University South Bend (IU South Bend) has been applying the
concepts of interprofessional education and collaboration in the classroom
successfully for many years. Student dental hygienists learn from and with
students majoring in various fields such as Speech Language Pathology and
Health Promotion. In May and June 2019, Assistant Dean of the Vera Z. Dwyer
College of Health Sciences Kristyn Quimby, D.H.Ed., RDH, CHES®, and
Division of Dental Education Program Director Mallory Edmondson, M.S.D.H., RDH,
put the practice of interprofessional collaboration into action through a
school-based oral health assessment project.
Oral health surveillance is
critical to building community health assessment protocols and establishing
baseline measures with which to improve overall oral health in a community. The
study collected baseline oral health data from third grade children in St.
Joseph County, IN, so that oral health preventive interventions can be
implemented in the future. The project required close collaboration between
health educators from the St. Joseph County Department of Health and school
nurses from the South Bend Community School Corporation. The relationship
between IU South Bend and the health department facilitated the partnership
with the manager of the school nurses, as well as provided the needed conduit
for collaboration with the school board. The school nurses provided an
opportunity to access students without disrupting learning and they coordinated
with teachers and principals, allowing everyone to support the project.
Following the screenings, the
nurses provided a key partnership for follow up on referrals to ensure
students’ needs were addressed appropriately. Collaboration among the health
professionals provided an opportunity to begin improving the oral health of a
community and offered an example of successful partnership to future
hygienists, nurses and health promotion specialists.
Courtesy of Mallory Edmondson
M.S.D.H., LDH, Dental Education Program Director, Clinical Assistant Professor,
Indiana University South Bend
Published on September 11, 2019