Why The Pankey Institute Was Created

In the 1960s, L.D. became so busy traveling to present three-day courses that traveling started negatively affecting his private practice. He decided he would no longer travel to make presentations. Instead, he would hold classes in Miami.

L.D. never had to advertise his courses. Instead, dentists would call his office and ask where and when the next course would be. So, when he decided to hold them in only Miami, Rose Quick kept a list of dentists who called. When 20-30 doctors were on the list, she rented space at the DuPont Plaza Hotel in Miami and invited them to come.

The Idea

James Cosper, Billy Anderson, and Jack Wilkins were talking with Rose Quick during a break at one of L.D.’s courses. They asked her, “What can we do for Dr. Pankey? He has done so much for us in our practices and personal lives.”

They wanted to do something meaningful for him. Out of their discussion came the idea of developing a foundation to continue to teach the clinical Pankey-Mann-Schuyler Technique and L.D.’s philosophy of the practice of dentistry which was known as “the Philosophy.”

It was fitting that they included Rose Quick in their discussions as she had played a major role in L.D.’s courses and would play a major role in the formation of the Institute. She had been L.D.’s right-hand person for over 35 years, smoothly managing his practice finances and the details of his courses.

When Rose first came to Florida from Iowa, she taught business courses in the Ft. Lauderdale high school system. She had become a good friend of L.D.’s sister Georgia who worked in L.D.’s office as a dental hygienist. Both women belonged to the same women’s business and professional groups. When L.D. found himself overwhelmed with the details of a thriving practice plus his work on the State Dental Board of Examiners, Georgia suggested L.D. interview Rose for the position of secretary-business manager. He then hired Rose.

L.D. was known to say, “Hiring Rose Quick was one of the best decisions I ever made in all my years in dentistry.”

The Proposal

The idea of the Institute was first suggested to L.D. in 1970 by his best friend and traveling companion, Dr. F. Harold Wirth, from New Orleans. Harold asked L.D., “How would you like to have a teaching institute named after you?” He continued, “It would be a place where dentists from all over could come to learn the PMS technique and Philosophy. It wouldn’t be like a typical graduate school where students were graded, but a place where they could learn to evaluate themselves. It would be a place where dentists could relax, enjoy themselves, and reflect on their personal lives and practices.”

L.D. thought it was an interesting idea. However, before he said yes, he told Harold there would be two conditions. First, everything would have to reflect up-to-date, high-quality dentistry; second, it had to be financially successful.

The Start

The Pankey Institute opened at the DuPont Plaza Hotel in Miami in 1972. It was more successful than anyone could have imagined. Although the Institute carried his name, L.D. never had anything to do with running it. Dr. Loren Miller from Texas was the first Director, Dr. John Anderson from Illinois was the first Director of Education, and Dr. Henry Tanner from California came to assist Dr. Anderson. It was mainly due to their energy and farsightedness that the Institute became so popular.

In 1985, the Institute moved to a new home on the island of Key Biscayne. Under the strong leadership of Executive Director Mr. Christian B. Sager and Director of Education Dr. Irwin M. Becker, the institute continued to help serious dentists in their quest for technical excellence and philosophical understanding, which is now–and always will be, the objective of the Institute.

The Original Curriculum

The original curriculum consisted of four one-week continuum courses. The Philosophy was studied and discussed during each of the four:

  • Continuum 1 (C1) – The Comprehensive Examination
  • Continuum 2 (C2) — Occlusal Equilibration and the Tanner Appliance
  • Continuum 3 (C3) — The Curves of Spee and Wilson and the Functionally Generated Path
  • Continuum 4 (C4) — Treatment Planning Complex Cases Using the Pankey-Mann-Schuyler Technique

Today

Over the years, the Institute has profoundly affected thousands of dentists and continues to do so today. Dr. Lee Ann Brady started at the Institute in 2005 as an instructor and became the Director of Education in 2017. In 2019, she was asked to become Executive Director. Under the capable leadership of Dr. Brady, the current curriculum is much broader than it was in the beginning to better match the current needs of dentists.

For many, The Pankey Institute has meant becoming more proficient and efficient as clinical dentists and finding the balance essential for personal wellness and fulfillment in dentistry. True to the L.D. Pankey Dental Foundation’s original mission, the Institute is still “The One Place” where dentists come to study the Philosophy of relationship-based practice and advanced dental techniques.

Bill Davis

William J. Davis DDS, MS is practicing dentist and a Professor at the University of Toledo in the College Of Medicine. He has been directing a hospital based General Practice Residency for past 40 years. Formal education at Marquette, Sloan Kettering Michigan, the Pankey Institute and Northwestern. In 1987 he co-authored a book with Dr. L.D. Pankey, “A Philosophy of the Practice of Dentistry”. Bill has been married to his wife, Pamela, for 50 years. They have three adult sons and four grandchildren. When not practicing dentistry he teaches flying.

One thought on “Why The Pankey Institute Was Created

  • December 26, 2022 at 1:55 pm
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    Thanks Bill. I hope you and Pam are healthy and doing well. I was one of the dentists who took the C-1and C-2 at the DuPont Plaza. So many years ago, but the lessons are still part of my practice. There were so many quality dentists and Institute instructors. I was also fortunate to be in London when L D presented over there. As a young dentist, it’s hard to imagine the impact of those early lessons. It was Pete Dawson who suggested I attend the Institute. I had completed Pete’s curriculum at the Don Cesare hotel in St Petersburg in 1975.
    After 47 years of practice I am still very energized to practice patient centered, value added dentistry.
    Best to you,
    Steve Cooke

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