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What The Dawson Academy Asian Lecture Tour Taught Me

12 days, 12 planes, 11 presentations, 7 cities, 1 suitcase, 1 message

(and dozens of mosquito bites and a bottle of Advil…)

The_Dawson_Academy_AsiaThrough a global educational collaborative with our corporate partners at BioResearch Associates, along with their Asian distributors, I have had the unique opportunity to spend almost 2 weeks in the beautiful countries of India and Thailand, speaking on both TMD and the Dawson Academy philosophy of “The Concept of Complete Dentistry.” The similarities of these countries outweigh their differences; both rooted in culture, faith, respect, and loyalty, as is all of Asia.

Delivering lecture after lecture, in city after city, I was able to speak to over 1,000 prosthodontists, generalists, specialists and post-graduate students. The wonderful response from the eager audiences was absolutely amazing.  I was shuttled around from meeting to meeting with dental dignitaries, deans, faculty, and the elite private practitioners.  At times, I felt like I was on a special envoy mission for the State Department. I wish that Dr. Dawson, Dr. Cranham and everyone at the Academy could have joined me to experience the reverence and grace with which I was received, solely because I was a messenger of the Academy; I am both humbled and honored to have been able to be their torchbearer.

The thirst for knowledge is great here.

Their finest have all read Dr. Dawson’s text, cover to cover, and many can actually recite portions of it, verbatim; it is considered the written word. Their frustration here, however, is far greater than ours.  Implementation of the principles is constantly challenging without hands-on training to backup the textbook, and development of good, interdisciplinary teams has been a struggle.

I was asked to consult on several cases, and it would absolutely turn your stomach to see and hear how their uninformed colleagues had unknowingly treated patients in the name of attempting to cure their TMD.  There are thousands of avoidable dental casualties, growing quickly in number every day, since there is very little fear of malpractice litigation.

At times they tried to make me feel like the Pope, and at other times a rock star, both on their respective tours. But how I actually feel like now is a member of the Red Cross, delivering sips of water to help quench the thirst of the dehydrated.

I am reminded of the story of “The Boy and the Starfish”, so eloquently recited by Dr. Cranham: 

After a storm, thousands of starfish were washed upon a beach.  A young boy, seeing the devastation, throws a starfish back into the water. A silent observer watches, as the boy continues to throw them back, one by one, for hours on end. Bewildered by the apparent futility in the boy’s actions, the observer finally approaches him.

“I am sorry to tell you, but this storm has affected the entire coastline, for hundreds of miles, north and south of here,” said the observer to the boy.  “Surely you must realize that there are literally millions of similarly stranded starfish, and that you can never actually make a difference.”

The boy sinks his head sullenly, acquiescing for a moment, exhausted from his efforts, now both physically and emotionally. As the somewhat smug observer begins to walk away, the boy finally reaches down and throws another starfish back into the ocean.

“But Sir, “ the boy replies with a newly found enthusiasm, “I surely must have made a difference for that one.”

My emotions have been running quite deep on this trip: fear of the unknown ramifications of travelling during a military coup, fatigue, homesickness for my family, and frenzied enthusiasm and hope for the possibilities here.  The mission, however, and its undying vision, is clear, as it has always been: the word of Dr. Dawson must continue to be delivered to the world.

Soon, our Dawson Academy curriculum will be brought to the Indian Subcontinent, and subsequently to the rest of Southeast Asia. The teachings of The Concept of Complete Dentistry will exponentially grow in its reach here, as it is already beginning to do in the rest of the world. The philosophy is, after all, a dental extension of basic human decency.  We will be delivering water by the gallons, saving dentists suffering from dehydration; we will be throwing our international stranded starfish colleagues back into the water, 24 at a time, just as we have been doing with our US colleagues back home.

As my Asian Tour is coming to its close, I reflect back on my time here, on my long journey back home. I will sleep peacefully for now. I have given a few glasses of water to the thirsty, and have saved a few starfish.

Interested in attending The Dawson Academy in India? Click here to be put on our waitlist.

To view more pictures of this trip, visit our Google+ page or Facebook page.

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