Kimberly Harms Speaker

Bloomington, MN 55425

(651) 214-4073


  • Communication
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Crisis Management
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Fear / Apprehensive Patients
  • Grief Management
  • Health and Wellness
  • Practice Transistions
  • Stress Management
  • Team Building

Kimberly Harms, DDS

Conflict got you down? Are you feeling the effects of a crisis, loss or transition in your office? Do you struggle to treat patients with emotional and physical pain? Kim Harms, The Dental Mediator, can help!

Exceptional clinical dentistry is a must when developing a successful practice, however even the best clinical care can be undone in the patient’s mind by an uncomfortable experience in the office. The slightest hint of antagonism, competition, bitterness or resentment among team members can destroy the trust that should result from an otherwise outstanding clinical experience. If an emotional loss or illness is at all involved in the equation, the results can be catastrophic. Dental professionals need to be proactive in creating a harmonious work place environment that gives patients and staff members a safe and predictable path to understanding each other’s needs, resolving conflict and preventing an office crisis.

Dr. Harms offers a unique perspective in the areas of crisis, loss and conflict management. She draws from 30 years of clinical dental practice experience, numerous leadership roles and 21 years as a National Spokesperson for the American Dental Association. She has personally experienced catastrophic loss including the suicide death of her mother and son, nerve damage ending her clinical career and cancer, organ transplant and heart surgeries affecting her husband Jim. She is also qualified as a neutral mediator in the State of Minnesota. Dr. Harms’ mission is to help attendees gain the knowledge and skills to be able to work their way through inevitable loss, transition, conflict and crises.

Office turmoil got you down?

Without a formal resolution method, conflict can cause staff members and patients to seek their own solution by changing jobs or dentists. At the same time, the dentist/patient relationship is being threatened by outside sources. Negative media stories and self-proclaimed internet gurus are increasing while government and insurance interference is also on the rise.

Improve communication skills and learn how to effectively manage disagreements with patients and other team members. Develop a process for improving the management of clinical and administrative errors through a focus on verbal skill development. Learn how to accept appropriate responsibility, address concerns with empathy and provide resolution acceptable to both parties. Explore the principles of civil mediation which are designed to help those in conflict resolve their differences through the use of a neutral party.

Conflict is universal. Dr. Harms will share stories of successful conflict management resolution from her work as a National Spokesperson for the American Dental Association and her connections with groups in Rwanda, Mongolia, Georgia and Armenia. Any office that has had a patient complaint or more than one employee will benefit from this seminar.

Learning Objectives:

  • Build confidence in managing conflict using basic mediation techniques.
  • Understand and implement time tested methods of conflict resolution and trust building that work for those from Generation Z through Baby Boomers.
  • Describe different personality types and their unique perspectives and reaction to stressful situations.
  • Recognize the basic pillars of trust. Learn how hard it is to build trust and how easily trust can be destroyed.
  • Build confidence in managing conflict using basic mediation techniques.
  • Master specific techniques and verbiage to minimize damage after a clinical or clerical error

Suggested Format: Full or Partial Day; Lecture, Workshop, Keynote
Suggested Audience: All Dental Professionals

This fast-paced discussion uses real-life scenarios and role playing as well as a step by step framework to work towards resolution of everyday office ordeals.

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 under-stand how to adjust treatment or manage behavior
  • Recognize the dental repercussions of emotional illness, stress and grief

Suggested Format:  Full or Partial Day; Lecture, Workshop, Keynote
Suggested Audience:  All Dental Professionals

Dental professionals encounter patients in pain on a daily basis. We are trained to successfully manage acute pain, but frequently patients suffering chronic pain which affects their dental treatment seek our help as well. This seminar is designed to help practitioners understand the differences between acute and chronic pain and learn how to effectively manage both.

Dr Harms has a unique perspective on this issue. She is not only a dentist familiar with treating patients in pain but also a patient who has suffered back and neck injuries resulting in nerve damage to her drilling fingers. She is a graduate of the Mayo Clinic’s Pain Rehab Program.

