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Theresa Gonzales, DMD, MS, MSS

The Ethics of Justification

Lecture | 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. | One and a Half (1.5) CE Hours    Category Ethics


Course Description

Education in ethics has become an integral part of healthcare education and training over the past three decades. A main challenge in teaching ethics is to craft appropriate interventions and educational programs aimed at increasing ethical behavior. Making good ethical decisions requires a trained sensitivity to ethical issues and a practiced method for exploring the ethical aspects of a decision and weighing the considerations that should impact our choice of a course of action. In theater parlance- it is said that script does not become performance without continuous rehearsal.  When we say something is an ethical obligation, we mean that it is not only right to do it, but that it is wrong not to do it.  In other words, we are obliged to perform the action.  We will look at obligations versus opportunities and judgement versus justification in routine delivery of ambulatory outpatient oral healthcare.


Learning Objectives

  • Recognize ethical issues that regularly arise in the course of patient care
  • Utilize relevant ethics literature from professional associations to guide clinical ethical judgment and decision making
  • Think critically and systematically through ethical problems using bioethical principles and other tools of ethical analysis
  • Articulate ethical reasoning to others coherently and respectfully


Course Sponsored By:
If you are interested in sponsoring this course, please contact Makenzie Dean

Speaker Bio:

Theresa S. Gonzales, D.M.D., M.S., M.S.S., Colonel, Dental Corps, U.S. Army (retired), currently an At-large Regent, will be assuming the position of Executive Director of the American College of Dentists (ACD) this fall. She succeeds Stephen A. Ralls, D.D.S., Ed.D., M.S.D., who is retiring after over 20 years of service. Dr. Gonzales will be coming to the ACD from her position as Associate Dean of Curriculum and Strategic Communication at Medical University of South Carolina James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine (MUSC CDM).

After nearly 30 years of distinguished service, Dr. Gonzales completed a distinguished career in the United States Army in 2013, retiring with the rank of Colonel. Most recently, she was a nominative selection as the Director of Strategic Communications for the Army Surgeon General. She has commanded formations in Europe and the United States. Prior to her successive command selections, she served as Director of Orofacial Pain Management and as a Staff Oral and Maxillofacial Pathologist at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, HI.

Dr. Gonzales began her military career at Fort Jackson, SC, as a resident in the Advanced Education in General Dentistry program. She completed a residency training program in oral and maxillofacial pathology in 1992 at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. In 2006, she completed a fellowship in Orofacial Pain at the Naval Postgraduate Dental School and completed an M.S. in Health Care from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.

From 1994 to 1998, Dr. Gonzales taught in the Department of Diagnostic Sciences at Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, TX. During her tenure at Baylor, she was nominated three times as “Teacher of the Year.” Dr. Gonzales has earned Fellowship status with the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, the American Academy of Oral Medicine, and the Academy of General Dentistry. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and the American Board of Orofacial Pain. She is a Fellow of both the American College of Dentists and International College of Dentists. 

After her retirement from the Army in 2013, Dr. Gonzales assumed the role of Professor, Oral Pathology and Director of Orofacial Pain at MUSC CDM. She held that position until her promotion in 2016 to Associate Dean of Curriculum and Strategic Communication.

Dr. Gonzales graduated magna cum laude from the College of Charleston with a B.S. in Chemistry and received her D.M.D. from MUSC CDM. She has authored over 50 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and was the recipient of the International College of Dentists Award for Excellence in Research. She has received the Order of Military Medical Merit and the Surgeon General's “A” Designator for clinical excellence. Dr. Gonzales' research interests have included orofacial pain, oral medicine, forensic odontology and oral pathology.