The Well Being Foundation exists to promote early
identification, intervention, treatment and rehabilitation of dentists and
dental hygienists who may be impaired by reasons of illness, substance abuse or
as a result of any physical or mental condition.
Rebecca A. Mowen, Administrator
About the Well Being Committee
The MDA has a contractual agreement with the Missouri Dental Board to support
and maintain the Board’s Well Being Committee. The Well Being Committee is governed by a board of directors consisting of
one member from the Missouri Dental Association, one member from the Missouri
Dental Hygienists Association and one member from the Missouri Dental Board.
There is a full-time licensed administrator on staff to handle the day-to-day
operations of the Committee and to provide counseling.
The individual practitioner may voluntarily come forward, knowing that he or
she has a mental or physical illness or a problem with substance abuse. As well,
intervention by the Committee may be requested by a concerned family member or
colleague, or the Missouri Dental Board may require the practitioner to complete
a treatment program as a condition of continued licensure or before a license
will be restored.
Who Refers to the Well Being Committee
- Practice Partners
- Missouri Dental Board
- Office Staff
- Loved Ones or Friends
The program is available to all licensed dentists and dental hygienists in
the state. Those dentists or hygienists that voluntarily submit to treatment
will remain anonymous and will be referred to only be a code number when the
Committee submits required summary reports of its activities to the Dental
Board. These submissions are done for funding purposes only.
Dentists and dental hygienists who voluntarily participate in this program
have the opportunity to arrest the progression of their disease and resultant
impairment before public exposure occurs and before disciplinary actions on
licensure and clinical privileges are taken.
Well Being Committee members will advocate on behalf of a licensee enrolled
in the program (with written permission of the licensee) before the Missouri
Dental Board, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and other appropriate
The Alliance of the Missouri Dental Association is willing to assist the
families of the licensees.
What is an Intervention
An intervention is a carefully structured method of confronting someone
thought to be impaired. Interventions are designed to break through the denial
inherent in diseases of impairment. The Committee administrator coordinates the
planning and implementation of intervention.
Signs of alcoholism or chemical dependency
- Difficulty meeting schedules and deadlines
- Slurred speech
- Prescribes large doses of controlled substances
- Impaired motor coordination
- Frequently late or fails to show up for work
- Obvious physical changes
- Dramatic mood swings and periods of isolation
- Smells of alcohol
- Family and/or financial difficulties
Addiction in the Dental Profession
View an online presentation by Dr. Bill Kane, MDA Well Being Committee Chair. In it, Dr. Kane (a former Well Being program participant) addresses:
- How dentists and dental professionals encounter numerous sources of professional stress, beginning in dental school. This stress may have a negative impact on both their professional as well as their personal lives.
- How chemical dependency/addictive diseases are the same for dentists as well as non-dentists. Yet, how dental practice models creates certain barriers that require modifications to intervention and after care for the dental profession.
- The specific behaviors of dental office staff that contribute to "The Conspiracy of Silence" that will enable the disease of addiction to progress.
- Strategies for the dentist and the office staff to facilitate a transition back into practice following treatment. The goal being to ensure the office staff and environment are healthy.
The Committee administrator provides treatment resources and coordinates the
care of the licensee throughout the course of treatment. Treatment will be done
at a treatment center familiar with handling the dynamics involved in
rehabilitation of health professionals. Treatment costs are usually partially
covered by the individual’s health insurance, but ultimately the individual is
responsible for the costs of the treatment, screenings and administration.
Evaluation and treatment begin immediately after intervention.
Treatment Aftercare & Monitoring
All licensees who voluntarily submit themselves or are referred by the dental
board will be required to sign a contract committing to 5 years of treatment and
supervision in order to assess their on-going recovery.
Recovery needs are re-evaluated periodically to adjust to changes that occur
in the recovery process. The program will provide assistance and monitoring
during the period of practice re-entry. Key components of the monitoring
agreement may include: random urine screenings, attendance at aftercare, 12-step
support groups or professional support groups and psychotherapy if indicated.
The legislation that allowed for the Committee’s development states that all
information, interviews, reports, statements, memoranda or other documents
furnished or produced by the Well Being Committee, as well as communications to
or from the committee, any findings, conclusions, interventions, treatment,
rehabilitation or other proceedings of the Committee that in any way pertain to
a licensee who may be or actually is impaired, shall be privileged and
All records and proceedings of the Committee shall be used by the Committee
and its members only in the exercise and proper function of the Committee and
shall not be considered public records and not subject to court subpoena,
discovery or introduction as evidence in any civil, criminal or administrative
November is Recovery Month
Recovery month promotes the societal benefits of treatment for
substance use and mental disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the
contributions of treatment providers, and promotes the message that recovery in
all its forms is possible. Discover how the MDA helps the dental professional
with recovery by exploring this page and by visiting
Your Program Administrator
Mowen, LCSW, CADC, BRI, a licensed clinical social work in Missouri and
Illinois and a Board Registered Interventionist. Ms. Mowen received her
Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Southern Illinois University,
Edwardsville in 2000, and in 2002 her Masters in Social Work from Saint
previous experience as Assistant Program Coordinator with the Missouri
Physicians’ Health Program (medical counterpart to the Dental Well Being
Program) and is currently in private practice providing individual and
family therapy, interventions, referral for treatment and aftercare
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