Online Program

Oral and systemic comorbidities—a community-based interdisciplinary team response

Monday, November 4, 2013

Lyubov Slashcheva, DDS Candidate, School of Dentistry, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry, Richmond, VA
Lynn VanderWielen, PhD, MPH, Department of Health Administration, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Over a decade ago the US Surgeon General publically challenged the nation to realize the importance of oral health and its relationship to general health and well-being, yet these concepts still exist dichotomously in clinical practice. Research has demonstrated that periodontal disease is associated with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Oral and general healthcare providers often do not perceive the need to refer patients with such comorbidities to colleagues outside of their own discipline. Patients would experience the benefits of interdisciplinary referrals since discipline-specific expertise would comprehensively manage these chronic conditions. Interdisciplinary education and collaboration has the potential to strengthen these referral networks, subsequently broadening providers' knowledge and expanding patient healthcare access.

Members of the Inter Health Professionals Alliance at Virginia Commonwealth University have realized the benefits of interdisciplinary practice. This student-led organization, involving the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, Allied Health Professions and Social Work, engages with local partners to improve community health. A monthly health outreach event in an underserved Richmond community allows students to experience care provision in an interdisciplinary environment. While patients receive comprehensive services related to oral and systemic health needs and are referred to community resources, students recognize the value of the interdisciplinary team and broaden their knowledge base. Interdisciplinary education and training sessions, conducted prior to each event, emphasize the skills required for team-based outreach services. Through acquired knowledge and skills health professional students are prepared to enter the workforce competent to respond to oral and systemic comorbidities.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify the connection between oral and systemic health and discuss how interdisciplinary education and collaboration addresses such comorbid chronic conditions.

Keyword(s): Oral Health Needs, Outreach Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am involved with the student group discussed in the abstract as a representative from the School 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.