Let’s Build a Treasure Together

September 29, 2011

Dr. John O'Keefe

The concept of stewardship is gaining currency and importance in various parts of society. For instance, in some religions, the starting assumption is that our life is a gift and we are therefore obliged to contribute our time, talent and treasure to return a greater gift to those around us. Applying this concept to our profession, I believe that we can all contribute in our own way, to leave the profession in a better state than when we entered it—our professional stewardship legacy, if you will.

Let me begin with this question are you one of the 100 dentists willing to contribute some of your time and talent to make the new JCDA a treasure for years to come?

JCDA is an important institution of the Canadian dental profession, and I consider myself fortunate to have played a stewardship role with the publication for so many years. However, I am appealing for the help of more stewards to step forward and continue the legacy of JCDA.

A conversation with a much respected colleague made me reflect on these issues. This person called to complain that the articles in one of our JCDA publications were too academic and wouldn't be useful for his clinical practice. I told him that his comments resonated with me and that although we are not abandoning scholarly publishing, the new JCDA will place an increased emphasis on delivering useful clinical information in formats demanded by dentists to help support clinical decision-making.

I informed my colleague that we have set up a panel of 50 general dentists across the country who are identifying their clinical knowledge needs, defining the formats that this information could take and how JCDA can deliver and facilitate the exchange of such knowledge.

My friend said he was impressed with this user-driven approach and that he welcomed this orientation for the new JCDA. I seized the opportunity to ask if he would consider helping us along our path in creating this new clinical support service. But when I inquired if he would draft some specifically defined "clinical pearls of wisdom" that might work within the new infrastructure we are designing, he responded that he did not have the time or confidence to write such material.

This illustrates one of our central challenges—in order to create a new JCDA we also need a new model for capturing, shaping and delivering clinical information. More importantly, we also need new people to help us with this endeavour.

Our panel of 50 general dentists are continuing to outline what types of clinical information are needed and what the various information packets could look like. Based on this exercise, it is clear to me that the new JCDA must adapt existing clinical knowledge into appropriate formats that can meet the information needs of Canadian dental offices. With the right people dedicated to the task, I believe we can create something new and innovative.

That is why I would like to hear from at least 100 dentists who are prepared to give a fraction of their time to create rough drafts of clinical information packets that will fit into templates we are currently refining. Please contact me by phone or email if you are willing to devote your time and talent to create a new treasure for our profession. I look forward to working together with new stewards as we bring this worthwhile project to fruition.

John P. O'Keefe
1-800-267-6354, ext. 2297

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