Chris Swayze

Faster, better, more efficiently: meet Dentistry’s new CDE Director, Dr. Chris Swayze

Chris Swayze, who began as the Faculty’s new director of Continuing Dental Education on 4 February, knows how dentists think — especially when it comes to fulfilling their educational requirements. In fact, he’s built a career around knowing dentists’ needs. 

A practicing dentist, Swayze graduated from Western’s class of 1993, which he followed up with a one-year hospital internship. With a thirst for knowledge, he completed a specialty MBA degree (for those with a science or health background) from Queen’s University. Post-degree, he led a couple of start up companies, but also went to work for the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario. First, he was a monitoring officer, following up on dentists who were required by the College to take specific programs of education. He started taking on public complaints, and was quickly made senior dental consultant, assistant manager, then manager of the investigative arm of the RCDSO, a position he held for the past 7 years. He has spent 16 years at the College in total. 

“The minutiae and science behind [learning], those are great to know — but show me what I really need to know first, and then show me an easy way to figure out the rest.” 

“I was looking at every aspect of the standards,” says Swayze, an expert in infection control standards. “Then I’d write a report, trying to distil the information and make sense of it for a panel to consider.” Swayze would then work with the panel and help develop the educational requirements for dentists. 

So what kind of continuing education courses do dentists want? Convenient ones, says Swayze, who plans to leverage the Faculty’s already-strong presence in online and distance learning —programs that translate to less hours of lost office productivity and lower educational costs all around. 

He also wants to ensure that the courses offered fit the needs of the dentist. “The majority of dentists want the ‘meat,’” explains Swayze. “The minutiae and science behind [learning], those are great to know — but show me what I really need to know first, and then show me an easy way to figure out the rest.” 

As he settles in to his new role, Swayze hopes to look at the University’s already-existing programs before taking what he has learned from the College on remediation and infection control, dentists and public health, and “distilling that into faster, better, and more efficiently-delivered courses,” he says.

For Swayze, though, it all boils down to knowing dentists and their needs extremely well. “Dentists want to do good work. They want happy patients. They want to be productive, and proud of their work and reputation.”

Swayze takes over this position from Robert Carroll, who retires this spring.

 

Photo: Jeff Comber