Participants in this course will learn about the causes, costs and effective treatments for pain. The side effects of pain such as depression, anxiety and stress as well as complimentary and alternative medical options will also be explored. With the ever increasing focus on the use of opioids in the dental practice, and the current epidemic of opioid abuse (in many cases precipitated by chronic pain), this information is essential for every staff member to understand.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the difference between active and chronic pain.
  • Discuss the numerous costs (financial, physical and emotional) of chronic pain.
  • Understand the latest recommendations for the treatment of acute pain.
  • Review the numerous long and short term treatments for chronic pain.
  • Explore various causes and effects of opioid abuse and its long term consequences.

Suggested Format: Partial day, keynote
Suggested Audience:  All dental professionals

In an era of easy website development and internet access, anyone can claim to be an expert in dentistry. Sometimes even traditional media stories can be confusing to our patients. How do we encourage our patients to trust their local dental professional as their oral health information source?

Dr. Harms will share her experiences as a Spokesperson for the American Dental Association on topics such as biofilm affecting our water, the AIDS epidemic, fluoride, amalgam, oil pulling, charcoal whitening and fecal bacteria on our toothbrushes.

This seminar is designed to help dental professionals with the verbal skills necessary to guide their patients in the process of critically analyzing information they receive from media outlets. The ultimate goal is for participants to become their patient’s first and most trusted source of oral health information.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the 6 ways to create a fan base.
  • Review the most frequently searched online dental topics and the credentials of those providing online information.
  • Develop a customized information handout to help patients discern the credentials of online “experts”.
  • Delineate the important steps necessary to avert or manage a public relations crisis.
  • Become your patient’s first and most trusted source of dental information by expanding your verbal skills when discussing controversial dental health issues and developing an officewide patient education system for them to turn to.

Suggested Format: Partial day, keynote
Suggested Audience: All dental professionals

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 programs.

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.


Dr Harms graduated from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and completed a General Practice Residency at Loyola University Medical Center.

Professional Honors:
Fellow, American College of Dentists (Former President Upper Midwest District)
Fellow International College of Dentists
American Dental Association Access to Care Award
American Student Dental Association Advocate of Excellence Award
Minnesota Dental Association’s Distinguished Service Award
First Friend: University of Rwanda
Mshale Newspaper’s African Founders Award

Community and International Activity:

Vice President: Delegation for Friendship Among Women (International)
Chair Farmington School Board (Board member 1986-2000)
Vice Chair Union Gospel Mission Board
Women of Tomorrow (Country of Georgia)
Container Captain: Rwanda: Books for Africa
Minnesota Porcelain Arts Guild

  • AIC Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Implant Course Instructor, Sponsored by Hiossen (2007-2016)
  • Academy of General Dentistry National Meeting
  • Greater New York Dental Meeting (multiple)
  • Philadelphia Dental Society Meeting
  • Chester-Delaware County Dental Society
  • Implant Study Club; Richmond, IN
  • Monmouth Medical Center: Drs. Elbaum Study Club
  • Kuraray Seminar; Coatesville, PA
  • Special Care in Dentistry Meeting
Why choose Dr. Harms?
  • Dr. Harms 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.
  • Dr. Harms received the ADA Access to Care Award for a pilot program she developed for developmentally disabled patients living in group homes which is still going strong after 28 years.





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Anything else that will help us help you?

The Eric Harms Memorial Library Project

Ten years ago Dr Harms lost her son Eric, a student at Columbia University, to suicide. In his memory she has established 30 libraries (over 140,000 books and computers) in Rwanda including a dental library and computer lab for the University of Rwanda School of Dentistry. Dr Mumena, the Dean of the Dental School has credited this project with helping the new University of Rwanda School of Dentistry receive accreditation. Twenty percent of Dr. Harms’ honorarium will go directly to shipping books and computers to Rwanda.

Articles by Dr. Harms

Keeping Out of Harms Way: Managing the Perils and Pitfalls of a Life in Dentistry. (Winner of the International College of Dentistry 2016 Leadership in Journalism award)

Passive-Aggressive Behavior in the Dental Office (NWD)

Dentistry and Depression (NWD)

Lost in Transition (NWD)

The Trust Edge, Does Your Practice Have It? (NWD)

Reading, Writing, Redemption, Rwanda (NWD)

Cardiac Transplantation / Dental Considerations (JADA)