In the past decade, evidence to support the link between oral health and overall health has been used to promote the transformation of health professions education. In 2011, the Institute of Medicine released two reports, both stressing the need for an expanded health care workforce equipped with the competencies to address oral health promotion and prevention (Institute of Medicine 2011a, 2011b). To achieve this goal, trained faculty are needed to prepare health sciences students to integrate oral health into practice.
The Research Problem
Research is needed to assess interdisciplinary faculty’s oral health knowledge, skills, and attitudes towards oral health curricular integration.
Justification for the Research Problem
The historical separation of oral health and overall health provides challenges for the integration of oral health into education and practice. Prior research related to this topic indicates lack of oral health knowledge (Mouradian et al., 2005) and confidence teaching certain oral health topics are barriers to oral health curricular integration (Wilder et al., 2009). A critical first step in the design of faculty development initiatives is an assessment of their level of oral health knowledge, skills, and attitudes towards oral health curricular integration.
Deficiencies in Evidence
To date, little research has been conducted to assess interdisciplinary faculty’s oral health knowledge and skills. A review of the literature revealed that published studies related to this topic rarely include more than one health profession. A recently published article utilized the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Adm...
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...rriers to oral health curricular integration, including inadequate lack of proper education and training for non-dental health care faculty (Dolce et al., 2016; Mouradian et al., 2005; Wilder et al., 2009). This finding is not surprising given the historical separation of oral health and overall health in education and practice. To determine faculty development needs it is necessary to first assess faculty’s level of oral health knowledge, skills, and attitudes towards oral health curricular integration. This information can be used to design targeted education and training for interdisciplinary faculty. At a local level, oral health integration prepares students to address the diverse health care needs of the community. Nationally, patients and populations will benefit from reduced rates of tooth decay, periodontal disease, and improved chronic disease management.
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