Workshop A


Presenter: Michael Slesnick, DDS

Department of General Dentistry, Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine

The intent of this workshop is to discuss the communication training now incorporated into  Boston University’s Henry M Goldman School of Dental Medicine’s curriculum. It may be that a similar training might be of use to other health care educational programs.

The training is designed to teach well-defined communication goals and techniques with the intent of:

  • Increasing patient compliance;
  • Preventing or managing problems;
  • Improving career satisfaction.

Target Audience: All faculty and staff interested in helping students achieve proficiency in communication and interpersonal skills in the clinical setting.

Rationale: Health care education has traditionally focused on didactic courses and development of clinical skills. Often, however new graduates find that they lack the skills needed to connect with and understand their patients. As a result, they are unable to 1) successfully help patients understand their situations and treatment options, or 2)  prevent or manage patients’ emotional issues when problems arise. This training starts by stressing  the critical nature of communication and then moves on to the essential communication goals needed for specific clinical situations. Once these goals are clear, techniques for achieving the goals are taught. Research to date has demonstrated that the training has been successful in increasing student confidence.

Learning Objectives: By the end of the session, participants should:

  • Understand how students are being motivated to become good communicators;
  • Understand the communication goals that students are being taught;
  • Understand the techniques the students are learning to achieve these goals;
  • Understand the value of communication training in successfully presenting treatment plans and in preventing and managing clinical problems;
  • Understand how the workshop training transitions into the clinical experience;
  • Understand the importance of student self-assessment;
  • Understand the research currently being conducted to assess the training.


  • Overview of the training (30 minutes)
  • Role-playing session.(40 minutes)
  • Group discussion and/or Q and A (20 minutes)