185641 Survey of mobile clinic programs in American dental schools

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Niel S. Nathason, BA, MPH, MA , School of Dentistry, University Of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Although dental schools across the United States have functioning mobile dental units, detailed information on these clinical outreach programs had never been compiled. Collecting and analyzing data was deemed beneficial to understanding mobile programs as replicable models for increasing access to care for underserved and inaccessible populations and for developing clinical practice and public health experience for students. In fall 2007, a survey was developed with questions from the USCSD Office of Community Health and also ones adapted from the UCSF School of Dentistry “Mobile Dental Program Survey”. The resultant survey totaled 81 questions which targeted different characteristics of mobile dental programs, including information on vehicles, costs, personnel, student rotations, clinical procedures, patient demographics, community partnerships and dental access. All 57 dental schools in the US were contacted using an internet based survey site; 43 schools responded after three contact attempts. Twelve (12) different dental schools from across the United States had mobile dental programs. Information reported indicates effective program development, vehicle deployment, student staffing, and faculty supervision have been accomplished to operate these mobile clinic services. Diverse resources combine to sustain these projects: university support, community contributions, volunteer involvement, foundation grants, government contracts and reimbursements. The programs seem to be successful not only for increasing access to care to underserved, rural and inner-city populations, but also for increasing clinical competency and community service for university dental schools. Hundreds of dental students participate in these activities, and thousands of patients benefit from these partnerships throughout the nation.

Learning Objectives:
1) Increase knowledge regarding mobile dental units 2) Increase knowledge regarding dental student community externships 3) Increase knowledge regarding campus-community partnerships to increase access to care

Keywords: Community-Based Care, Oral Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: faculty at dental school, and admnisitrator of mobile dental program
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Oral Health Poster Session II
See more of: Oral Health