional I wanted to be and to look to my peers for what they saw as essential in a good leader,” said Blaton. “Throughout this first year, I have tried to keep those lessons in mind and use them as a framework around which I can grow.”

An innovator and leader in the field and practice of dentistry, Richard Workman founded Heartland Dental in 1997. A graduate of Southern Illinois University, Workman began his career in a single dental practice in Effingham, Illinois. Angela Workman is a graduate of the University of Missouri, a former employee of Heartland Dental, and a member of the advisory board of the Heartland Foundation. Heartland Dental is the largest dental services organization in the world, supporting more than 2,400 physicians in 1,600 practices in 38 states.

In 2020, the Workmans contributed $1 million in sustainable funds to launch leadership training programs for dental students developed and led by Dr. Gerald Bell, Founder and CEO of the Bell Leadership Institute and Adjunct Professor at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. Founded in 1972, the Bell Leadership Institute has worked with more than 5,000 organizations in more than 50 countries through consulting, coaching, training seminars and speaker series.

This recent $5 million donation from the Workmans counts forthe Campaign for Carolina, the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the University’s history. With a $4.25 billion goal announced in October 2017, the campaign is guided by two core principles: “From the People, for the People” and “Innovation Made Fundamental”. The campaign will end on December 31, 2022.


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