Improving tobacco dependence education among the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry faculty

Margie R Arnett, Nadim Z Baba
Journal of Dental Education 2011, 75 (6): 832-8
Tobacco-related health problems are among the most preventable forms of illness. By assuming proactive tobacco use counseling roles, dental professionals can help reduce the number of people who use tobacco. Minimum standards for intervention by dental care providers were established more than a decade ago by the American Dental Association and the American Dental Hygienists' Association. The goal of Loma Linda University School of Dentistry in its tobacco-cessation efforts is to move beyond those standards towards more effective interventions. The school conducted a study to determine the formal education of the faculty, evaluate the current state of tobacco dependence education (TDE) delivered to students, identify topics that dental faculty members wanted to further their education, promote tobacco dependence education among the dental faculty, and enhance teaching moments on the clinic floor. A fifty-seven question survey was e-mailed to all faculty members with >0.4 FTE (full-time equivalent) during the 2007-08 school year. The response rate was 80 percent (101 out of 126). The results revealed that faculty members have limited formal training; however, 73.1 percent agreed that TDE would be beneficial to them. They also believed that, upon graduation, dental professionals should be able to perform at least a ten-minute moderate intervention program and discuss options for tobacco dependence treatments with patients. This project was designed to establish a 2008-09 baseline of TDE clinical practices, knowledge, and attitudes and to assess the effects of faculty development, curricular didactic, and clinical changes.

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