JOURNAL ARTICLE

A new curriculum framework for clinical prevention and population health, with a review of clinical caries prevention teaching in U.S. and Canadian dental schools

John P Brown
Journal of Dental Education 2007, 71 (5): 572-8
17493965
To fulfill the Healthy People 2010 Objective 1.7, "Increase the proportion of . . . health professional training schools whose basic curriculum for health care providers includes the core competencies in health promotion and disease prevention," the Healthy People Curriculum Task Force has developed a curriculum framework for clinical prevention and population health for all the health professions. This framework has four components: 1) evidence base for practice; 2) clinical preventive services, including health promotion; 3) health systems and health policy; and 4) community aspects of practice. Within these four common components are nineteen domains, for which each health profession is identifying its own educational objectives. An inventory of knowledge and skills is being developed. A prerequisite to promoting change in the teaching of dental prevention and population oral health is to better understand the current status. Sixty-six of sixty-eight U.S. and Canadian dental schools provided input on the teaching of one important aspect of this wider topic--dental caries prevention--before a December 2002 Clinical Preventive Dentistry Leadership Conference in Cincinnati, OH. In clinical teaching, 68 percent of dental schools included caries risk assessment and also reevaluated preventive outcomes, but while 65 percent included remineralization procedures, only 38 percent specifically reevaluated this outcome. Faculty members have commonalities in attitudes about the advantages and problems in improving teaching in clinical prevention, yet dental schools act individually in curricular design and implementation. The conference introduced a method of conceptualizing change, so that dental schools might address organizational barriers in clinical curriculum development. Even with the new common curriculum framework, other barriers to improved dental prevention and population oral health exist: these include organizational change in dental schools, dental practices, and dental clinics; reimbursement issues and incentives; and lack of accepted and explicit standards in dental care.

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