Resident evaluation of orthodontic programs in the United States

James Noble, Frank J Hechter, Nicholas E Karaiskos, William A Wiltshire
Journal of Dental Education 2009, 73 (11): 1286-92
The objective of this study was to investigate the satisfaction of orthodontic residents in the United States with their programs and determine the scope of their training. Program chairs/directors of all sixty-five U.S. orthodontic graduate programs were contacted for permission to email their residents. A total of 335 residents from thirty-seven programs were invited to complete an anonymous, online, fifty-seven-item survey in May 2007. Data were categorized, and basic statistics were performed. A total of 136 (40.60 percent) residents completed the survey. Overall, 75.74 percent were satisfied with their program. Residents said they feel they receive appropriate didactic teaching sessions and dedicated academic time (60.29 percent). Most residents (92.70 percent) indicated their program offers training in numerous philosophies, while 80.29 percent said they have sufficient clinically based training and 59.85 percent said they have sufficient research-based training. A total of 57.66 percent said they will not complete more than thirty cases from start to finish and on average treat two orthognathic surgery, thirteen extraction, twenty-four nonextraction, and nine adult patients. Most (92.70 percent) said their program contains care for disabled or underserved patients; most (92.70 percent) said they feel they will be adequately prepared to provide unsupervised orthodontic care after graduation; and 54.41 percent said they think other specialties have a positive view of orthodontics. Only 58.09 percent indicated they have a formal interdisciplinary program for treating patients. We conclude that U.S. orthodontic residents are satisfied with their programs. They receive training in a variety of approaches; however, inadequacies in exposure to interdisciplinary teaching and a limitation of the number of cases started and completed were identified. These observations may be a result of program length due to the preponderance of twenty-four- to thirty-month programs.

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