Three alumni have collectively amassed more than 6,000 continuing education hours. Can it really be done?
The Texas Academy of General Dentistry has an award for occasions such as this. The Mastership — given when an academy member accrues 1,100 or more approved continuing education hours — is an elite status held by only 166 general dentists in the 2,500-member organization.
This year three Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry alumni join their ranks: Drs. Don Heyen, Rene’ Scott and Ronald Proctor. On average, they earn between 60 and 113 continuing education hours a year, surpassing the academy’s 25-hour standard for members and the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners’ 12-hour minimum.
Call them high achievers. Call them perpetual students. And call them exceptionally prepared dentists.
Dr. Don Heyen ’95
Heyen DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
Wichita Falls, Texas
Continuing education hours accrued to date: 1,100
How long it took: 18 years
Why you’re a perpetual student: “As we all know, we never stop learning. There are many facets to dentistry and life that keep your mind, body and spirit engaged and growing. The mastership requirements don’t just allow you to focus on your strengths but encourage you to learn and apply new skills while researching materials, procedures and methods. Being a lifelong learner has made me a better dentist, husband and father. I know that there is more to learn still because there is always room for improvement!”
On whether the mastership is for everyone: “I would highly encourage other colleagues to participate in the AGD programs and work towards the fellowship and mastership achievements. It is a great way to stay current and focused on providing the best care for your patients.”
Owner/Dentist, Sleep Better for Life
Pilot Point, Texas
Continuing education hours accrued to date: more than 1,700
How long it took: 25 years
Why you’re a perpetual student: “It has to be genetic. My husband says that I would go to school full time, all the time, if someone would pay for it. I just like learning. My brain smiles when I learn something new. I like education. My grandmother was a schoolteacher, and I think she instilled that in me.”
How a mastership is like jewelry: “When you get your mastership, you get this little pin on a purple ribbon. It’s just a little gold pin that says ‘AGD master.’ It’s got a little diamond in it. My husband told me it’s the most expensive piece of jewelry I own. The time away from the office, the flights to get there, the cost of the courses, it adds up, but it was on my bucket list.”
Ronald L. Proctor DDS Family Restorative Dentistry
Continuing education hours accrued to date: 3,410
How long it took: 30 years
Why you’re a perpetual student: “Learning is fun to me. I meet a lot of people and see old friends, but mainly, in today’s world you need to keep up with all the new information to be the best you can be for your patients. CE programs and study club meetings are how I do that.”
On seeing familiar faces during CE courses: “I’ve had numerous doctors remark, ‘I see you everywhere!’ I take that as a compliment. I am so proud of my profession and what can be accomplished for our patients today.”