The WDA Foundation’s Dentists Concerned for Dentists (DCD) program was established in 1986 primarily to help those who struggle with problems associated with alcohol or chemical dependency, depression, infectious diseases and other well-being issues.
The American Medical Association has classified addiction as a disease for more than 30 years and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates at least 10 percent of Americans are addicted to alcohol or other mood altering drugs.
Chemical dependency and addiction endanger health, upset social, family and business relationships and affect job performance.
While the mission of the DCD program still centers on chemical dependency and addiction, those are only two of the challenges with which the program is involved. Depression, stress, physical health problems, eating disorders and a host of other well-being issues have been successfully addressed through the program.
The WDA Foundation is committed to helping members of the dental profession who find their personal and professional lives jeopardized by addictions, depression, infectious diseases or a host of other well-being issues.
The DCD program serves this need by providing compassionate assistance and education for dental professionals who often don’t know where to turn. The DCD Committee adheres to the philosophy that it is most beneficial for the affected dental professionals to be supported by their peers – those people in the same profession who know and deal with the stresses involved in a dental practice.
All cases are strictly confidential. This confidentiality extends to the dental professional and those people providing information about the case.
The DCD program is not a punitive entity. However, the program committee reserves the right, as concerned citizens and professionals, to forward to the state Department of Safety and Professional Services the names of alleged impaired licensed dental professionals who refuse or do not reasonably pursue appropriate assistance and whose actions in the judgment of the DCD Committee may violate the Wisconsin Dental Practice Act.
Through compassionate peer-to-peer assistance, the DCD Committee helps those with well-being issues find the strength to get the care they need without involving regulatory or government agencies. It is not the program’s goal to provide treatment, but rather to lend compassionate, yet realistic support, and to guide the individual in seeking treatment from trained professionals.
Many DCD volunteers have successfully faced similar problems or helped others with these issues, so they have first-hand experience with such struggles.
The DCD Committee lends support through all the stages of a case. They are available to inform, listen, encourage and suggest.
The cost of treatment for well-being issues can be substantial, which is why the work of the DCD Committee is now supported through the WDA Foundation Relief Fund. An initial evaluation is currently more than $3,500 and may include a three or four-day inpatient stay. When an individual has a problem with chemical dependency, alcohol abuse, depression or stress there often are related financial issues, causing the individual to put off getting the treatment he/she so desperately needs.
While financial assistance is available through the American Dental Association, the loan application process can take several months – months that could be used for recovery.
Support from the WDA Foundation Relief Fund can reduce or eliminate delay in treatment. The Relief Fund/DCD Grant requires a brief application process that can be completed by the impacted professional or a family member. It is used only when deemed necessary and is used solely to pay for an initial consultation. If a grant is approved, disbursed funds are sent directly to the treatment facility. No funding is given to the impacted professional or the professional’s family. The one-time grant is limited to a maximum of $3,500.
While assistance from the fund is not a formal loan, repayment is encouraged after the individual has completed treatment and reestablished his/her practice. Repayment helps ensure that the fund is readily available for others who also may need help.
For more information about the WDA Foundation’s Dentists Concerned for Dentists program, call 414-755-4198, 866-431-9625 or send email to [email protected].
All information is strictly confidential.