The ADEA Institutional Capacity Building portfolio (ADEA ICB)
hosted a well-attended session, “Contemporary Issues in Dentistry and Dental
Hygiene,” at the 2015 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition, March 7–10, in
Boston. The concepts for this session came from a collaboration between the ADEA
Council of Deans and the ADEA Council of Allied Dental Program Directors. ADEA
ICB recently surveyed dental school deans and dental hygiene program directors
about how their institutions are addressing contemporary topics affecting
future dental and dental hygiene practitioners. In the session, panel members
discussed how academic dental institutions teach pertinent topics such as:
dentistry in the news, electronic health records, quality assurance, advocacy,
oral health care economics, safety net/access to care issues, alternative
models of dental delivery, other health professionals providing dental services
and new types of dental providers.
In the first portion of the session, ADEA panelists gave a
broad overview of the current topics that programs are teaching to students and
the results of the survey. The survey provided some interesting data, with
overall response rates of 61% from predoctoral programs and 48% from dental
hygiene programs. The majority of dental hygiene programs (50–70%) are teaching
almost all of the topics in the survey. The most-covered content area for
dental hygiene programs was advocacy. For the predoctoral programs, a slightly
stronger majority (60–80%) indicated they are teaching almost all the topics.
The most-covered topics for this group were dental care economics and alternate
modes of dental delivery. In the survey, a majority of schools and programs reported
that these issues are overwhelmingly taught via lecture and sometimes discussed
in small groups. In the second portion of the session, participants reviewed
the program data and presented their best practices.
Dr. Cecile Feldman, Dean of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, School of
Dental Medicine , and Dr. Edmond Hewlett, Professor in the Section of
Restorative Dentistry and Associate Dean for Outreach and Diversity at the University
of California, Los Angeles, School of Dentistry, presented best practices from
their dental schools. They discussed the significant challenges that face the dental
care system and how students examine current issues and are prepared to
evaluate and respond to contemporary issues. At Rutgers, students discuss key
topics, incorporating into their discussions landmark reports, nonprofit
foundations’ publications, recent applicable legislation and advocacy. They
review the role of media in controversial dentistry topics and how to assess
various sources of information. The students also addressed patients’ questions
and concerns on these pertinent issues and topics that frequently come up, such
as midlevel providers, other health professionals offering dental care
services, infection control and new dental therapies.
Dental hygiene programs were represented by Phyllis Spragge,
Dental Hygiene Director at Foothill College (Los Altos Hills, CA) and Michele
Carr, Associate Professor and Chair, Division of Dental Hygiene, at The Ohio
State University College of Dentistry. They explained how they teach future
dental hygienists about contemporary topics and how their coursework with
students addresses the rapid pace of change.
To learn about the latest in curricular change and innovation, check out the ADEA CCI Liaison Ledger.