Online Program

Cross-national clerkships and cross-cultural training in the predoctoral dental curriculum: A multidisciplinary global health initiative

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Chris S. Ivanoff, DDS, University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry, Memphis, TN
Timothy L. Hottel, DDS, MS, MBA, University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry, Memphis, TN
Krassimira Yaneva, DDS, PhD, The Medical University of Sofia Faculty of Dental Medicine, Sofia, Bulgaria
Anton Filchev, DDS, PhD, The Medical University of Sofia Faculty of Dental Medicine, Sofia, Bulgaria
A unique cross-national predoctoral exchange has been launched by the "Global Health Initiative" of two dental schools. The US-Bulgarian model provides for multidisciplinary partnerships with foreign schools in key geographical regions as a strategy to improve global healthcare. Objectives are achieved through education, direct patient care, and humanitarian service to underserved populations in community clinics in each other's country. Cultural competence training ensures that graduates have interpersonal/communication skills to manage diverse patient populations and function successfully in a multicultural work environment. Graduating dentists who are community-oriented members of a culturally competent healthcare workforce can improve patient-provider communication and access to care among disparate groups both domestically and abroad. The cross-national clerkship is coordinated with government and non-government partners to abate potential harms of traditional volunteering providing short-term clinical treatment. The semester-long service-learning program allows students to use their clinical skills in real-life situations, while fostering civic responsibility in explicit partnership with the community. Exposing students to social, environmental and cultural influences that affect health and disease, increases understanding of cultural attitudes towards oral health and the doctor-patient relationship students can carry into practice back home. Team-oriented outreach also provides valuable professional exchanges, where faculty and students can discuss emerging issues and learn from their global colleagues about healthcare barriers faced by disparate groups. The curriculum aims to reduce healthcare disparities, both domestically and abroad, and encourages students to treat underserved communities after graduation. Cross-national clerkships teach students about philanthropy and volunteerism, while learning to serve each other despite their diversity.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Discuss how global health care can be an additional dimension of cultural competence training to ensure graduated practitioners can competently provide cross-cultural health care. Describe the potential of cross-national clerkships at the predoctoral level as a means to improve global health care and access to health care by underserved disparate populations. Explain why government and non-government partnerships are important in coordinating well-planned clerkships to abate the potential harms of traditional volunteering focusing on short-term clinical treatment provision and for the good of all parties concerned.

Keyword(s): Global Education, Health Education Strategies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author on the content I am responsible for because I have been the principal organizer of the predoctoral student exchange. I was also the principal investigator in a cross-national study integral to the development of the program. Therefore, I am qualified to discuss the details of this program at the 141st APHA Annual Meeting.
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.