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University of Manitoba Bridges Gap between Medicine and Dentistry at Oral-Systemic Health Day

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The University of Manitoba held the first ever Oral-Systemic Health Day on February 7, bringing together dentists, dental hygienists, physicians, nurses and other non-dental healthcare providers (HCPs) to learn collaborative clinical practice techniques for optimal patient care. 

During the one-day program, Oral-Systemic Health Day, internationally renowned dental experts showed non-dental HCPs techniques for detecting oral cancer in adults and rampant caries in children outside of dental clinical settings. Knowing these skills are particularly useful for non-dental HCPs working in Manitoba’s rural and remote communities, where dental care is not readily accessible

“We have now sufficiently developed our infrastructure and resources to organize and deliver programming for practicing professionals that revolves around how we can think differently and work together more effectively to improve health outcomes for Manitobans,” says Anthony Iacopino, D.M.D., Ph.D., Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Manitoba, which hosted the February 7, 2014, event with the university’s Faculty of Medicine.

Diseases and conditions of the oral cavity can have a profound impact on overall health, especially in high-risk populations with limited access to dental care. Course participants were challenged to consider simulated case studies that required them to apply their knowledge base and critical thinking in collaborative patient management.

The event, which also included facilitator-led roundtable discussions of case studies and an afternoon hands-on workshop, attracted more than 200 dental and non-dental HCPs from the province of Manitoba, Canada. Many others also participated remotely via Manitoba Telehealth.

“Oral-Systemic Health Day is absolutely about our patients, and it is about increasing our knowledge and understanding to benefit them. Making the connections between the mouth and the rest of the body is to recognize that they are truly extensively integrated,” says Bruce Martin, M.D., FCFP, MSC, Associate Dean, Students, Faculty of Medicine.

The event also resulted in some spontaneous learning opportunities. During the hands-on workshop, Dr. Nelson demonstrated on a standardized pediatric patient how to conduct an oral examination by holding the toddler knee-to-knee with the patient’s mother. A physician then showed how doctors might turn the same scenario into a follow-up ear exam, with the mother still holding the child. 

“Programs like Oral-Systemic Health Day bridge the gap between medicine and dentistry,” says Casey Hein, BSDH, M.B.A., Director of Education, International Centre for Oral-Systemic Health, Faculty of Dentistry, and Director of Interprofessional Continuing Development, Faculty of Medicine. “Manitobans can expect physicians and nurses will be screening patients for oral diseases and conditions, and dentists and dental hygienists will be thinking more about how oral infections and other conditions influence a patients’ overall health.”

Oral-Systemic Health Day Resources:

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