Evaluating a Cultural Competency Curriculum: Changes in Dental Students' Perceived Awareness, Knowledge, and Skills

Hosam M Alrqiq, Thayer E Scott, Ana K Mascarenhas
Journal of Dental Education 2015, 79 (9): 1009-15
In response to current and projected demographic changes in the United States, many dental schools have taken steps to increase the cultural competence of their students through various educational methods. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the cultural competency curriculum at Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM). The curriculum was evaluated using a pre and post design, utilizing an instrument developed for pharmacy students and modified for dental students. The questionnaire was comprised of 11 items designed to assess changes in students' awareness, knowledge, and skills in providing culturally competent care. Data were collected for two classes of second-year DMD students and first-year Advanced Standing students. The total number of returned surveys was 485, for a response rate of 79.5%. The students' post-curriculum mean scores were all higher than their pre-curriculum scores for overall cultural competence (pre 26.5±6.3 to post 29.8±7.2) and for individual subscores on awareness (pre 5.3±1.4 to post 5.5±1.5), knowledge (pre 7.2±1.9 to post 8.1±2.1), and skills (pre 14.1±4.4 to post 16.2±4.4). The improvements on all scores were statistically significant (p<0.0001), with the exception of the awareness component. This evaluation suggests that the cultural competency curriculum at GSDM has been effective in producing improvements in these students' cultural competence in the domains of knowledge and skills.

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