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Integration of an Oral Health Curriculum into a Physician Assistant Program

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OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the study was twofold: to evaluate the implementation of an oral health curriculum to physician assistant (PA) students through interdisciplinary education with dental hygiene faculty; and identify which parts were most important in changing the PA students' knowledge regarding oral health.

METHODS: Didactic and laboratory sections were offered. Data collected were from a pre/post-test of 24 items answered on a 5-point Likert scale, reflecting an attitudinal measure of students' (n = 43) ability to apply and understand the oral health curriculum. Chi-squared analyses determined if a relationship existed between answers on the same instrument before and after instruction.

RESULTS: Students perceived they improved their level of understanding on all topics. Data were organized from the largest change in perceived competency (≥ 70%) from pre to post-test (8 items), moderately changed (60–69%) (6 items), and least changed (35–59%) (10 items). The items with the largest change included monitor impact of medications on oral tissues, recognize caries and oral lesions that require referral, and recognize signs/symptoms of gingivitis and periodontal disease.

CONCLUSIONS: The curriculum enhanced the perceived oral health competency of these PA students and their ability to recognize oral signs/symptoms that may impact a patient's general health.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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  • The Journal of Allied Health is the official publication of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP). The Journal is the only interdisciplinary allied health periodical, publishing scholarly works related to research and development, feature articles, research abstracts and book reviews. Readers of the Journal comprise allied health leaders, educators, faculty and students.
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