239049 Teaching Cultural Comptency through Geriatric Dental Education

Monday, October 31, 2011

Charlene Goh, BDS , Mailman School of Public Health, Sociomedical Science-Aging Track, Columbia University, New York, NY
Dental education in the past decade has been tasked to train dentists with the skills to treat the rapidly increasing elderly population. At the same time, in response to the 2002 Institute of Medicine report, “Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care”, the inclusion of a cultural competency component in the undergraduate dental curriculum has been advocated. Due to the pressures of limited resources and curriculum time, dental schools have not been able to sufficiently address these two areas. Looking at the current state of instruction of both modules in US dental schools, we find that geriatric dentistry has outpaced cultural competency in terms of development of course materials and integration into the curriculum.

This paper draws similarities between the current guidelines and objectives for geriatric dentistry and cultural competency and identifies the synergies and overlap between the two; we propose that the respect and sensitivity required in cultural competency can be effectively taught through the lens of geriatric dentistry. Thus, blending of the curricula can address the current failure to adequately teach both cultural competency and geriatric dentistry in the predoctoral curriculum.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the current status of cultural competency and geriatric dentistry taught in the dental undergraduate curriculum in US schools Discuss the incorporation of the cultural competency module in undergraduate education into the geriatric dentistry component Compare the similarities in cultural competency objectives and geriatric dentistry objectives.

Keywords: Education, Oral Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an instructor in the National University of Singapore, Faculty of Dentistry
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.