Small business needs assessment: A comparison of dental educators' responses with SBDC survey results

Robert W. Comer, Richard S. Callan, John S. Blalock, Jason E. Turner, Robert M. Trombly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A primary focus of dental education is to teach students the knowledge, skills, and values essential for practicing dentistry. However, the preparation of dentists to manage a business is frequently cited as inadequate. A survey was prepared to assess teachers' opinions of business instructional topics: challenges; desired training; employee benefits; learning resources; importance of business topics; and appropriateness of time allocations. The purpose of this project is to compare opinions of teachers of dental practice management with key management aspects reported for service businesses by the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Practice management teachers from forty-eight (89 percent) schools responded to the survey. They indicated that several challenges confronting dentists are similar to other service businesses. Dentists, however, rank customer relations appreciably higher. In order of importance of teaching topics, the practice management teachers rank ethics and personnel management as a high priority and planning as a low priority. Awareness of the similarities and differences in the perceptions of practice management teachers and businesspeople may result in instructional improvements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)866-873
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2001


  • Dental practice management
  • Dental practice management curriculum content
  • Service business development
  • Small business development center (SBDC)
  • Small business management development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)


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