February 2009 Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Pamela A. Stein

Dr. Stein may be a dentist by training, but you wouldn't know it to look at the list of courses she teaches. Anatomy & Physiology for Nursing Students, Local Anesthesia for Emergency Physicians, and Gross Anatomy for Dental Students make up a typical sampling of her yearly offerings. It all makes sense when you realize that Dr. Stein is Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology in the College of Medicine at the University of Kentucky (UK), which has actively embraced interprofessionalism (see Campus Spotlight).

Dr. Stein says she loves teaching anatomy, and that's a good thing. The UK College of Medicine is responsible for teaching anatomy to everyone at the university. When the College of Nursing requested a course tailored specifically for its undergraduates, Dr. Stein was tapped to develop a year-long sequence. She and her dental colleagues also developed a program, available on CD-ROM and via MedEdPORTAL, to teach local anesthesia to residents in emergency medicine. Knowing that intraoral injection is less painful, more effective, and longer lasting than facial injection prompted them to share their knowledge and techniques with emergency room physicians who frequently need to treat facial wounds.

"It was exciting to have a dialogue with the residents. Their concerns were not what I expected. They see lots of patients with severe tooth pain, and wanted to know even more about providing anesthesia in the mouth."

Dr. Stein would like to develop a second program to teach the injections that work most effectively for tooth pain. She is also eager to spread the word to physicians about the ramifications of poor oral health.

"When it comes to patient care, I think it's best when it's done collaboratively. The trend is moving in that direction, but we're not doing it well yet. Dentists are rarely part of the team despite the fact that poor oral health has proven systemic impacts."