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When Pain is in the Brain: How to Encourage Patients and Staff Struggling with Emotional Illness, Stress and Grief

Cost:  Free for Hope Dental Volunteers. $10 suggested donation for non-volunteers
Date:  June 17, 2019
Time:  5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Location:  Hope Dental Clinic, 800 Minnehaha Avenue East, Suite 465, Saint Paul, MN 55106

This class is appropriate for all clinicians and students.


What you’ll learn

Mental illness. Emotional issues and loss.

Passive-aggressive behavior and workplace bullying.

The elephant in the room.

Anxiety is rampant in today’s society. Stress levels are up. As life expectancies rise so do grief expectancies. Whether it be the patient or a team member that is struggling, many dental practitioners are unaware how to handle the situation and help.

Dr. Harms will use her experience in grief counseling and mediation to help participants recognize others’ emotional needs and understand the physical and psychological effects of grief and the tasks of mourning. Explore the effects of loss, pain and suffering as well as the power of resilience, humor and joy. Optimal care requires optimal understanding. Increase your understanding of the emotional needs of patients, team members, families and even ourselves and promote greater harmony in your personal and professional life.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the connection between emotional pain and dentistry
  • Understand how to effectively manage office bullying and passive-aggressive behavior and minimize the damage
  • Describe the difference between mourning and grief
  • Differentiate the specific features of the four tasks of mourning
  • Define the various emotional illnesses which may affect our patients and team and understand how to adjust treatment or manage behavior
  • Recognize the dental repercussions of emotional illness, stress and grief

To learn more about Dr. Harms’ presentations, visit here.

Trainer: Kimberly Harms, DDS

After a 30 year career in clinical dentistry, and 21 years as a National Spokesperson for the American Dental Association, Dr. Harms has seen the importance of positive communication, management of conflict and relationship building first hand. Her goal is to help untangle problems and share that accumulated knowledge with seminar attendees.

Kimberly Harms, D.D.S. has been around the block when it comes to dentistry. She practiced dentistry in a public health setting (as an enlisted officer in the U.S. Public Health Service), as a dental office associate, and for most of her career, as co-owner (with her husband Jim) of a private practice in Farmington MN. She developed a pilot project for the state of Minnesota to deliver care to developmentally disabled patients living in group homes which is still going strong 28 years later.

Dr Harms served as an Assistant Clinical Professor of operative and hospital dentistry at Loyola University School of Dentistry in both the clinical and hospital dentistry program.Dr. Harms was the first woman President of the Minnesota Dental Association, served on the American Dental Association’s Council on Governmental Affairs and was Chair of the American Dental Association’s Council on Communications. She has lectured internationally and currently is working with dental schools in Rwanda and Mongolia and women’s groups in Georgia and Armenia.

For over 20 years Dr. Harms served as a National Spokesperson and Consumer Advisor for the American Dental Association and has appeared on their behalf on the Today Show, CNN, Fox News, National Public Radio and network affiliates such as CBS, NBC and ABC. In addition she has been quoted in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Consumers Digest, Shape Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Buzz Feed, Cosmopolitan and numerous other print and internet publications. She was the author of an article featured in Northwest Dentistry that received the International College of Dentists award for Leadership in Journalism for 2016. Dr Harms is former grief counselor and is currently works in civil mediation. She is a designated  “Qualified Neutral” in the state of Minnesota.

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