Interview with Dean Patrick Lloyd

Interview with Dean Patrick Lloyd

The Editors:

Dr. Patrick Lloyd has announced that he will be leaving the post of Dean of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry this August.  Northwest Dentistry sat down with Dr. Lloyd to review and put some perspective on his seven years at the School.

NWD: When you arrived in 2004, what were your thoughts/plans/perceptions, and how did those play out?

Dr. Lloyd: I was originally attracted to the position because I was looking for a school with a strong clinical program and a full set of specialty residencies, a nationally recognized group of researchers, and an existing outreach program that exposed students to the varied needs of society.  I knew the school enjoyed strong alumni support and a close working relationship with its state dental association. I was also aware of its relationship with 3M, Patterson Dental, and Delta Dental of Minnesota.  And I was attracted by the U's Academic Health Center.  I saw a unique opportunity for all of these "pieces" to work together.  My time here has exceeded all expectations.

NWD: What was at the top of the list when you arrived, and what is there now?

Dr. Lloyd: Just before I arrived, the school had started a strategic planning process, and it was important that we continued to move forward with that initiative.  We engaged in a faculty-led, all-school strategic planning session.  It was the first such effort in more than a decade, and everyone had a chance to participate, including representatives from external groups.  No one was left out, and no one was immune to the results of our efforts.  We set our sights high, articulated a vision and a mission statement, and identified values that we would live by and a series of strategic actions.  Concurrently, we prepared for our once-every-seven years accreditation site visit by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.  Much of what transpired over the last seven years was driven by that strategic plan.

NWD: Can you share some examples?

Dr. Lloyd: We re-envisioned our approach to clinical education and reaffirmed our commitment to a comprehensive care clinic to provide a patient-focused learning environment that promotes the dental team. And we enhanced alumni relations, expanded distance learning through our Continuing Dental Education Program, and stepped up our fundraising activities.

We also undertook a number of facilities anhancements and technology investments to improve the environment in which we work, teach, learn, and evaluation and care for patients - a state-of-the-art simulation clinic; renovated office, conference, student study and patient reception spaces; acquired a cone beam and a micro CT scanner; and (recently) launched an electronic patient record keeping system.  We started a program to prepare internationally educated dentists for licensure in the United States.  You asked earlier about where we are now.  We are preparing to revisit the strategic planning process to chart the course for how the school will move forward from 2011.

NWD: Tell me about the highlights and successes.

Dr. Lloyd: Our 2006 accreditation review by the Commission on Dental Accreditation was a highlight.  Preparation for the visit was a two year process, and we received 22 commendations, which is almost unheard of in dental accreditation circles. It was an all-school effort, as was our campaign to build our Simulation Clinic.  That project moved forward with strong University support, a lead gift of $1 million from 3M Foundation, and significant community contributions from private donors, including an 86% participation rate by our faculty and a significant number of staff.  The project was successful beyond my imagination - the University featured us in his statewide Driven to Discover television campaign, and we're recognized worldwide as a leader in exploiting technology in dental education.

We also created successful public-private partnerships that expanded our outreach program to a total of eight sites - including new clinics in Willmar and four int he Twin Cities - which allow us to provide unique learning opportunities for students and enhance access to care for communities.  And we increased the required service-learning rotation in these clinics from two weeks to eight weeks.  We helped launch a new General Practice Residency Program in partnership with University of Minnesota Physicians and University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview.  And to distinguish our dental hygiene program from others in the state, we worked with the University's Carlson School of Management and College of Education and Human Development to start the Master of Dental Hygiene Program.  We also hired 41 new faculty, 42% of whom are women.  And 12 hold Ph.D.s in a defined discipline to advance our research program.

NWD: What about the challenges and surprises?

Dr. Lloyd: I didn't anticipate the 2008 legislature would authorize licensure of dental therapies in Minnesota.  But as the initiative advanced with significant momentum, I felt we had a responsibility to contribute.  We knew about dental education, and I felt we were compelled to help shape the legislation that would codify the details for supervision, education, scope of practice, and licensure of this new provider.  The legislation that finally passed was significantly different from the bill originally proposed.  We worked hard with the Minnesota Dental Association to advance a model that would meet the legislative intent and that was one the profession could accept.  It was based on a single standard of care, indirect supervision, and the dentist as a leader of the team.

Most surprising though, was the opportunity for the dental school to help shape a new approach to initial licensure to practice dentistry in Minnesota.  We worked closely with the Minnesota Board of Dentistry, which voted in fall 2009 to accpet the National Dental Examining Board of Canada's non-patient-based licensure exam as a condition of licensure for new Minnesota graduates applying for initial licensure to practice dentistry in Minnesota.  Here again, Minnesota led the way in shaping the future of our profession.  That our efforts received national recognition and the American Dental Education Association's Gies Award for Vision was expecially gratifying. 

NWD: The school's relationship with organized dentistry in Minnesota is always evolving.  How would you evaluate the relationship today?

Dr. Lloyd: The school and the Minnesota Dental Association enjoy a relationship that is the envy of dental schools across the country.  We are two different organizations with different missions, but we have much in common.  We share a common constituency - the majority of MDA members are School of Dentistry alums. And our interests align on a number of issues.  So, we listen carefully to each other. I met and talked often with association representatives, was welcomed at district meetings around the state to share news of the school, and was honored to be an MDA alternate delegate to the American Dental Association's House of Delegates.  I especially remember the every-other-year ice fishing extravaganzas with the Northwestern District Dental Society and the West Central District Dental Society's golf outing in Alexandria.

NWD: You are going to Ohio State.  Why the move, and what do you anticipate there?

Dr. Lloyd: As it is with much in life, the decision to accept this new opportunity was a difficult one.  My seven-plus years here have been both personally and professionally gratifying and marked by unprecendented student, staff, and faculty accomplishments.  As it happened, a unique opportunity presented itself that promises new challenges and opportunities to advance our profession.  I will be dean of The Ohio State University College of Dentistry and director of dentistry for the University's Medical Center.  Like Minnesota, OSU has an interdisciplinary academic health center, a strong research initiative, supportive alumni, the Midwest work ethic, and a dental industry leader - Procter and Gamble.  Still, I leave with mixed emotions.  Being dean of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry was the opportunity of a lifetime, and I've made more friends here than I could ever have imagined.  At the same time, I recognize that the timing of my departure provides great opportunities for our school.  The University has a new president who will appoint a new School of Dentistry dean.  The first appointments made by new leadership are important, and it's exciting to know that he school will have the ear and attention of a University president committed to the success of his appointee.

For now, I am grateful beyond words for the opportunity to have been dean of this great dental school and for the support and friendship of so many.  And I will always watch with interest and pride to hear about the new and exciting things that are yet to come for the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry.